Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Time Management For Busy Moms

It has been suggested recently that many of our readers would be interested in an article about how to manage our busy time schedules and activities. Those of us that are moms with children at home certainly seem to run out of time each day to accomplish all we want to do in a day, whether we work outside the home or are stay-at-home moms.

Even if we no longer have children at home (like me, being a grandmom) and we are working at our art or craft in addition to all the other household and family needs, time management is still an issue. I thought I would tackle this concern in today's post. Though I certainly am no expert in this, I would like to share a few things that have worked for me as well as bring you a couple of links to other expert articles I have found.

Certainly we don't need another complicated, time-stealing method of grabbing control of our activities, so what I will talk about will be common-sense, simple methods of making a change to help us out. One of the things that I tend to do is make a lot of "to-do" lists. Now, it doesn't work to put them on little scraps of paper that are later easy to lose on your kitchen counter or desk. Believe me, I have first-hand experience with this! I have a notebook that I keep for jotting down things I want to remember, among them my tasks that I want to accomplish for the day.

Alternatively, keep a "to-do" list space on your fridge posted with a magnet, or someplace you will always see it. Just make sure it has a permanent place that you will always find it.

I don't know about you, but my lists are always long, and I never can seem to finish everything on the list. How about prioritizing that list in some way? One thing I do is to star the items that are "must do today or else". Then you know that these are the things that get done for sure.

Another way I have tried is to put each item in one of three categories:
  1. Must do today - time sensitive items
  2. Need to do today if at all possible
  3. Would like to do today, time allowing
The time sensitive items would be things like doctors' appointments, picking up kids at school or taking them to regularly scheduled activities, etc. "Need to do today" items would be all those things that are important, but not life-threatening, like cleaning the house because in-laws are coming for a visit tonight or doing some grocery shopping because it would be difficult (though not impossible) to come up with anything healthy to fix for dinner tonight or get to the Post Office to send out that order I got on my Artfire site. "Would like to do" items would be things like cleaning out that junk drawer finally or surfing on the internet for a new and interesting recipe to try out using ground beef.

Another help I have found is to look at what is your most productive time, as well as when you seem to lose time to that proverbial "black hole" and make some adjustments. For example, my most productive time seems to be mid to late morning, especially when I need to write. I am awake and most alert then, so a lot of my blog writing and posting in forums gets done then. Additionally, late at night is my second most productive time (I am a night owl!), so I also can get a lot done on the computer then.

For me, my biggest black hole in time is right after I wake up, when I get online with my morning coffee. So many times, I have looked up to discover that several hours have gone by and I have not done anything that I thought was important for the day! One solution that is helping me lately is to either not get on the computer before I have my coffee and morning shower, or to at least only allow myself a very limited time (half an hour) before I get off the computer and then get myself ready or other things done first.

Another issue I have trouble with, and you might too, is that I often (usually?) put too many things on my list! Then when I only get 3 or 4 things done, I feel bad and give myself a hard time. That is not only discouraging but also counter-productive, because a few days of this and I feel like giving up. Limit your list to only a few items a day. Then when you get those done and still have time for more, you feel on top of the world!

I have one more bit of advice, but first want to share with you a couple of links to some interesting articles I found today.

This first one was an article that also had a simple, no-nonsense approach, from AllThings Frugal website. I haven't taken the time to look much further, however there seemed to be lots of interesting articles for saving money and time all over this website.

The second article I found and read this morning is about Time Management for the Busy Mom which brings up how important it is to schedule time for yourself. I agree with her on that issue! She talks about "Type A Moms" - we are all that, aren't we? Sometimes I feel like the Mom "chicken with her head cut off" type! It really pays to take even 5 minutes to yourself each day, even if it is to just sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and BREATHE.

Finally, my own bit of final advice. Very profound. Don't miss it. Here it is: Give Yourself Credit! We all do a lot every day, then no matter what happens, we have to get up and do it all over again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. We do the very best we can, don't we? So give yourself a pat on the back for what you HAVE done. We don't have to be perfect. And we all are perfect in our imperfections.

Enjoy your day and your week!

Arlene / Spirit Essence Art


Jazzy Jemz said...

Ditto to the black hole comment. I do like to *try * to limit myself but that nevers works 100% of the time.

Credit is only due on Mothers Day- don't ya remember? :)
Thanks for the tips- will go check out the links!

Creations With Heart said...

Thanks for the article! Looks like we're all feeling the same way! I must check out the links you have found!

60-60 said...

I totally agree with you, not sit in front of the computer. Sometimes I have to force myself turn the computer off so that I won't get close to it! I feel like since I have my store I lost my life! lol
Well.. will try your methods, hope it work, I am so addicted to online surfing!

janzia said...

I get sucked into the black hole of the computer more than I'd like to admit. Great article!

ALN Designs said...

Great post!! Thanks so much. The computer thing is really bogging me down. I too do first thing and then it takes over my day - here I am still online!!. So I'm going to try doing it at different times and see if it helps.

ByCoco said...

I especially ID'ed with the black hole syndrome. Will be checking other links. Thanks.

Arlene said...

Thanks for the comments, all! Looks like this really hit a nerve. At least we are all in good company. And - we can all improve and only get better! Perhaps we can revisit this topic at a later date and check in again with any new ideas and/or techniques that have worked better.