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10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know

10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know
From Lifehack - January 31, 2018

I have three small children (a six year old and wild twin boys that just turned four), I am an avid writer, volunteer in the community, and actively involved in our church. A personal question I often get is how do you do it all? or how do you get everything done?I have three small children (a six year old and wild twin boys that just turned four), I am an avid writer, volunteer in the community, and activelyinvolved in our church. A personal question I often get is how do you do it all? or how do you get everything done?

My schedule is active, yet I am not stressed or over worked. I get a great deal done because of my time management skills. These skills were not acquired overnight. It took time, study, and an objective awareness of my usage of time that led to a more organized, practical, and easy way of managing our household and my time. I want to share my tips with fellow parents so you can best optimize your time and in turn get more quality time with your family in the long run.

1. Know Your Hierarchy of Importance

What is most important to you in life? What is your priority? You need to decide what is most important in this life. Determine what you value most in life in order to filter obligations through your personal lens of what is important to you and your family. When you are presented with opportunities to sign up for another school committee, another group activity, or another opportunity to volunteer, you need to be able to assess whether the activity aligns with your values and priorities. You also need to assess whether the activity will take you away from some other activity that aligns with your values, obligations, and priorities.

When you say yes to one activity you are saying no to something else, because you cant do it all. If you say yes to that new book club, you may be saying no to family dinners on that night. If your priority is to have family dinners together consistently, then the book club may not align with your values. You need to first decide what things are your priority and of highest value in your life. Then when you are presented with opportunities that take time, and they all do, you can be better equipped to determine what things you want to say yes to and which you want to decline.

It becomes easier to say no to activities when you have clearly defined values. Your obligation in life is to uphold those values and doing so will make you a happier person and better parent in the long run. If you are constantly saying yes to every opportunity that crosses your path you will become overworked, over-scheduled, and spread too thin. The result is a parent wound too tight and easily upset because they have to much on their plate.

2. Dont Do Too Much for Your Kids

Many kids are involved in far too many extra curricular activities. If you value family and you want your children to develop strong family bonds with one another, it becomes challenging to make that happen when you have everyone in the family going in a different direction each night of the week. Dont have things scheduled every night of the week. If you do, you are going to miss out on family time at home, dinners together around the table, and the down time that everyone needs.

Allow for at least several days a week where no activity takes place. You come together as a family in the home and spend time with one another. Not in separate room, but together doing things such as working together to make a meal, planning your weekends, playing board games, sitting down to dinner as a family, or just having conversations about life. Dont miss out on life as a family by being an over-scheduled household.

If you find this season in life to be spent in the car taking kids to and from activities every single day of your life, then you probably need to assess which activities are vital and which are not. Is Suzy going to be a prima ballerina one day? Probably not, so maybe you can take a break from dance lessons for a while. She doesnt need to be doing dance, music, karate, and a sport all that the same time. It creates too much pressure for kids and for ourselves as parents. We need down time and so do they. It is great to expose kids to different activities, but it doesnt have to be done all at the same season or time of life. Spread activities and involvements out, so that your child doesnt get burned out from too many activities. Every activity in which they are involved becomes your commitment as well because you are the parent. For your own sanity, dont go overboard on extra curricular activities.

Yes, we all want our kids to be successful, but what about creating bonds and a connection within the immediate family that last a lifetime? The more time you spend just being together, outside of all those extra curricular activities, is time invested in being a family. Those bonds are so important if you want your children to have the desire to come home for the holidays as adults. Keeping them busy outside of the home is busyness that can impede on family bonding time.

I spend time with my children so that I can help teach them to be decent human beings. That is on my list of priorities far above them becoming great soccer players or accomplished piano players. Would I like the other things for them? Of course, but we only have so much time with our children in this lifetime. They become adults and move onto independent lives as adults. I want my children to be able to go out into the world and be good, decent, caring people who can make a positive impact on the world.

I work to prevent over-scheduling my kids so that we have time together as a family, so I can be the one who teaches them right from wrong, good from bad, and the life lessons that are most important to our value system. If you want to instill your values in your child, then you better spend time with them making it happen. It takes practice, repetition, and most importantly time invested in a child to make a positive impact on theircharacter development.

3. Keep an Organized Home

Your home does not need to be perfectly well kept. Nobody has time for that. However, if you have an organized household you will find that life runs so much more smoothly. If you spend more than 10 minutes a day looking for something on a regular basis, then you are not organized enough.

You and your household need systems in place that help everyone keep track of their stuff, so it can be easily grabbed on the way out the door. Keep jackets and backpacks hung in the same place every day. Teach children that it is their responsibility to put these items where they belong from the moment they walk in the door. Ifthey fail to comply with the rules then there should be consequences. An easy and effective consequence is losing time on their favorite form of technology. For my kids it means they lose time on their tablets for that evening.

Wallets, purses, and keys should have a specific place within the home. If they are plopped on the couch one day, on the counter another, and on your bed the next day, it becomes far too easy to misplace these items. You end up spending countless minutes searching for these needed items every day. If they are placed in the exact same place every day, then you gain back that time you would have otherwise spent searching. You also become a less frustrated individual. When you spend time searching for something you need and you are on a time crunch, it can be extremely frustrating and upsetting to not find what you need. You end up running late which sets the mood for the entire day. Dont be the frustrated parent.

Implement a plan for where things will be placed within the home when each member of the family enters the home. Everyone enters the home and has stuff in hand, whether its a backpack, diaper bag, purse, coats, keys, lunch boxes, briefcases, or shoes. Think through all the things that are brought in and out of the home each day. Then pick a place for these items to be placed each day. You may need to create some organized space within the home to make this unloading each evening and reloading each morning go more smoothly. Our laundry room is our area. We utilize cubbies for each the kids shoes and then a coat rack for backpacks and jackets. Its not rocket science, but it will make your life much easier if everyone in the family gets with the organized home plan.

This also means the rest of your home is relatively organized. Every single thing within your dwelling should have its own home or place. For example, where are your flashlights, candles, or matches? Would you be able to easily find them in a power outage, or would you be searching through drawers? If you have a specific home for these items, for example, in a bin in your pantry that is labeled on the outside, it makes it very easy to find it when needed. When the items are used they are returned to their home after usage. For tips on implementing a bin method for organizing your home, please go to my article: The Bin Method.

Keeping an organized home is a great skill to teach your children. It takes practice, but dont give up because you will all have a more sane and easily run household when you can find what you need when you need it. You will also save money in the long run because you arent purchasing secondary items because the first one is lost somewhere in some drawer or cabinet in the home.

For more tips and detailed instructions on how to live an organized life, check out 50 Ways to Make Your Home More Organized. Being more organized is the accumulation of habits and practices over time.

Too many parents put too much pressure on themselves and their children to live up to a certain standard. Its good to have standards, but if perfect is your goal then you need to let it go. Trying to be perfecttakes far too much time and energy. Sometimes getting the job done just good enough is all that is needed. Most of the time you are the only person that will notice the difference anyway.

5. Delegate

6. Routines are a Must

7. Work as Though Everything was Urgent

8. Gourmet Meals are Taking a Break

9. Be Honest about Time Waste

10. Keep To-Do Lists and a Calendar

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