Time management is one of the biggest struggles I have in my daily life. If I’m being honest, I’m just not great at it. I’m a busy gal. All moms are. In
First things first, you HAVE to get organized. If not you are doing to spend a ton of time running around and being super inefficient. Even if you aren’t an organized person by nature, you have to throw some planning and organization at this successful mommy time management challenge. There’s just no other way.
Directly below this, I’ve included an opt-in for my Busy Week Planner. I find it invaluable for planning a week and it helps me make sure I get all the important tasks accomplished!
To have the best shot at getting the most done, you’ve got to plan your week ahead of time. I like to sit down sometime over the weekends, usually Saturday mornings, and plan out the week ahead. I choose Saturdays because it gives me the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday to get anything done ahead of time (like grocery shopping, meal prep, and laundry) that needs immediate attention.
To start out, I make sure I look for anything that will be out of the ordinary schedule for the week, such as doctor appointments, sports practices, social engagements as well. If you can plan around it, it’s just a minor schedule change and doesn’t have to throw your week into a tailspin!
Having a weekly plan, in some form or fashion, is vital to successful mommy time management.
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I keep a calendar that I can use each week that has all of our regular appointments and school dates and times on it. I start with that calendar and add in anything that’s extra for the week. From there I can see where I have blocks open of free time, how much time I have and where I’m going to be when I have that free time. That way I can use my time in the most efficient and wise ways possible.
For example, on Mondays, I may have an hour block of time between a meeting and picking the kids up from school. But, if I’m 20 minutes away from home, I can’t pencil in an hour of house cleaning at that time. Cause I don’t actually have that entire hour to be able to travel home, clean for an hour and come back. BUT, if I know ahead of time that I have that one hour of time away from home, I can run a few errands that need taking care of during that hour. Or go to the grocery store. Maybe I’ll use that time as self-care time and take a walk, or sit and read for an hour. The possibilities are endless. As long as you plan accordingly!
Relax and Fun Time Blocks
Part of blocking out your time also means to schedule in time for fun stuff and to relax. There’s nothing wrong with making sure you have some time blocked off for relaxing and resting. In fact, I think it helps your productivity to set aside time to re-charge your batteries. Fill your own bucket so you can continue to keep your family running smoothly!
My Favorite Time Planning Resources:
- Schedule Magic Weekly Time Blocking to Do List Notepad – This is a great place to get started with time blocking. It’s a note pad with a sheet of paper for an entire week, that already has blocks on it ready to go!
- Schedule Magic Time Blocking Daily Planner & to Do List Notebook – This is a similar resource, but it’s a spiral-bound notepad so you can keep all your lists together!
- Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Realistic Time Management
When you are planning your schedule, don’t forget to plan for how long your tasks will actually take. And trust me, I am preaching to the choir on this. I’m the queen of having a 2-hour window of time and having a list of tasks that will take at LEAST 15 hours to complete. So I don’t accomplish all the things I wanted to and I feel like I failed completely.
The truth is I didn’t fail. I just totally stink at matching up how much time I have available versus how long a task will actually take. So, when you are planning and making your to-do list, make a note about each item on the list regarding how long, REALISTICALLY, that this task will take. That way you can plan accordingly. Don’t see a 10-minute window and think you are going to squeeze an hour and a half grocery trip into it. You’re a Supermom, but you aren’t a superhuman.
Another important thing to keep in mind regarding time management is knowing yourself. Know if you need reminders and alarms to remember to do things! I’m that person. I am Dory the Fish from Nemo and I’ll forget most everything. I’ll get started on one thing, find another thing that needs doing, and before you know it, I’m 28 tasks down the rabbit hole, with nothing finished. I need a definite beginning and ending point.
Use a Timer
I need a timer to keep me on track. If I have an hour to clean the house, I’ll set a timer for 20 minutes for the kitchen, then 20 for bathrooms, then 20 for bedrooms. If I don’t do that, I’ll somehow end up re-organizing the winter sock drawer… in the middle of July. That’s just how I end up working. So, I know this about myself and plan around it.
And I need a reminder to go back to my calendar and look to see what’s next to do. I just do. I don’t have the natural instinct to go back to the calendar and list and look at it throughout the day. But you must! So, I set reminders on my phone to go off at different times of day to remind me to re-set and review and make sure I’m on track for the day.
My favorite Timers:
Your phone has a timer, of course. But WHERE is the fun and joy in that? Check out these timers if you need to add a little fun flair to your days:
It’s important to keep a running to-do list for yourself. I keep mine in my calendar that I carry everywhere I go. That way I can add something to it at any point. I prefer to keep the list on paper so I can really visually see it and work with it. Plus I do love crossing a task off the to-do list!! But you keep your to-do list however you like and do what works for you! Successful mommy time management will be tracked and measured different for everybody!
I have 2 lists that I keep running at all times. I have my daily/weekly to-do list and then an all-encompassing to-do list that has small and big tasks to finish, ideas to sort out and overall plans to execute.
3 Tasks Per Day
I like to have 3 things on my list to be done each day. And really, that’s usually about all I’m going to accomplish. It might be as simple as pay the bills, reschedule doctor appointment and plan menu for the week. It doesn’t have to be 3 major tasks like renovate the kitchen, rearrange the living room and curate the kids summer wardrobe, all in a day. Having 3 things to do keeps me focused and winning each day.
Finding Extra Time for Successful Mommy Time Management
Now that we have learned how to plan the time that we have, let’s dive a little deeper
Sleep is important. But so is some time for yourself. You can decide for yourself if you are willing to sacrifice an hour of sleep for some quiet time for yourself. Personally, I totally am. I get up an hour before my kids, at least. I need that quiet time to pull myself together for the day. Sometimes I get up much earlier than my kids so I can get some work and writing done. And I love those days because I feel like I’m really accomplishing a lot AND getting some quiet time in at the same time.
Do you spend a lot of time in the car? There are a ton of ways you can be more productive while driving. See this article I wrote entirely about all the productive things you can do while driving. But long story short, you can listen to podcasts, books or music to get in a little self-care time. Or you could dictate some emails and notes or lists to your phone and get some productive business done while driving as well. Drive time can be a very productive time to get a few easy things done for sure.
Buy Back Time
You can’t make more time. But you can sure buy some time back. I’ve written an entire article about how to successfully buy back time here. The general idea is to figure out what you truly must be doing yourself, and what makes sense to get some help. Could you hire out some cleaning, use a dry cleaner and perhaps a lawn service to open up time during your weeks? Sometimes throwing a little money at the situation can give you time back and help you find some extra time for yourself.
Online shopping saves money AND time. You can get SO many things delivered to your house these days, without having to go on big shopping trips. You can get diapers, paper products and so much more delivered from Amazon and many other services. Not only does this save time,
And ordering groceries online is a HUGE time saver for me. I’ll order it up in the morning, or even the day before, and then time the pick-up for when I’ll be right there next to the grocery store and ready to take my groceries home. 10 minutes for pick-up versus an hour of shopping in the miserably crowded grocery store? Sign me up! Plus, less impulse purchases. Your pants size will thank you later for that!
Sometimes saying no is the most important tool in your time management arsenal. You can’t do everything and please everyone. I think if you aren’t going to make everyone happy, you should at least attempt to make yourself happy.
Sometimes the answer is just a simple no. Or
Being busy IS NOT a badge of honor. You may think you are busier than someone else. And on paper, you might technically be the busier person. But there is no award for being the busiest person. And it’s not your job to decide if you are the busiest human alive. Nor is it your job to look down on others that you think are NOT as busy as you. And being busy isn’t an award for crying out loud.
Because someone else isn’t as busy as you are,
People wearing busy as a badge of honor is a giant pet peeve of mine. Successful mommy time management doesn’t mean you are busy all the time. It means you have planned so you are NOT busy all the time.
We all have the same 24 hours available each day. Spend yours how you choose. And let others do the same. It’s that simple.
Time Killers for Successful Mommy Time Management
When you are planning your time, it’s also good to know what your time killers are. That way you can plan around them and avoid them when you are going about your day.
Phones, iPads, TV
For me, it’s looking at my phone and watching TV. I’ll get sucked into a Hallmark movie in 10 seconds flat. So I can’t have it turned on during the day if I need to be doing productive things. I know myself enough to know, I’ll sit and watch the movie and neglect everything else in my house. Can’t do that!
Or I’ll look at my phone for a quick social media update, and 30 minutes later I’ll still be sitting there looking at social media. That doesn’t work at all!
Looking For Stuff
Having to look for stuff might be the most giant time killer of all. I despise not being able to find stuff that I know I should be able to find if I just had things in a little more order and organized. I’m working on that this Spring! It’s the great Spring Cleaning Cleanout Blowout at our house! More on that another day.
Here’s an additional list of the top 10 Time Killers I found on lifehack.org.
Know What’s Important… And What IS
Another successful mommy time management trick is to be able to know what’s important… and what is not important at all. You need to know when to take the to-do list and throw it out the window. Some days you have to be flexible and pivot if things aren’t going your way. Schedules will get messed up, delays will happen, kids will get sick, houses will get messy. You can PLAN that these things will happen at some point.
And sometimes you have to recognize when you need to put the to-do list down and take a break. I’d way rather take my kids outside for an hour of sunshine and leave a task unfinished on the to-do list. Chances are, the task list will keep and you can finish it later, or another day. And the world will continue to rotate, sure enough.
If it’s been a crappy day, order up dinner to be delivered and sit and play with your kids until dinner arrives. And watch your day pick right on up.
Know what’s important, and what isn’t. And what you can put off if you must. And what is a vital task that MUST be done. And plan accordingly.
Wrap Up – Successful Mommy Time Management
In conclusion, mommy time management can be tricky to get a handle on. And it will certainly be an ongoing evolving skill that you practice and hone. But once you really dive in and look at your week and schedule, you’ll be shocked at how much time you can actually find within your days. And once you start planning your time and making an intentional schedule, you can plan all kinds of things into your schedule that you never dreamed you would have time to accomplish. Give my Mommy Time Management ideas a try, plan out your time and practice your new skill. And as always… just keep shuffling!
- How to Have A Clean House By Lunchtime Today
- How to Prepare For A Crazy Busy Week
- 3 Tips for Getting Out The Door On Time, Every Time