I don’t know if you’re like me or not but I’ve been known to resist the time blocking trend. I see a lot of people’s beautiful color coded calendars and times for specific things but let’s be real - I have a 6 year old and a 4 year old…..I try to schedule a live video at 2pm and someone has to poop at 2:05pm. It happens EVERY. TIME.
Ok so how does a busy mom who may or may not be doing school at home and also running a business manage their time?
I’ve got ten solid ways to really perfect the time management system that works FOR YOU so that you can accomplish what you need to accomplish in a day while still having fun and staying sane :)
First things first, you gotta know what’s on your schedule! This is where I like to use the skittles and oranges technique that the Oola guys taught me. Your skittles are your daily tasks that need to be done in order to keep the household moving like feeding the children, doing laundry, grocery shopping, etc. The oranges are the three daily action steps that will take you closer to achieving your main goal.
Both are important, but we’ve got to prioritize time for those oranges.
More about this later.
Second, get rid of any distractions like social media, apps, or email notifications while working on your tasks.
Then you’ve got to set specific times for checking email, answering calls, and going out with friends. If you’re anything like you, you can let checking e-mail take up way too much space in a day!
Use timers to remind yourself of when it's time to stop working on one task or another. “Alexa, put on a 10 minute working timer.” I love doing that! And then Alexa kindly lets me know when my ten minutes is up!
Make sure to space out your tasks throughout the day so that you can maintain focus without burning out. The point is not to get it all done in three hours. This takes me to my next step:
Take regular breaks throughout the day by doing something else like reading a book or taking a walk outside. If you need grounding, simply take your shoes off and place them on the soil. Go outside and push your kids on the swing or ride bikes. Break up your day and feel good about it!
Keep track of exactly how long it takes to complete each task in order to better manage your time spent on this activity. These daily action steps may keep showing up in your time management system and when you are really clear on how long these steps take you, you can plan accordingly. Then you can break up steps into smaller chunks of time and get really clear on what you can accomplish in a day.
Spend 10 minutes each night planning what you want to accomplish tomorrow so you're not wasting any time during the day trying to figure out what needs done next. This brings us back to step 1 with oranges and skittles. Keep those 3 by 5 notecards next to your bed so you remember to plan the day.
Lastly, you have to find a system that works best for you. I know my phone is always on me, so I keep notes and a calendar with daily tasks in my phone. There are many apps that also allow you to organize things like this. You can also choose to use a physical pen and paper. Whatever works for you, but make sure it works! Telling yourself you’ll remember to do something is basically going to result in you forgetting :)
What about you - have you mastered the time management system? I’m telling you guys, the 3 by 5 notecard system really works when you get in the habit of doing it.
Make this easy for you. Set yourself up every day so that you can prioritize your day.
You'll feel better about some days than others, but it doesn't mean that one day is more successful than the next. Things happen. I’ve had days where we got caught up playing outside and we didn’t get to all of the kids homeschool. I’ve had days where I mis-planned, or something else came up that we wanted to say yes to so we did.
Eventually you’ll fall into a rhythm and it will be easier than you ever thought possible!
Here’s a recap:
1. Write down your goals and priorities
2. Get rid of any distractions like social media apps or email notifications while working on a task- use tools like Freedom if necessary
3. Set specific times for checking email, answering calls, and going out with friends
4. Use timers to remind yourself of when it's time to stop working on one task or another
5. Create a schedule with realistic time slots for when you'll work on these tasks- make sure they're spaced throughout the day so that you can maintain focus without burning out
6.Take regular breaks throughout the day by doing something else like reading a book or taking a walk outside
7. Keep track of how long it takes to complete each task in order to better manage your time spent on this activity
8. Spend 10 minutes each night planning what you want to accomplish tomorrow so you're not wasting any time during the day trying to figure out what needs done next
9. Find a system that works best for you - pen to paper or digital tracking.
10. Just do it :)