Let me ask you a question: how is your time management? Are you good with utilizing the hours that you have in the day or do you find yourself pushing things over to the next day or letting them go all together?
I’ll be honest- my time management skills could use some work.
I especially struggled after starting a blog- to the point where I felt like a failure as a stay at home mom. Learning to balance running a business at home, homeschooling, and being a stay at home mom wasn’t easy. Working at home was a goal for me, but I also knew that if I wanted to work at home and be a stay at home mom; I needed to create an effective time management plan.
Why I Needed to Create an Effective Time Management Plan
Creating my time management plan meant that I had to factor in a few things:
- Time spent for my blog
- Time spent on housework/daily cleaning
- Time spent on homeschooling- including preparation for activities
There are other factors, of course, but those were the biggest three. Things that I didn’t factor in?
- Medical appointments
And while I am a blogger and aspiring to have a business empire so I can continue to work at home; I’m a mom first and foremost.
Having a time management plan makes every hour count, ensures that you get to work more quickly and helps distribute your time over all the tasks that you need to do each day, week, month and year. And though you may think it seems tedious, and sometimes it is to plan out your day hour by hour, it really does make a difference in the long run.
One way to start with a time management plan? Use a time log to track your time.
Realistic Tips for Creating an Effective Time Management Plan
* Be Realistic With Your Plans – Don’t go against your own internal clock when planning each day. If you know you struggle to get up in the morning, do not schedule things in the early morning hours. If you can manage in the mornings if you do tasks you like first, try that.
It’s just like setting SMART goals. Your time management plan needs to be realistic, otherwise it will be overwhelming.
How to be ruthless with your time and still get things done
* Set Time Limits – This is especially important for both tasks you dislike and tasks you like. You always have a risk of procrastination when it comes to tasks you hate by spending too much time on tasks you like.
Try using a stopwatch- either one that you purchase, an app on your phone, or one that you can download to your computer.
* Eliminate Distractions – One of the biggest killers of any plan that you set are distractions such as television, interrupting phone calls, social media, and yes – children and spouses. While nothing is ever perfect, you can eliminate most distractions by planning ahead about how to deal with them.
Turn off the TV, turn off the phone, use social media only at certain times with a timer set, and explain to children and spouses the importance of not bothering you while you are working. This is particularly imperative with bloggers and stay at home or work at home parents. One of the main things that I do now is turn off the WiFi on my phone.
* Differentiate Important from Non-Important Tasks – One of the hardest tasks before you when creating a time management plan is understanding what is important and what is not important. If you make it a habit to do the most important things first, you’re going to feel more accomplished and get more done.
* Use a Calendar and Technology – Where would we be without technology? Using Google Calendar or another system synced to your phone is a great way to ensure that your calendar is always with you and that you don’t forget things. You can even set reminders and alarms to help.
In addition to using Google Calendar (so it syncs to my phone & computer), I’ve also gotten into the habit of keeping a stack of Post-It notes on my desk.
Schedule everything and eliminate the urgency
* Eliminate Urgency from Your Life – This can be difficult but most things really aren’t urgent. If you are a service provider, stop taking last-minute work; train your clients to give you plenty of time to work tasks into your schedule.
If you set family time and play time into your schedule too, that will eliminate the need for a last-minute meltdown from the toddler too.
* Create and Use Lists – It is one thing to note on your calendar “work on project A” but it’s quite another to list exactly what you are to do during that time period on project A.
This is the most effective way to schedule your time so that you meet your goals. Be very specific with lists so that no time is wasted.
* Create a Daily Action Plan – There should always be at least four or five things that you can do each day toward any future goal that you have to help you feel accomplished. Plus, having a variety of things to do each day will eliminate boredom and procrastination.
The Living Well Planner has an awesome Daily-Do It system for this as well.
One thing that’s especially worked well for me? Implementing time blocking in my schedule. I can batch out my work tasks and my daughter can batch out her independent homeschooling tasks.
Can a time management plan help you be more successful?
Creating an effective time management plan is an essential element in creating success. Even the busiest of moms can find the time to make it all work.
Most successful people live and die by their calendars. When you meet someone and wonder how in the world she does it all, it’s probably a very thought-out and coordinated schedule that allows her to accomplish so much.