Staying Organized: Time Management Strategies

>> Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Howdy All! Remember me? Yeah. It's been a while...but we are back and are continuing our "Getting Organized" series with a quick overview of some handy time management techniques! I can tell you are excited!

So, getting organized goes beyond just knowing where you've put your keys and remembering to pick up your dry cleaning. It's about organizing your life so that you can do the things you want to do, when you need/want to do them. "How do I do that?" you ask? Well, I'll tell you! Okay, that's not really true. Only you can really figure out a system that works for you, but I can give you some handy tips that might help you get started...Let's go!

Tip 1: Get and use a family calendar. Let's face it. As a mom, you aren't just organizing and managing your life, you are managing your family's life. So, it's vital to have a central location where all important activities and tasks are located. Some people like to use a computer calendar, but I prefer a paper calendar that hangs in a prominent place so that everyone can update as they need to. Having a calendar that is easy to access (rather than on a password protected computer, for instance) also makes it much easier for someone to step in and help out if you need them too. After all, moms get sick too. Or need vacations.

Tip 2: Schdule your day. I choose to do this first thing in the morning, but lots of people find it easier to have a little family pow-wow in the evening before everyone goes to bed. Check out the family calendar and your own to-do list and give everything appropriate time. I give everything a few extra minutes because, well, I find that nothing goes as quickly as I'd like it to. But, if you can calculate exactly how much time it will take you to find the balsamic vinegar amongst the millions of bottles of salad dressing at the grocery store than you can skip that part.

Tip 2b: Schedule the most difficult/time consuming/least pleasant activities when you are your most energetic/fresh. For me, this is in the morning, but if you are not a morning person then figure out when you feel the most ready to take on the world and take advantage of that time!

Tip 4: Have "regular" days for recurring chores and put these in your schedule. Pick a day for grocery shopping, pick a day for ironing, vacuuming or whatever else you do each and every week. It'll make your life so much easier to get into a scheduled routine. And, if your family knows Monday is grocery day, they won't be as likely to be begging you to make a special trip on Thursday.

Tip 5: Give yourself a break! There is a reason breaks are an essential part of a work day. They keep you from losing your mind! Whether you work during the day and, therefore, have to handle all your 'home' tasks in the mornings and evenings or you are a full-time mom, you need to give yourself a break. Sometimes, I actually schedule myself some "down-time", if I know my day is going to be crazy and I know that without scheduled breaks I'd go and go until I collapsed. Other days, I just take advantage of breaks in the scheduled acitvities. However it works for you, make sure you take a break! It will make it so much easier to follow a schedule the rest of the day.
Tip 6: Throw out the schedule sometimes. Some days are just not going to go according to plan. That's okay! Just rip up the  daily schedule (not the calendar. The calendar is sacrosanct. :-) ) and go with the flow. If the park is calling you to a perfect picnic/play date then go for it! You have tomorrow to plow through that to-do list.
So those are my ideas, how do you manage your time? Share your ideas in the comments!


Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue April 15, 2010 at 4:11 AM  

These are some really great tips to use. Thanks for sharing :)

Pearl April 15, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

Great tips! I needed this post. And the one previous, on how to say no.


Morgan -Ing April 19, 2010 at 9:59 AM  

I admit to going to the store WAY too often. I need to be better about this for SURE!

Erin April 20, 2010 at 2:54 PM  

Tammy and Pearl-Thanks! I'm glad we can offer helpful tips. :-)

Morgan-that is honestly one of the best time management tips (well, life management) tips I have ever implemented. I'm still not perfect at it. Especially the grocery shopping (I think I need to plan my meals better), but when I have a "good" week and stick to my routine, everything else is so, so much easier.

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