Time Management Tips for Busy Parents by TimeCenter.com

by Niclas Marie

Being a businessman and a father is like having two full time jobs - but it's worth it!

For many working parents, managing professional responsibilities and home responsibilities can often feel like having two full time jobs. With so much to do and not enough hours in the day, it is important for parents to organize a routine that will help make the load feel a little easier to manage. Utilizing proper time management is one way to make the strain of professional and parental duties a bit lighter. There are simple tricks that parents can use to better manage time and by employing them in every day life, it can seem to add precious hours to the day.


Organization

As with anything in life, organization is an extremely important element. For time management, being organized is the key to making more time in the day. In order to begin organizing, it is important to assess how time is currently being spent. Examine the current daily schedule to determine where time is being ineffectively used.

When it comes to children, the things to remember are endless: school phone numbers, doctor check-ups, extracurricular activities, sports, etc. It's a lot to keep track of. Investing in a file cabinet and organizing important information is a great way to keep track of important phone numbers and dates. Having a folder for each child and keeping copies of the information at home and at work can make it easier to locate at a moment's notice. In order to keep track of the family obligations, investing in a large wall calendar can help make things easier. On the family calendar, everyone can post important dates and activities for all to see. This will also help to organize the balance of time between home schedules and work schedules. This can also be done electronically, by using an online calendar that everyone in the family can access via smart phones, tablets, or iPods. Keeping with the theme of posting schedules, it is also a good idea to post important to-do lists. Having a running grocery list where items can be added when they are immediately thought of will help to make preparing for a trip to the grocery store quicker. Planning out meals for the week on Sundays will also make evening dinners quicker.


Prioritization

Prioritizing tasks is another essential element to effective time management. Looking at all of the tasks at hand, it is important to identify the most important duties. One great way to determine priorities is by dividing the to-do list into three sections: immediate attention, weekly tasks, and ongoing tasks. It's very easy to get caught up in tasks that may not need immediate attention, especially if those tasks are more enjoyable or seem larger. When faced with unpleasant tasks, people are more likely to procrastinate or waste more time in doing the task before it is completed. It is more beneficial to complete these tasks first because once they are finished there is no need to waste time dreading them. By separating tasks into the three categories mentioned, it will also make the daily list seem shorter and more manageable.

It is also important to know when to say no to a task. If there is too much on the schedule it is ok to turn down additional work. Set goals that are reasonable to achieve, both at home and at work. When those goals are met, the feeling of accomplishment will help to get the other tasks done. Utilize weekday mornings and evenings to get small tasks done. By doing so, weekend time can be spent with family, rather than doing copious amounts of laundry. When making dinner, be sure to make extra portions that can be frozen and used later in the week.


Consolidation

Consolidation can apply to tasks or organization. When it comes to finding items in the home, a lot of time can be wasted searching for things that aren't in the proper place. Consolidate like items in bins or drawers and be sure the items are always put back in their place. For example, having separate bins for cold weather gear, sports uniforms, or rain boots can help make organization easier. At work, consolidate like tasks so that they can be accomplished quicker. At home, consolidate tasks that can be done during down time. One thing to keep in mind when consolidating, however, is not to ineffectively multitask. It is nearly impossible to multi-task when doing two physical activities. Something will get messed up and restarting the process will cause time to be lost. It is also harder to refocus attention when trying to complete too many tasks at the same time.


Delegation

Chores and tasks can be a family affair. It is OK to ask for help and many times, children can enjoy helping with the daily to-do list. Designating different jobs to different children not only teaches responsibility but it also helps to make the tasks get finished faster. Instead of waiting for monthly bills to come and having a day dedicated to writing checks, set up online automatic payment schedules. Many businesses have the option to pay online, and with auto pay, making a list of what day bill payments come out and how much they cost will take away the time spent preparing bills for the post.


Separation

It is not always easy to juggle being a parent and being a professional. It is important to keep the two separate. When at work the mind shouldn't be focusing on tasks that need to be completed at home. By dedicating full attention to work, responsibilities will be completely more easily and timely. Similarly, it is important for parents to not take work home with them. For those parents that need to complete work tasks at home, they should do so during times when the children are in bed. Parents that work from home also need to have some sort of separation between the workday and the at-home day. Separating the two will better able to parent to focus on family time and family tasks that need to be completed.


Resources

Time Management Tips For Busy People -PDF

Balancing School and Kids

The Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home –PDF

Meeting Children's Needs When Parents Work –PDF

Ways For Working Parents to Tame Stress

Working Mothers are Benefiting the Family

The Challenges and Joys of Being a Working Parent in the Summertime

Tips For Working Mom

Making Work Your Family's Ally

A Guide to Organizing the Home and Office


About the author

is the founder and CEO of TimeCenter Online Scheduling and lives in Helsingborg, Sweden. He loves to code beautiful and simple web apps, and occasionally enjoys a game of blitz chess.






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