Collaborative Post¦ As any Mum knows, parenting can be very demanding on your time. You’re always on call as a Mum and there are no days off. It can be tough to juggle the demands of small children with the rest of your life. If you’re finding it hard to squeeze out any time for yourself, try these time management tips for busy Mums to claw back some time to get things done.
Image – free for commercial use
Use Tech To Streamline Your Life
You’ve got no excuse to be a technophobe in the modern world. Technology can be a great tool to help you save time and get organized. For example, a smart home assistant like Google Home or Alexa can manage all kinds of tasks to help you. Set timers doing the cooking, use it to make a shopping list as you remember things you need, ask it questions for homework help, or use it run other smart devices around the home. Just about anything can be bought smart now and managed by your smart assistant. It can turn on a smart oven to start warming up without you having to get up. It can start a load of laundry at night when you’re in bed. It can get the coffee machine on and ready for you when you get up in the morning.
Online shopping is a great help for mums, especially if your child can be a bit of a nightmare in the supermarket. Shop without a small person asking you for things you don’t need, and in much less time than it would take you to get to the supermarket, and then get it all delivered to your door at a time that suits you.
Ask For Help
Many mums fall into the trap of trying to be superwoman and doing it all. If you’re still working at a job, looking after the children, keeping the house spotless, juggling a social life and planning time with your husband, you’re going to get stressed and burnt out. To get more done, do less. You’ll be more productive if you aren’t rushing around in a panic all the time. For parents in Australia that are looking for help with child care, both frequently and every now and then, services such as Toddle can help with the burden of finding the right care for you and your little one. The Toddle results will show you helpful information including their child care centre government rating, current vacancies and you can enquire directly.
If you’re struggling to keep all your plates in the air, ask for help. If work is tough, speak to your boss about a flexible working schedule that would better allow you to fit work around the school run and getting the kids to swimming lessons. If the home is where you’re struggling, ask your partner or any older children to help out more. Make a chore chart with everyone on it and make sure everyone sticks to it. Partner up with other parents to take turns babysitting each other’s children, so everyone gets a turn at being able to have a date night.
Try Some Time Management Techniques
There are lots of techniques out there designed to make you more productive. Most are intended for busy office workers or business owners, but many of them can be applied to parenting too.
The Pomodoro technique involves breaking up time into chunks. You work for 25 minutes, take a break of five minutes, four times, before a longer break of 20 minutes. This helps as you can you focus on one task solidly for 25 minutes without distraction, then get a short break to do the things that would usually distract you, like stopping to make a cup of tea. The technique is intended for office work, but could easily be used for tackling housework or other home tasks that seem to take ages.
The Swallow The Frog method is used for a To-Do list. Write a list of all the things you need to do that day, whether it’s cleaning the bathroom, picking up a new school jumper for one of the children, or washing their PE kit. Look at your list. Which is the worst task on it? ‘Swallow the frog’ and do that task first. The logic behind this idea is that when the worst task is done, everything else seems easy in comparison and you fly through the rest of the list, without procrastinating to put off that task you’re dreading.
Get Everyone on Board
The best way to be more time-efficient as a mum is having the whole family on board with you. Decide on some house rules for being organized. This could be spending five minutes before bed resetting the house for the next day. Put away any toys, take your mug to the sink or load the dishwasher, straighten out the sofa and get things tidy. This usually only takes a few minutes but means you wake up to a tidier house and clutter doesn’t pile up and become a problem. Encourage the kids to do the same thing in their own bedrooms each night to keep those a bit tidier too.
Create a family chore chart. Even very young children can help a bit, even if it’s only to put their own toys away. Make sure everyone sticks to the chart, even you. With set tasks, some things can be moved off your To-Do list, giving you more time. Having some easy chores is good for children too, as they can begin to learn to be tidy, organized, responsible and helpful around the home. For motivation, try a reward scheme. Chores that have been completed could get a star, and when a certain number of stars have been earned, reward that person with a treat. It could be a bar of posh chocolate for you, a family day trip for the kids, or anything that encourages you all to get things done. Incentives are effective for adults too, not just the kids!
With better time management, you’ll be a lot less stressed and will have more time for the things that really matter while your children are still young. Tackling time management as a family will help you all to work together to keep your home looking good, and the parents less strung out.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.