Regardless of how much we’d all like to have extra hours in our day to get things done, we’re limited by what we have to work with.
Instead of wishing for more time, there are ways to make the most of the hours available by practicing better time management for working moms.
The majority of hard working mothers want to improve poor time management. So if you are reading this post, you are definitely not alone.
But you must first learn the keys to time management for working moms.
You may start out with good intentions, but you may forget to factor in the one biggest thing that sabotages time.
Time Management for Working Moms to Navigate Interruptions
Interruptions are one of the biggest time thieves in your life.
You may not have actually tallied how many minutes or hours have been stolen from your day by other people or situations barging into your day.
Use the tips below to help you eliminate them or deal better with them.
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Plan for Interruptions
Build time into every aspect of your day for those interruptions that we all experience.
You will never have a single day that’s not interrupted by something unexpected. This is usually what throws people off course. It can break your concentration, making it harder for you to get the flow back.
If you’re at work and someone pops in for “just a minute,” you’ll notice that it always turns into a lot longer. Before you know it, half an hour to an hour will have passed and you can’t get that time back.
You want to allocate time for these interruptions by looking at your day and figuring out how much time you have to give these.
For example, when someone walks into your office, you can say, “I’m working on a project so I can only spare five minutes.”
At the end of five minutes, if the other person is still there, you say, “I’m sorry, but my time is up and I have to get back to this.”
If you respect your time, others will, too.
Plan your day the night before.
This gives you a go-to launching place. You know what you have to start on first. It helps you to manage time if you have a map to follow – even if it’s simply a list of what you must accomplish that day.
Plan your phone conversations.
Phone calls can be a huge time waster. But if you plan your conversations before you make the call, this helps you stay in control of how long the conversation lasts. If someone calls you and you need to get off the phone, you just say that you have to go.
Most people don’t want to risk sounding rude, so they’ll remain on phone conversations that are taking up a lot of their time. If that sounds like you, there are several easy ways to end a phone conversation.
You can say that you’re in a time crunch and have to go or that you need to take care of something. Usually, that will cause the other person to say goodbye and end the call.
It’s okay to tell someone you can’t talk at the moment and will have to get back to them. The second you start being someone else’s sounding board for all of their problems on an endless loop is when you get taken advantage of constantly.
Monitor Your Technology Use
Don’t let technology interruptions disrupt your time management.
When someone isn’t dropping by your office or home, they’re reaching out to you through technology like email or on social media.
These can quickly take up hour after hour of your day. It’s easy to get sucked into playing a game while you’re handling something business or personal related online.
If being on social media is a must for you, let it be a scheduled interruption. For example, you just write it on your planner that at lunch, you’ve scheduled ten minutes to be on social media.
Stick to that time just as if it were an appointment. If you have to, use an alarm on your smart phone or set an egg timer. That way you’ll know the end time of this distraction.
Prioritize Interruptions in Urgent and Non-Urgent
Separate the interruptions between what must be dealt with and what doesn’t have to be dealt with at that time.
You don’t have to make someone else’s urgency your priority. You’ll see this a lot when it comes to work things. Someone didn’t get what they needed or didn’t accomplish what they needed and all of a sudden, they want to drop it in your lap.
Or, they want you to stop everything you’re doing to help them get out of a jam. There’s something to be said for good teamwork, but if this is a recurring situation, it’s time to put the brakes on bailing others out.
There are billions of people and billions of things that have to get done each day. But there’s only one you and you can’t do it all. So you have to prioritize what gets done and what gets moved to another day or delegated to others.
Master Your To-Do List
Look at your day’s to-do list and begin your day by starting with the most important item on your list.
There’s a psychological reason you want to do it this way.
When you do the important tasks first and finish them, it gives you a feel-good release of hormones. That makes you feel more energized and more like tackling other items on your list.
Plus, you get to see that you’re making progress.
If you start with the easiest task or the fastest task and put off the most important task, there’s a chance you may not get to it by the time the day ends. That’s when anxiety sets in.
Choose How You Spend Your Time Wisely
Refuse opportunities that will take up too much of your time.
You can’t be involved in every activity and you can’t attend every single meeting that you’d like to. That would be spreading yourself too thin and you’ll end up overworked and frazzled.
If you work from home and there are several webinars you’d like to attend, you have to decide what’s really needed. If you’re already struggling with time management, there’s a way to decide which ones to choose.
You look at the ones that will give you the most benefit both personally and professionally. Sometimes there might be something you’re interested in, but it’s not conducive to a good time management schedule. That means you have to pass.
And of course, working at home with kids, can make everything substantially more challenging and stressful.
Get your rest.
If you push yourself to go beyond what you should do by cutting back on sleep, this will eventually catch up to you. When you lose sleep, it can cause you to lose focus.
This means you’ll start doing sloppy work. Also, you’ll find yourself having to redo work – or you’re sluggish to begin with. Not only that, but when you start giving up your needed rest, it weakens your immune system. That means you’ll be more susceptible to catching whatever virus is going around.
You’ll end up losing time rather than being a good manager of it. You might think its effective to stay up later and wake up earlier to get more done. But being well rested means you become far more productive – and quality improves, too.
Take care of yourself in other ways, too.
Make sure that you get the exercise that you need. Exercise is one of the essential keys to time management for working moms. It keeps your energy levels high.
Plus, taking a break from personal and work responsibilities gives your mind a chance to be refreshed. Then you can come back to the task with a fresh outlook. Increased focus helps with productivity and saves you time in the long run.
Take time off.
There can be a tendency to work full speed ahead. As a hard-working mom you are ready to do whatever it takes to get all of the things done that you need to get done. Many moms give up time with friends and family to try to gain more time.
Maybe you bring work home on weekends. Or you work on a to-do list all weekend around the house in an effort to get things done.
Some moms haven’t had a vacation in years – not because they can’t afford it – but because they don’t feel like they have the time. Even a mini weekend-vacation or a staycation, is better than nothing at all.
But here’s the irony!
What happens when the battery on your smart phone starts to run low? You put in down, plug it into a charger and allow it whatever times is needed to recharge! Right?
And when it’s fully re-charged it can operate optimally again for hours right?
Your body is MUCH more complicated than a smart phone, but basically it works the same with your body and your mind.
You can’t operate optimally if your physical, mental and emotional batteries are running low. You need to give yourself time to “recharge”!
If you take time off, away from everything you need to do, you end up getting more done! Why?
Because your body as well as your mind needs time to relax, reset and recharge. Then when you’re fully charged, you are more effective, efficient and product!
Effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity are the key ingredients to optimal time management for working moms!