I wish I could say yes, but it’s not my strong suit. Can I nail a deadline? Handle a dozen last minute tasks dumped in my lap? Step up to the plate when there’s breaking news or an urgent, time-sensitive communication need? Definitely. I know how to work against the clock. However, I’m often at a loss when that sense of immediacy slips away.
Long term planning just isn’t in my wheelhouse. As a journalist, you never know what your day will look like. So, I grew accustomed to an unpredictable schedule and stopped looking ahead. As a mother, I no longer have that luxury. So, I’ve been testing out a few family time management tactics. I hope you’ll find them as helpful, as I do!
If you’re a mom, you probably already know how effective this tip is! We’ve found if we wake up before baby, we get so much more accomplished. Once you have a solid bedtime/wake-up routine established, set your alarm at least a half hour earlier than your child’s. Use that precious hour (or half hour) to drink your coffee in peace, check/respond to important email and get organized so you can take on the day!
While we’re on the topic of alarms, kill the snooze. Okay… You probably HATE me for this one. However, I firmly believe hitting snooze just prolongs your wake-up pain. Keep in mind, “snoozing” does NOT provide quality rest. If you’re lucky enough to doze off again, your sleep will be fitful. Chances are you’ll just be laying in bed with your eyes closed. Why not just bound off your mattress and get going? Family time management requires making the most of limited time. I certainly don’t want to squander it on the snooze button!
Whether at home or at work, time is precious. How much of it are we wasting by not putting our focus firmly where it belongs? When you’re at work, BE at work. When you’re at home, give your kids and your spouse your undivided attention. We find it’s helpful to eliminate common interruptions. For instance, we may turn off our cell phone notifications or we might designate a specific time period as “device-free.” Do you have a particularly chatty co-worker, who has a knack for getting you off track? Tell him/her you’ll catch up with them later. And remember those work emails will be there in the morning! No one should expect an instantaneous response, during off-work hours.
It’s easy to think of the time we don’t have. We fret about how busy we are… how the tasks will never get done. Guess what? If we re-frame our thinking and choose to savor life’s small moments, family time management won’t feel like such an ordeal.
In fact, in our household, we take “time as a gift” quite literally. After all, isn’t the clock more fun to manage when you like looking at it? My husband is a notoriously difficult man to shop for, so I was super excited when I stumbled upon JORD Watches. He’s not a fancy guy and would never buy himself something special, but I’ve always felt he deserved a quality timepiece. Finally, I found a watch as distinctive as he is!
My hubby is an adventurer at heart and yearns for time in the forest and mountains. A wooden watch seemed like the perfect way to give him that rugged “outdoors” feeling all year long. Apparently, he agrees! His eyes lit up when he opened this box. I’ve been combing stores and the internet for years—no exaggeration—trying to find the right men’s watch. JORD’s women’s collection is gorgeous too. (Shhh… I think I might have found my mom’s Christmas gift too!)
An easy access weekly (or monthly) planner is essential for family time managment. While my husband and I share our Outlook calendars, we are quickly finding we also need a “physical” calendar we can all write on. This prevents those… “are we doing anything this weekend?” or “oh no, I forgot we had that” moments. I’m a big fan of dry erase board wall calendars. Or even a magnetic weekly calendar for the fridge.
There are many roles involved in keeping a household running. Do you have a system in place for divvying up those responsibilities? Effective family time management requires delegation. No one person can do it all. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help! These “roles” emerged rather naturally for us, but it’s still helpful to talk about who will handle what. If your children are old enough, be sure to give them roles and responsibilities too.