Time is a precious resource—one that we can't make more of or get back what we’ve used or lost. Moms know how priceless time is and feel time crunches all too often. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, career woman or a mompreneur, or you work part-time, the role of a mom is broad and diverse. Moms are caretakers for their children, household managers, and keepers of family schedules and routines. They are the Chief Operating Officers of a 24/7 operation. Some moms are additionally juggling careers, volunteering, and overseeing distance learning amidst COVID-19.
Routines and demands on our time are proving to be more challenging than ever with our work often split between home and work. At any moment, schools pivot to virtual learning and parents need childcare or work from home.
Managing Time Starts with Self-Management
Countless resources on time management offer suggestions on managing your time best, doing more with less time, and secrets to work-life balance. There are some great time-saving tricks out there. Although these ideas are helpful in some ways, the root of time management is about managing yourself.
By trying to find ways to get more done or the same amount done in less time, many moms find themselves exhausted and stressed, even with the most calculated routines and schedules. Juggling responsibilities and roles devours time for self-care—the most important action to ensure you’re at your best. Harvard Business Review’s article Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time states: “individuals need to recognize the costs of energy-depleting behaviors and then take responsibility for changing them, regardless of the circumstances they’re facing.“
Time management is about the effective use of time and having the discipline to spend time valuably versus trying to control time. Therefore, time management is more about managing yourself than managing the clock. Understanding what is valuable and important to you and your family is critical. Once you know, then it boils down to prioritizing that time. The first step in protecting and prioritizing your time is to understand where the time goes.
Regularly Evaluate Your Use of Time and Energy
Life is not static. The demands upon us are constantly changing. Trying to do things the same way we always have is a recipe for stress and disappointment. Evaluating how your time is spent is a way to find what you need, adjust to life’s changing tides, and create more ease. This practice can be daily, weekly, or monthly, whatever makes sense to you. A big key is asking yourself the following questions.
What is working and not working in my daily life?
Finding small areas of your daily responsibilities and schedule that need adjustment can help refocus your priorities and create more ease in life. This slight change can gain a few minutes at the end of the day, where you reflect on small things that created challenges, did not work, or revel in the successes of a good day. For example, you got out of bed thirty minutes earlier this morning. The extra time allowed for overdue me-time and self-care, and you want to celebrate this little triumph. Or you committed to a friend for a play date with all the children at your house each week. However, the commotion proved too challenging, so you prefer to alternate homes each week. Small tweaks can make a big difference.
Am I wasting time? If so, where?
Time wasters can be invisible, like surfing social media for an hour each morning. When you take a few minutes to scan your day, you may realize that this activity isn’t giving you much value, so you decide to limit social media to 15-30 minutes daily. Or you forget to fuel your car at the gas station on your way home. The next morning, you realize your tank is empty, and you’re already dashing out of the house for an early appointment. Time wasters can be as simple as misplacing small things like keys, purses or billfolds, sunglasses, so you have to run around looking for them when you’re trying to get out the door. Unnecessary inconveniences add up and steal what could be timesavers. The key is to design daily practices that support you in the flow of your life.
Related Reading: "Procrastination Is Not a Time Management Problem."
Am I using resources effectively?
There are no awards for having it all together, especially in a way that exhausts and stresses you. Partners, family, friends, and paid services can all be there to support you. Many times, professional women neglect to build a supportive team; they go it alone. People love to help. Could you and a friend carpool together and share responsibilities that normally you handle on your own? You work late on Thursdays: could you order a carry-out dinner and take the pressure off meal planning? Does your partner call you on their way home from work to ask you if they can pick up anything, but you automatically say no? The above examples are opportunities for you to enlist the support of others.
Related Reading: "Successful Time Management for Mom Entrepreneurs."
To recap, evaluate your self-management by asking yourself:
- What’s working and not working?
- Where am I wasting time?
- Am I using resources effectively?
This self-assessment can help you gain a solid grasp of how you are managing yourself and your time. Finding creative ways to fine-tune your routines will allow you to create more ease in your daily life. And by putting your attention on making better choices, everything works for everyone better. A thriving life is where all areas of your life—career, family, home life, and your personal well-being—are all working together smoothly.
Heartmanity can be a part of your team that supports you and your family. Empowering parents and mompreneurs is one of Heartmanity's specialties. For more busy mom self-care tips, check out our programs to assist you with parenting, your business, or your career