My Favorite Tips for Time Management
As a busy, single mom of 4 who works more than your typical full-time job…. time management is something I’ve really had to work at.
If I’m not intentional about telling my time where to go, the time certainly goes somewhere and usually not where I wanted it to.
Can you relate?!
Whether you’re busy with work, family, errands, housework (or all of the above)… it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day and let time slip away.
So, how do I make the most of what little time I have?
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”Benjamin Franklin
Time Management Tip #1: Write Your 6-List
You may have 10 things you want to accomplish throughout the day, but it’s important to prioritize the most urgent AND important tasks first.
I’ve always used 6 as my “magic number”, but the point is that you identify + outline the most critical action items for your day.
You may choose to include a few “nice if it gets done” items at the bottom, but we also know that some days are crazy and you might only get 2 or 3 things done from your list.
And with that in mind, I always try to start with the biggest, most important task first.
That way, even if I don’t make it all the way through my list, I can feel better knowing I got the most important thing done.
I also highly recommend creating this list before bed each night so you’re ready to tackle it the next day without wasting any time out of your morning!
Time Management Tip #2: Get An Early Start
I know what many of you are thinking… “I’m just not a morning person!”
But I would argue that most of us can *become* morning people and really enjoy mornings if we create some new habits.
It’s an opportunity to get your mindset in the right place and tackle a few important tasks before the rest of your day starts.
How amazing would it feel to knock 2-3 things off your 6-list before all the other obligations and disruptions of the day started?
There’s no doubt that the days I get up early and do my morning routine are significantly more positive and productive than the days I hit snooze!
Not only that, but when you get things done early, it gives you more margin to work within the rest of your day.
You just never know what’s going to pop up unexpectedly and it’s nice to have a little cushion built into your day.
Maybe it’s your daughter calling wanting to talk about her new crush at school.
Maybe it’s a business partner whose business is exploding and they need to meet with you for some mentoring.
Those things happen! And it’s nice when you can squeeze things in because you’ve already knocked out a few important tasks early on.
I know it’s a difficult transition when you’re used to sleeping in, but it is SO worth the effort.
Time Management Tip #3: Be Intentional
As simple as it sounds, when you truly build the habit of being intentional with every moment of your time, it goes a LONG way.
If you have a 30-minute lunch break at work, can you get a quick walk in to get some exercise or make a few business calls?
Can you listen to some personal development while you drive to and from work?
Don’t even get me started on how much time we waste scrolling our phones without any purpose!
If you’re struggling to control how much unproductive time you spend on your phone, set a timer for 2-3 minutes so you can check what you need to check and be reminded to get off and continue working on what’s important.
These little moments add up to a lot of time over the course of the day when you are conscious about them!
Time Management Tip #4: Start Delegating!
This one can be hard for us perfectionists and control freaks 🙂
But I’m telling you, delegating some of your recurring tasks is a game-changer.
Your time is valuable AND limited, which means you can only do so many tasks in a day.
And while you can do anything, you can’t do everything.
So, what’s most important?
And what can someone else do?
I realize that some of you might feel like you can’t afford any help right now.
I completely get that!
But I also think there are ways to get creative and things you can prioritize when you do have a little extra money.
As a mom of 4, I’m a big believer in the mantra that it takes a village to raise your kids!
So first I’d ask if you have any family, friends, neighbors, etc. who can help you…
Who could pick up your kids a couple days a week to give you a little extra time to work your business?
Are there any parents who your kids can do a play date with a couple times a month?
Secondly, if someone offers to help – don’t be too shy to take it.
If your kids’ coach offers to give your child a ride home from practice, say yes!
If your neighbor offers to bring over dinner, say yes!
And if you have the extra money to pay someone to help with cleaning, errands, etc. and it gives YOU more time to work your business or spend time with your family – do it!
Time Management Tip #5: Shift Your Perspective
Here’s the deal… not every task on your list is going to be one you enjoy.
But instead of getting caught up in the dread and wasting time wishing you didn’t have to do certain things, I want to challenge you to shift the way you’re thinking about it.
Instead of thinking “I have to” – what if you shifted to “I get to”?
It’s not that you have to workout.
You GET TO!
Do you know how many people who are laying in a hospital bed, suffering from a chronic condition, etc. who WISH they could just go for a walk?
You don’t have to get up early to get your kids off to school….
You get to!
You get to be the parent spending time with them each morning before they start their day.
I could go on and on, but I think it’s easy to get trapped in all these obligations and waste precious time worrying about them, complaining about them, etc.
We can make the most of our time when we are intentional about each moment and embrace this “I get to mindset”!
So… What Now?
Like anything new, it will take some practice and discipline to build these new habits around time management.
If you’ve been struggling in this area, you might be tempted to try incorporating all these new strategies right away.
But I can tell you from experience, you’re better off picking ONE to start and stick with before adding too many new things to your routine at once.
As you build one habit, you can incorporate another.
Because really… there are so many more strategies I could have mentioned, but like I said earlier:
You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.
And when you’re ready for more, you can check out an earlier post I did on some of my favorite time management techniques for business owners.