Every year as my children get older I think things will become less chaotic. Here are a few of my mistakes.
I think: We’ve added a driver, therefore, I’ll have fewer errands.
Reality: We’ve added a driver but not another vehicle so that just equates to more organizational skills from me as we navigate car sharing. On more than one occasion I’ve been the one left without a ride.
I think: My kids are older, they’ll sleep more. Therefore, I’ll sleep more.
Reality: They don’t really sleep at the right times still and for some reason, teenagers want to have their most meaningful conversations at precisely the hour my brain begins to shut down.
This list could go on and on as you can imagine. With all the chaos going on in my home as we’ve gotten yet another school year started I thought I’d do a little research on time management skills. I’ve already missed a couple of appointments and classes my kids were supposed to attend. So I decided to look at what others have done to avoid making these same mistakes. As I peruse lists I’ve found a few consistencies so I thought I’d condense those here for you today.
- I keep seeing this word “declutter.” I don’t think clutter is a problem for me in general but then I think about the clutter in my mind. I keep a written date book, not a digital one. I do this for a very specific purpose other than the fact that my date book is super cute. Whenever I pick up my phone to enter something in my calendar I end up doing several different tasks that aren’t datebook related. Also, I use the word “task” very loosely. So the clutter in my mind has to go somewhere. When I try to manage it all in my head is when I miss important events. So, whether you use a written calendar or a digital one, it’s important to get the clutter out of your head and onto a calendar.
- Another theme that is repeated is to make lists and prioritize them. When we make a list for ourselves we tend to do the “easy” tasks first. To really really be productive I challenge you to make two lists. One personal list with the top six things you need to do each day, and one business list with the top six business-related tasks. At least 2 of them should be income producing activities. Then, do the hardest ones first. Make them the most important and get them out of the way. I’ve also been reading about not having your daily lists be too long. I think Mary Kay was smart when she developed the 6 most important things list idea for her beauty consultants.
- Delegate: I’m actually pretty good at this one. At some point in life, I realized that having a 10 year old clean a bathroom was better than it not getting cleaned at all. Do I clean the bathroom better than a 10-year-old? Ummm, that’s a hard yes. But, do I have time to clean every bathroom in this house? Ummm, that’s a hard no. So, if I delegate the stuff that’s really going to be ok if I’m not the one doing it, I have time to do the other things that I actually am the only one that can do them. My kids can’t do my job, but they can do their own! (Ok, so it takes one training session and a few follow-up checks, but kids really can clean, even if they think they’re going to die.)
- Wake up early: I get it. I really really get it. I bawked this one for years and years. When you have babies, it seems impossible. (actually, when you have teenagers that get up in the night to make waffles and turn on all the lights and watch youtube at 3am in the kitchen it seems impossible…we got a loud fan in our room.) But if you can start getting up early just 1 day a week, it will turn into 2 and 3 and eventually it will be 5 or 6. I can’t tell you the crazy amounts of stuff you’ll get done before everyone else gets out of bed. Even if you’re not using those early morning hours for work, perhaps you want to use those hours to workout, you’ll have increased energy and be a happier person. Maybe you’ll just get up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do and use that time to drink a cup of coffee, look at your calendar and read something inspirational. Start small, but take it from the girl that is the most NONmorning person you’ll ever meet. Waking up early will totally change your productivity. I’m going to add a second point to this same number. Routine: create a morning routine for yourself that works. What I do in the morning may not work for you. But whatever it is, it should wake you up, and get you motivated for success. You should also have an evening routine that sets you up for a productive morning. Do you need to make lunches or choose your clothes (or anyone else’s) for the morning? I’ve even been known to lay out my makeup in the order I need to use each product. That way I can just pick it up and throw it in the drawer when I’m done the next morning. Do what you need to do at night to save time in the early hours.
- The last one is a “don’t.” I usually try to stick with positive points…but I have to share this one as a “don’t.” Don’t Multitask. This one is hard if you’re working from home with a small child. Everything you do is multitasking and that makes sense, you do have to keep that baby alive after all. When we say don’t multitask it means with your business. When you’re making calls…make calls. When you’re sending follow up text messages, don’t also check your email. Just do what you’re doing and do it at 100%. Then, do the next task at 100%. You’ll get done faster and find that you’re way more productive.
I am sure you have great tips and tricks you use throughout each day to help you stay on task and to manage your time. I’d love to hear about those. Also, don’t forget to use your weekly plan sheet! Let us know what other ideas you might have. Comment here or on our FB page.
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