Time Management Tips for Busy Moms
By Ally Moll
If you are like most moms I know you think to yourself, at least once a day, "I
wish I had more time!" Most of my clients come to me at some point asking
how they can get more hours in the day. Unfortunately, the truth is you can't.
There are only 24 hours in a day and it is impossible to make more. That
being said, there ARE ways you can cheat and create more time for the things you
want to do.
1. Prioritize! This
one is especially important if you are prone to procrastinating or starting
something and never finishing it. Each morning you should make a list,
written or mental, of what needs to be done for the day and list them in order
of importance. This can be done just as you're getting out of bed or while
you're having your morning coffee. If your mornings are already hectic I
suggest getting up a mere 3-5 minutes early because that is really all you'll
need to make this list. If you're not a morning person you can also make a
list right before bed the night before but then I suggest it be a written list
so you don't forget anything. When making your list, try and be aware of
how your body reacts. When you think of #1, your most important thing for
the day, does you body contract? Do you feel nervous or tense? If that's the
case then maybe it needs to be broken down into more manageable parts or baby
steps. Don't try to do too much all at once or you'll end up getting
nothing done at all! You might also consider making a second list of less
important things that could be done in 5-10 minutes increments. This way,
when you have a few minutes to kill between activities you won't fall into a
"black hole" (see #2). Get that little bit of dusting done, throw the
clothes into the dryer or make that hair appointment during your down time.
2. Get rid of what I call "black holes" or time wasters. Things like
TV, checking your email every 5 minutes, online or computer games, and phone
calls from chatty friends can be fun but they are also HUGE time wasters.
According to a government census the average adult watches a total of about 70
days of TV per year!!! I bet you can think of a lot more important things
you could do with that time. Think about this statistic: the number of minutes
per week the average American child (2-11years old) watches television is 1197
but the average number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful
conversation with their children is 38.5. Just spending those
70 days playing and relaxing with your children would be time better spent.
Think about setting aside time each day where you turn off your TV, phone, and
computer and work diligently on your to-do list. Even an hour will increase your
3. Don't be afraid to say no. So many women and especially mothers have a
problem with this. They think they have to do everything and be everything
to everyone. They want to be "super mom" and "super friend" and "super wife".
Well I bet if you talked to your kids, friends and husband you find out they'd
be perfectly happy with you just being yourself. Taking on too much adds
more pressure on you then you need and prevents you from working at your best
which means everything will take longer to do. You will procrastinate more
if you're forcing yourself to do things you don't really want to. You need
to protect your time. If you're still finding it hard to say no, it might
help to come up with a list of reasons you want to protect your time. What
do you want to do with any free time you get? These might include time so you
can do things to make progress towards your longer term goals (you do have
goals, right?), spending time with people you love and care about and who
nurture you, or so you can do things that bring you pleasure and joy like a walk
through the woods, painting, swimming or reading a good book.
4. Ask for help. You may be thinking men are the ones with problems asking
for help, they won't even ask for simple directions but most of my female
clients have problems asking for help as well. Just like being afraid to
say no, they are afraid to ask for help because they think they have to do
everything themselves. This is so untrue. You are no in this world
alone. You have friends and family and even total strangers out there
willing to help you and they won't think less of you if you need them. In
fact, they are likely to feel honored that you would consider them. Try
and plan ahead. If you know you are coming into a time where you plate
will be full to over flowing, think about asking for help in advance or even
hiring someone temporarily. Or why not hire them permanently? Do you
REALLY have to mow the lawn every week or can't you pay a neighbor kid to do it
or teach your own kids to do it. Do you find yourself constantly picking
your kids up and dropping them off for the same activities every week? Then
start a carpool because you must know that you are not the only mom out there
that feels more like a taxi then a parent!
5. Energy renewal. Set aside a few minutes or more a day to renew
your energy. I know what you're thinking, "I have no more time!" but trust
me, the more energy you have the more you will get done in a shorter amount of
time. If you are feeling refreshed you will procrastinate less.
Managing your energy can be done in just a few minutes at a time. Take a
few moments to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and just be in the
moment. If you are into yoga, do a few relaxing poses a few times a day or
just stretch your body loosen up a bit. You may want to even think about
signing up for some yoga or meditation classes or get some DVDs or books about
the subject. A great book for beginners is called The Joy Within by Joan
Goldstein and Manuela Soares. Meditating a few times a day only takes
minutes and will do wonders for your mind as well as your time management but
make sure to turn off your phones during these moments! Another book I
highly recommend if you're interested in energy renewal is "The Power of Full
Engagement" by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz.
So, if you're up for the challenge, I would suggest you take a few moments each
morning or night to make your prioritized to do list. Also, start becoming
more aware of what you want more time for and what you are protecting your time
for. Make a list of the top three things you want to do with this time and
keep those things in mind when you are about to say yes to something you want to
say no to or when you start procrastinating or falling into a black hole.
Ally Moll is a Life and Creativity Coach located in South Central Wisconsin.
She offers one on one coaching to artists and women who want to incorporate more
creativity in their lives. Ally helps people de-clutter their minds and
their lives so they can be happier and have more time to do what they want.
She can also assist you in becoming more free and independent by helping you
start your own small business. To learn more about her and her
http://www.allymoll.com or sign up for her