Are your days chaotic and do they quickly get out of hand? Do you often wonder where the time goes? Do you start the day with a big list of things to do, only to accomplish a portion of them? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to improve your time management skills.
And if you’re a part of a busy family, managing your time can be even more challenging. That’s because you don’t only have to worry about your own schedule, but other family members' schedules as well. And if you have kids who rely on you to help them get things done, you better put on your supermom cape.
The good news is that it is possible to organize your life and learn some time management skills so that you can control your life — not the other way around.
What Are Time Management Skills?
When you learn time management skills, you will know how to organize your time in a way that allows you to get everything done. You will learn to prioritize activities and make plans so that you work smarter and not harder. Families need time management skills to function and to reduce the stress levels of everyone. Just think: when you are an expert at organizing your family’s time, you will have time to do the things your family loves.
Why Busy Families Need Time Management Skills
Most busy families have a lot of things that need to get done. Parents work, kids go to school and bring home homework and special projects, meals get cooked, the lawn needs mowing, and the pets need feeding and bathing. And that’s just the basics. Is it any wonder busy families need to work on their time management skills?
It is typical that one person in the family is the organizer. The mom is usually the person this role falls to, but sometimes the dad or even an older child is the one who uses their time management skills to make the family run smoothly.
It’s important to get everyone involved
Although one person will be the lead, it’s important that the entire family is involved when organizing everyone’s schedules. That way, one person doesn’t feel they have to do the work for the entire family. For instance, when creating the family schedule for the week, it’s a smart idea to hold a family meeting, making sure everyone is there so that it feels like a group effort. If everyone is involved in the process, there will be fewer disagreements because the family made the decisions together.
Why We Choose These 10 Time Management Skills
Most people need good time management skills, but families need them a lot more than most. That’s because even though a busy family has multiple members in it, it still has to function as a whole. We kept that in mind when searching for the best time management skills. The ideas we listed below are geared toward busy families who need ideas to improve their time management skills.
The Top 10 Time Management Skills
Are you ready to learn about some great ideas that will help you improve your time management skills? We’ve listed ten of them below that will soon have your family running like a well-oiled machine.
1. Look for time spillage — and stop it
Experts say that most people spend at least an hour a day on things they don’t need to do. They say that the activities can be temporarily put on hold or eliminated. And an hour a day adds up to seven hours a week. That’s a lot of time you could be spending on things you really need to do.
Keep track of how you spend your hours for a few days in a row and log it. Then afterward, take a hard look at the log and pinpoint the areas where you wasted time. Did you spend an hour chatting with your girlfriend about nothing? Thirty minutes trying to wake up your teen?
Once you understand where your time is going, you will be better able to manage it.
2. Create a prioritization schedule with goals
One of the biggest fails in time management is getting distracted. To avoid this, you should start by creating a list of everything you want to accomplish. And while this is a great start, it’s not enough. After you’ve created the list, prioritize each item on it. You can do this by writing the activities down in order, or by putting numbers next to each item.
When you prioritize your list, it shows you a clear roadmap of what your day should look like. When you have a clear list of priorities, the call from your friend or the temptation of the internet won’t be as strong.
3. Learn to do things after the other
Once you’ve made your list, go over each item and determine whether or not you can combine any of them. If you have to pick up Susie from school, why not run by the cleaners and pick up the clothes. After all, both things are on your list. Or if you need to take your car to the shop and go grocery shopping, why not take your car to a big box store that also sells groceries?
When you combine tasks, you will save time, and that means you’ll get to spend more time with the people you love.
4. Assign everyone a task
It’s not realistic to think that one person can do everything in a family, and that’s why it’s a great idea to assign everyone in the family a task. For example, doing laundry doesn’t have to be a one-person job. Teach the kids to sort the clothes, and then once you wash and dry them, teach them to fold them and put them away. Older kids can help mow the lawn and do the dishes or drive the younger kids to school. And hubby can help prepare the grocery list and keep track of the monthly budget.
By organizing all the family tasks and then delegating them to family members, more things will get done in less time.
5. Use apps to help you stay organized
When it comes to time management skills, there’s an app for that. In fact, no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you can keep track of your time and better organize it with an app. For instance, if you do a lot of tasks online, you can download Rescue Time. It keeps track of your activities and then sends you a daily or weekly report outlining how much time you spent on tasks.
And if you want an app that will help you organize your day and keep track of appointments, commitments, and other activities, Evernote is the perfect solution. This handy app doesn’t only allow you to keep track of things, but it also uses digital sticky notes to keep track of ideas, thoughts, and images.
MyLifeOrganized is a task management tool that allows you to create to-do lists easily and then prioritize them. This hyper-intuitive tool will even prioritize your list for you based on the activities on it.
If you want an app the entire family can use together, Time Tree is it. It allows you to create a calendar and share it with your family, or share appointments or other events. With this app, you can merge everyone’s schedules onto one calendar. Pretty handy, huh?
6. Create an after-school checklist for the kids
Getting the kids focused on their after-school tasks will free up time for you to dedicate to your own tasks. A great way to do this is by using a printable after school routine checklist. This checklist has kids focus on activities like getting their homework done, doing their chores, and ending with the reward of computer time.
You could either spend your time nagging your kids to do the things on their list or let them guide themselves using this handy checklist.
7. Stop multitasking
Many people believe that multitasking can help you get more accomplished in a shorter amount of time, but the studies don’t back that up. In fact, they show that multitasking actually wastes time because people are slower when switching between tasks than they are when concentrating on only one task.
The human brain wasn’t designed to do two or more things at a time, so when you multi-task, you are spending more time than you would if you just concentrated on one task at a time.
8. Learn to separate parent time from work time
We already learned that distraction is an enemy to time management skills, and that’s why this piece of advice is so valuable. If you want to make the best use of your time, you need to concentrate on what you’re doing at that moment.
But a lot of people spend their time at work thinking about family issues, and their time at home replaying work issues over and over in their minds. You have to learn to separate your work life from your family life if you want to learn time management skills.
By keeping your mind focused on what you’re doing at the moment, you will find that you’re faster and more productive.
9. Organize everything
If you spend a lot of time searching for documents, keys, kid’s homework or anything else, you’re not using your time productively. But luckily, if you find yourself in this position, it’s an easy fix. Start by finding a place for your keys and purse and every time you walk into the house, put them there. Before long, you will never again have to wonder where the car keys are because they will be in the same place every time.
Next, it’s time to organize your house. Put like-items together so you’ll always know where to look for things. For example, store your monthly bills, the checkbook, the book of stamps, the envelopes, and the password book for your online accounts in the same place. When it’s time to pay bills, everything will be together, and you won’t have to spend time looking for things.
10. Schedule weekly planning sessions
Finally, setting aside one day to plan for the rest of the week can save you lots of time. Brian Tracy, who is the author of How to Master Your Time says that each minute you save planning your week will save you 10. And he’s right. If you set aside an hour to plan for all the events for the upcoming week, it will make your life easier. Here are the things to concentrate on for the week:
Do You Feel More Prepared with These Time Management Skills?
Running a busy family is difficult, and no one ever said it wasn’t. But not every busy parent understands that time management skills can make their lives easier. If you want your family to operate as a team, why not try some of the tips above? Who knows? They could change your family’s life and free up extra time to do the things you love.
Do you have any time management skills for busy families that we didn’t cover in our list? If so, we would love to hear about them in the comments below!
Featured Image via Pixabay