Mom Tip Monday: 10 Minutes to Time Management

by Heligirl on October 4, 2010

in Daily Ramblings,Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles

Whether we’re in the home all day or balancing parenting with a job outside of the home, one thing is certain – we have very full plates. Having kids around can turn what would have been a short chore list before kids into a multi-day project. Just getting the bare necessities done each day can be a major accomplishment. As moms, taking a little time to simply manage our time can be a huge help.

10 Minutes to Look Ahead

Carve out ten minutes at the end of each day to review your schedule and to-do list for the next day. Are there any big events at work? What appointments, play dates, preschool, early dismissals, or meetings are planned? Is it anyone’s birthday you want to remember with a call or note? Is there a deadline? Is it your turn to do anything like work in the school, bring snack, assist with coaching, carpool?

Then have a look at your to-do list. What things realistically were you hoping to do? Shopping, vet, return those shoes, call the cable company? Can you plan your day in a way to manage it all?

On Sunday, if you can spare a few extra minutes, glance at the entire upcoming week so nothing will sneak up on you. (Nothing puts me into stress overload than a reminder I have something coming up in an hour that I totally forgot about (like bringing snack to school) and now I’m completely unprepared.)

I try to do the Sunday prep with Hubby so we can compare calendars and both know what to expect in the coming week. Sometimes we can divide and conquer (Hubby goes to Mr. Man’s preschool meeting Monday, I go to Sweetness’ on Wednesday) and sometimes our comparison saves either of us from feeling blindsided. Hubby may have told me weeks ago he had a soccer game, but I don’t remember. I end up in a pretty sour mood when I prepare dinner and am looking forward to having him home only to have him come in the door and say, “remember I’m playing soccer tonight so don’t cook for me, I need to run.”

Time to Prepare

In addition to looking ahead at what the next day holds (or week if it’s Sunday), take advantage of the time to prepare for the day (or week). For instance, is the tuition or childcare check due this week? Any paperwork need to be signed? Any special things need to be on the shopping list? I found this especially helpful the first week of school. Having all paperwork and checks signed and ready to go Sunday night and put in folders, then put in the car because I just know I’ll forget them, made it a world easier. I wasn’t running out trying to sign things in the middle of preschool, or dig out my checkbook.

In essence, it does take a little time to save time. However, once you get into the routine of reviewing your schedule and preparing ahead of time, you will feel less stressed about your ability to keep up with everything. You’ll also avoid that terrible feeling of forgetting about something important until it is upon you. And when unplanned things suddenly appear that need your attention, you’ll feel more prepared to handle them as you’re already certain about the rest of your day.

Have you tried something like this? How does it work for you? Do you have a time management tip of your own that has been a huge help? Please do share it if you have a minute.


Erin October 4, 2010 at 7:39 am

I spend my last 10-15 minutes before bed every day doing just this. I used to be SO intimidated trying to get myself and my daughter out of the house to go anywhere, and now that I put the necessities in order every night, we can tackle any day trip the next day may bring! It’s such a relief! I also pair this with a quick clean-up around the house. Books and Legos cover so much floor that it makes the place a mess, and I can pick those up in about 5 minutes. If the dishwasher is running, I sponge off the counters. If not, I load it, and sponging can wait til morning.

The one thing I can’t seem to get a handle on is the mail. The mail just accumulates on the bar and makes a huge mess, no matter how hard I try to go through it and throw it out or file it. Any tips on this??
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October 4, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I like it Erin. Cleaning up around the house before bed is a great idea. Less stress when you wake up too.

I had the mail issue too. Hubby had a terrible habit of opening the mail and leaving it, and the empty envelopes, all over the kitchen table. I started piling everything on his desk, and moved mine to my desk. Half the mail to deal with for each of us!

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October 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

I totally agree and think it’s a wonderful idea. We used to do that, growing up, with not only what our chores would be for the next day but for what we were going to wear, as well. It’s amazing how much easier it is to face the day, knowing what to expect and what you have to do to get yourself ready. There’s nothing worse than feeling that you’re always behind time, is there? Come visit when you can.
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October 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Hi Sharlene. I do the same, setting out bowls for breakfast, my clothes for the next day, etc. It’s almost essential as I’m the first one up and typically need to have the pets out and fed, everyone up, dressed and eating and my breakfast eaten before Hubby is out of our room. Since I stated getting everything set up the night before, that’s made a real change and gave me the time to deal with the random tantrum or refusal to get dressed from Sweetness.

Shell October 4, 2010 at 9:20 am

I like planning out my week on Sunday so that I’m not caught off-guard. It definitely helps!
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October 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Every little bit helps, doesn’t it? 🙂

JP October 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm

Efficiency follows strong time management (one of my specialties at work) so I’m all for it…sounds like you’re on the right track, Jen…:)JP
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Alexandra October 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Oh, yes, and yes.

This is exactly how we do it at our house, too.

I love that the kids now do all their stuff at night and say, “this way I can just get up and eat in themorning.”

A little prep time goes a LONG way.

Excellent advice.

The Mayor! October 4, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Yep, I absolutely have to run a tight ship with 4 kids, or chaos ensues very quickly! All school stuff is prepped & ready the night before, so they just get up, put on the clothes laid out, eat breakfast & grab their already packed snacks & backpacks. Routine is King in my house…& I, of course, am Queen lol! Part of the reason I have a nervous breakdown every Sept. is because I spent 2 months doing nothing at all, with no routines or schedules whatsoever…then Sept comes & it’s way overwhelming, school, sports, etc, until I get back on track again!

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) October 4, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Oh yes, that 10 minutes is crucial. I have to remind myself to do it. It really does make the next day run more smoothly. Good Mom Tip Monday Jen!
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Melissa {adventuroo} October 4, 2010 at 8:01 pm

We’ve gotten better about this— I swear I was more organized before I had kids (weren’t we all?)!

I use a free app called Teux Deux (get it? “to do”) and I’ll add things at night to it in preps for the next day. We need a community calendar though but I DO have a print out of Big Roo’s week– where he’ll be each day (home with me, day care, etc). I have a picture of the location for each day.

Thanks for the awesome tips!
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Booyah's Momma October 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm

I make a to-do list every Sunday of appointments, meetings, bills that need to be paid, etc. It really helps me organize my week and make sure I don’t forget anything. Plus, I am completely type A, so I love crossing things off the list!
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