Being business mums we have to juggle many things and are always multitasking and yet feel 24 hours a day is not enough time to get things done. ‘Time’ being a precious resource for me, learning time management became eminent in last quarter of 2014. I completed Eric Lofholm’s Time Management Mastery Program in December 2014 and will be sharing some tips from this program in this blog post.
To my astonishment I learnt time management was nothing to do with multitasking or having a strong memory, but was tied to simple fact of managing expectations. At this point I also realised that there was so much unlearning to do, as time crisis was direct result of all the wrong habits being cultivated since childhood.
At the end of my time management course, the trainer asked us to share our learnings with our immediate family members and friends. Sharing and asking others to follow these new time management tactics has three fold benefits, first being family members start to manage their time better, second it means you can introduce new routine/ habits in the household with ease and third you get accountability partners around you to help you keep with the new found routine.
If your school going kids are sapping you of energy and / or time ; then teaching them these tips will help you claim back few hours of time and sanity while setting them on right direction for future.
1. Fact: 80% of the people waste time looking for their keys and wallets before leaving home every morning.
Solution: Having a system/ place to store your everyday objects can eliminate the time waste and stress.
Application: Teach kids the mantra of “space for everything and everything in its place”. Involve them in creating designated areas for their uniforms, bags, shoes, socks and lunch boxes which are handy for them to complete tasks without any assistance. This will reduce morning stress and running around getting ready for school.
Tip: Creating designated places for storing remote controls, video games, charging station for all gadgets can help everyone in the household
2. Fact: Second main reason for lack of time is lack of planning. People live reactively which means they don’t have control over things they accomplish in the day, as it’s triggered by the events happening to them.
Solution: Live proactively, plan your day ahead. This will help you get your agenda accomplish in given time.
Application: Get your little ones in a habit of list writing for each day. They sure won’t be able to list or visualise all the things they need to perform in one day, but remember practice makes you perfect. Get a planner where every person in the family can list their daily tasks. Write simple tasks for yourself to set an example for your child.
Tip: Don’t fret if all the tasks on the list are not completed. If you tick all the activities from the list for the day, it means you have probably missed listing some tasks. No one ever gets everything done. But cultivating this habit is more important than accomplishing those tasks.
3. Fact: Over committing to social engagements. Its human nature to please others, which makes us obligated to say yes for all the activities we are asked to do by our peers, teachers, friends or family members.
Solution: Don’t say yes immediately without knowing the details / background for such commitments. I know, you might think pre schoolers are too young to follow this. The trick is don’t teach them, just be a role model for them. They will soon pick it up by observing your behaviour. Lead by example, always works in parenting.
Application: When they receive birthday invites from school friends, just ask simple questions to seek their level of interaction / closeness to this friend. Then ask if they have any other important activities clashing with the birthday party timings like swimming, dancing, and/or music lessons. So ask them to choose if they prefer the birthday party of this said friend or attending their favourite activities on that day. Teach them to choose what they like without feeling obligated to attend all social events.
Tip: Don’t make a decision for them, but help them make decisions. Taking a right or wrong decision is irrelevant, as long as they get in to the habit of thinking through their choices in life.
4. Fact: Running errands is another time killer. People keep running errands everyday which can be exhausting and time consuming for them.
Solution: Chunk activities that can be done together in one go. This means you achieve a lot more in one trip rather than running in different directions.
Application: Teach kids to think all the activities they can do in one go. E.g. If kitchen and laundry areas are located next to each other, then it’s easier to put lunchbox for washing and dirty clothes for washing in one trip. This will save them energy from running 4 times from their bedrooms to washing areas. Making list of all the things they need to buy from a shop can also save you time from driving them to the shopping centres at all time.
Tip: Chunk many activities like laundry duties, house cleaning, weekly cooking together, so you don’t have to these things every day. Saving you time and energy!
5. Fact: Multitasking at all times can be robbing you off time. Many people are trying to do too many things at one time, ending with divided attention to all activities at hand leading to frustration and feeling of lack of accomplishment for the day.
Solution: Multitask for things which are necessary for your routine life but don’t need extreme attention to detail together. Like ironing clothes while listening to music or folding clothes while watching television so you kill two birds with one stone. At the same time start scheduling blocked times to focus on activities that need your complete attention. Tasks like spending time with kids, connecting with your friends and family over dinner need your 100% presence, so consider these activities while planning your day. Activities like writing, meeting a client, follow-up calls need your undivided attention, so block times to focus on one activity.
Application: Teach kids to understand which activities can be achieved through multitasking and focusing techniques. Helping them connect in real world will be the best life skill you can teach them, in today’s virtual world. Developing the habits of working in focused blocked times will help them achieve their academic activities with ease.
6. Last and Best thing to imbibe from the time management program was to list one activity you would like to do for yourself and your family which will make you feel happy.
Time Management doesn’t have to be a strict military regime, it’s a holistic approach where you consider and realign your time allocation as per your priorities.
Amazingly once you consider and list all the activities you are supposed to do every day, your brain stops sending you stress signals when you take time to stop and smell the roses!
About Author: Akshaya Borkar Co-founder of The Craft Gallery, online gallery providing Done-It-For-You services in e-commerce, online marketing and PR opportunities for Creative businesses in arts and crafts industry worldwide. Browse unique handmade creations by 40 artists from 5 countries online in our gallery!
Now inviting creatives to join the community for free. www.thecraftgallery.com.au