make time management resolutions and stick to them-maybe

by April MacKinnon, Nurtured & Anointment Natural Skin Care

This month’s article has been hard for me to write.  I was hoping to share some insight on time management, or some secret to balance that I had discovered and would love to share with every other mom striving to run a business.  When I mentioned time management as a possible subject to my husband and he responded with, “like how you try to put in a load of laundry when I needed you to drive me to work fifteen minutes ago?”  I realized I was quite possibly the worst possible person to offer advice on how to keep yourself on track.  I had also thought about doing a “before” and “after” series with the transformation of my office from cluttered mess to zen-like work space worthy of a magazine shoot, but sadly that hasn’t been achieved yet either.

making time management resolutions and sticking to them-maybe by April MacKinnonWhen I started university, I remember Frosh Week included optional workshops on time management and organization.  I went, thinking it would be the best possible start to the hectic life that is engineering studies.  I have no idea to this day what I learned in that workshop.  School became a blur of assignments, lab reports, classes, projects, all with an amazing intensity designed to “weed out” the weaker students.  I became adept at last minute cramming, fitting in a bit of studying here and there, and managing the chaos.   A decade-and-a-half later, I have two children, I am expecting a third, and run two businesses with the help of an amazing staff, but I continue to manage the chaos. I am, however, also committed to improvement, so here is my own plan for action:
•    Write down all your activities and the time they consume for one week.  Think of your hours as billable time.  You can do this for your home activities or work activities, or both, if like me, you’re checking email AND doing laundry while you write your article for OMHG.

•    Have a really close look at what your week looks like, and where most of your time goes. Is there someone else who can take that responsibility off your hands?  Or is there one or two times a week you can dedicate time to this task rather than several 15 minute sessions?  Are you starting a task AND following it through to completion or are you picking at several tasks that then take longer (guilty) to complete.

•    Create a schedule around the above AND STICK TO IT.  This is my biggest downfall; I spend time creating a system only to fall back into my controlled chaos patterns.  One very smart tip I learned in my former life as an engineer: if you are able, try answering phone calls and emails after lunch rather than having them eat up your entire morning.  I know my brain is always most effective in the morning, and if I have serious analytical work I need to do, I try to do it first thing in the quiet hours of the morning with my cup of tea.   This takes an immense amount of discipline, and is always a work in progress, but it helps keep my head organized.

•   Keep your desk clean. I can hear the roars of laughter from anyone who has worked with me as my desk is covered in piles of paper.  Today, I will clear my desk and discipline will prevail.

•    Get plenty of rest. My ability to function in an effective way is severely diminished when I’ve missed too much sleep.  Not only does my mood suffer, but my appetite changes, and my ability to concentrate (and be a parent) falls apart.  Whatever your schedule looks like, be sure you are still able to get to bed by 11 pm.  I can’t stress how important this is, from personal experience.

A list of five items seems manageable.  I will report back on progress in a future article, in the meantime, what is your top tip for staying on track?

time management for moms

10 comments

  1. Rachel says:

    Thanks for the entry. I am in the middle of seeking out ways to balance a new life. Trying to figure out brilliant ways to start an business and enjoy the family. I love reading about other people’s plans. Now to implement my own 😉

  2. Ann-Margaret says:

    I can certainly relate to everything you mentioned! Yes, I have GREAT intentions, but they do me no good if I do not incorporate a plan that helps me to FOLLOW THROUGH. 🙂 And, I have been so very guilty of creating a plan, following it for a week or so, and then, just like you said…ending right back up in the chaos. I recently sat down with my hubby to work on a better schedule. Yes, I am the one that will be following it, but sometimes it helps to spring ideas off of someone else. Our “session” was so helpful to me! He always has good ideas (great businessman that can help reign in this creative spirit of mine when I need it), and for me, sharing my ideas with him helps me to see things more clearly, think of ideas I have not thought of, and another person can often see “outside the box” a little easier than the person “in the chaos”. LOL The past couple of weeks have been really busy for me so I have slipped off of my schedule a bit, but we are going to work on detailing my schedule this weekend…helps to try it out and then “tweak” it after you see the areas that need more time devoted to them and those that might not. So true what you mention about sleep…so guilty of having a bad schedule when it comes to this…but, I do know that my new schedule helped me in this area, too, so maybe I can get this under control again. Brainstorming with my hubby (and, it could be with a friend or such) really helps me, as I think it made me feel more “accountable” for sticking with it. Maybe it just comes down to that old saying about letting someone else know about our goals…gives us an extra little nudge to see them through and make them happen! 🙂 I also like your idea for keeping the list at a manageable size…so important so we don’t feel so overwhelmed. 🙂 Good luck! Looking fwd to hearing how it’s going ~ Ann~Margaret *Sorry so long~I’m in the midst of this, too, so your post came at a great time!

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