When you go from Stay at/Work at Home Mama to Working Mama one thing becomes even more important.
For me, I didn't want to give up any of the at home things I was doing when I started working out of the house. So I knew one of two things would have to happen. I would either have to give up something or become really efficient with my time.
Time Management was going to be the key to success for this now Working Mom.
Here is my A to Z list of Time Management Tips for Moms.
A: Anticipate -- Set aside a time of the week when you plan out your week. Is there a day you need to plan some carpooling? What appointments are this upcoming week that you need to plan for?
B: Block your Calendar -- I actually do this a few weeks at a time. I have a pretty set schedule so I can block in the big stuff and just fill in the weekly stuff in my anticipation session.
C: Cross off the Daily Tasks -- add those daily tasks to your DAILY to do list. Yes write SHOWER on that list. Write GET DRESSED on that list. There is something motivating about crossing things off a list. Did you do something you forgot to put on this list? Add it and CROSS IT OFF!
D: Dinner after the Dishes -- Plan out tomorrow's dinner after you take care of the dinner dishes (even if that mean tossing them into the sink to wash a different day --- yep I do that!) This way you don't have to worry about "What's for dinner?" at the beginning of the witching hours, I mean 4 pm.
E: Elsa it! -- What? Come on what do you think of when I say Elsa ... Let It Go! sometimes you just have to Let It Go - quit beating yourself up, God gives us grace, extend some to yourself.
F: Flexibility -- I am not referring to bending over backward to make it all happen. I am referring to life happens and there will times that you just have to bend.
G: GPS -- Use it to plan your routes so that you are not driving all over town getting your errands done. Do you have to go to an appointment on one side of town, but still need get groceries? GPS and see if there is a grocery store near your appointment.
H: Honey Do List -- I know men hate this list. I am more referring to just delegating. Can your 5 year old feed the dog? Have them do it! Can your 15 year old change the trash cans? Have them do it! You (Sara) do not have to do it all!
I: Intentional -- Be intentional and mindful of your time. If you plan to spend 10 minutes on one task,, don't spend 20.
J: Jump Start -- This honestly has been the biggest stress reliever for me. When I wake up (intentionally) before the rest of the family I get to ease into my day, and not have to be "on" from the moment I open my eyes.
K: Keep relationships a priority -- It takes a village right? Be part of the village, not the one who is always working, always needing to accomplish this or that.
L: Leisure Time with Family -- All work and no play does not make for a happy family.
M: Multi-Task (When appropriate!) -- Folding clothes and ironing - This is a great time to catch up on some podcasts you want to learn from. Making dinner and having to wait for water to boil? Empty or load the dish washer.
N: Notepads -- Keep on handy at all times! You never know when you will need one! Inspiration can strike anytime, any place! Just last night I see a cute (expensive) cart for the bathroom at Target -- Oh I need something like that for circle time! Write down, look for cart for circle time.
O: Outsource -- Hire help if you need to or can. Can't do that, find ways to swap skills with friends. Do you need time to yourself? So does your bestie! Swap time with kids -- win/win! You and your bestie get to recharge and kids get playdates!
P: Prioritize -- Yes, do the most important stuff first. This also means do the stuff that you hate doing first. Get it done and get it over with!
Q: Quiet Time -- You are a busy mom.. Quiet time is necessary to recharge your batteries. For me this is time spent in actual silence, no music, no tv. Just quiet. So refreshing.
R: Running To Do List -- This is not your daily to do list, this is just the on-going list of things you want to get done. As you schedule time to complete these things you will move them from your Running To Do List to your Daily To Do List.
S: Shortcuts My Friend -- It is okay to use sauce from the jar. It is smart to prep your meals before hand. It is okay to use a cake mix. From a dietitian that just did a CPU for us at work -- "frozen vegetables are okay, so are canned -- I just want to get vegetables in them!"
T: Technology -- There really is an app for that. I am not a big app person for keeping my schedule, but let me tell you ... the alarm clock on my phone -- would not be able to function without it! I set it for everything! At work or at home, yep I use it all time. The repeat function saves me so much time. I just set them all up once and go!
U: Utilize Waiting Time -- this ties into appropriate multitasking. Don't try to combine two things that need focus, but if you are waiting for the cake to finish baking this is a great time to sort the pile of mail sitting on the counter.
V: Verbalize! The word is "NO" you need to use it. You only have 24 hours in 1 day. You need to sleep, rest, and eat at least 8 of those. That leaves you with 16. You will need to say "no." And no, it is not a cuss word.
W: While You Wait Bag: You have one for the kids. Toys, books, apps on the phone - you have things to keep them occupied while you are waiting for this or that. Have one for yourself. Toss a book in your bag, write out thank you cards or a note to someone, a knitting project you are working on. You can be productive while you wait it just takes some planning.
X: X out time for yourself. This is a must. If you don't you are going to crash and burn. Speaking from experience. THIS IS A MUST.
Y: You must USE it: It's great if you can make your day work perfectly on paper. You must open your planner and see what is going on. You must look at your lists and get things done. You must use it or none of this will work.
Z: ZZZZZ's You must get them. Sleep is not an option. Have a bedtime routine. Teach your body when to start winding down for the day. Get restful sleep you will be amazed how much more you will accomplish just being well rested.