Friday, October 22, 2010

Time Management Skills for Parents

Managing time in the workplace is a fairly common topic. Increased productivity usually equates to increased revenues.

But when it comes to home life - managing time seems to take the backseat. Maybe it's the notion that home is a place to unwind and relax after a busy day. But every parent can vouch that a few extra hours would be much appreciated. Effective time management for parents is a great way to gain a few precious hours in the day.

Many families juggle quite a few schedules. As children get older - they become involved with school, extracurricular activities, and social obligations. Because these kids are very dependent on mom and dad for transportation, volunteerism, and all the "behind the scenes" tasks - everything that a child does requires a time commitment from his or her parents.

Add the children's schedule to a parent's long list of things to do - and it soon becomes apparent that getting everything done is near impossible.

The solution to the madness often lies in organization. Basically, managing a family is a lot like managing a team of workers - except each individual member is quite dependent on the leader. A parent needs to arm themselves with some good strategies for managing the needs of each member of the family. Luckily, the core item needed is quite common - a basic planner or daily calendar.

In my experience this key item is often underused. This should be the single reference point when it comes to answering the question of what to do next. If used correctly, a calendar will provide an outline of each day and should be filled in for just about every hour - even blocks of free time should be identified.

For example, on a typical day let's say that I get up at 6:00am and get the kids on the bus at say 7:30. Then I try to get to the gym by 8:30. The way most people use a calendar - the only item listed will be 8:30 gym. What about the time between 6 and 7:30 and between 7:30 and 8:30? By taking some time the night before and filling in the gaps - a parent can become much more productive.

The following outline would be much more useful:

6:00 wake up / have coffee & breakfast
6:30 wake kids up / get ready for gym
7:00 make sure kids eat breakfast / fix kids lunch and sandwich for me
7:20 head out to bus stop
7:40 unload dishwasher / do load of laundry
8:00 Make the following calls xx, xx
8:15 leave for gym

And so on and so forth. Taking a few minutes to set up a daily outline is a key part of successful parenting.


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