Learning time management skills comes easy for some of us, and some of us have to work harder at it (me!), but with as many things that demand our time, it’s imperative we create some systems to do our best. No matter if we’re 20 or 50, we can learn some tips on how to improve time management, using new tools and techniques when they are available.
Time management for homeschoolers
One of the benefits of homeschooling is that kids normally have to learn how to best use their time on their own. Sure, Mom can nag them to get things done, but generally most homeschoolers acquire some ability to start on their own and manage their most precious commodity wisely. So, do they learn to burn the midnight oil right before they are about to get grounded for not getting something done? Or do they learn to space out their time earlier on to avoid the stress of the last minute?
Hopefully, we are setting a positive example by showing good time management. If we don’t have those skills already, we are working on them! Just like with any other skill or trait we want our kids to have, we have to set the example. They will learn what they see. So, what are they observing by watching you right now?
Finding time management tools
Everyone comments how life is busy. You overhear it in random conversations everywhere, and I can’t think of anyone who would say they wish they had more things to fill their schedule. Most of us wish we could drop a few items in order to free up some time, but feel like all our activities are necessary. Since we seem to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, we have to find the best time management tools for our families and situation. Here’s my short list of what makes our lives a little bit easier:
Routine or schedule?
Personally, I have started hating a schedule after it’s gotten so jam packed with activities for each of the kids (I’m quickly learning that most activities are unnecessary, or not worth the time it takes out of our week). I like to have a general routine that we work through in our day, and I have a time management template available just for email subscribers that I keep in the cover of our home management binder to help me sort through my day. Some may find the times on the printable helpful, and others (like me) will use those times as a general guideline to make sure certain things don’t become a complete time suck.
If anyone that ever worked for me read this, they’d fall down flat in disbelief. Myself and another supervisor used to always harp on our team that if they weren’t doing 10 things at once, they weren’t doing enough. They needed to juggle many things in order to be doing their job right (working in a technical support call center, and responsible for a physical data center as well). One thing I noticed after I got laid off and had more time to myself again is that I felt broken in a way. I didn’t feel like I was able to sit down and read a book, or listen to a lecture for more than 5 minutes without feeling like I should be doing something else.
I stopped being able to have proper time management skills because I couldn’t focus on one thing at a time anymore. In our over-stimulating world, its hard to focus on one thing with its due attention, making everything take longer. It’s taken a few years, but I now feel capable of sitting with one task (assuming the kids are sleeping or otherwise quietly occupied) for 20+ minutes at a time to really focus and get something done well in a shorter amount of time.
I think many of us are coming to the realization that multitasking is a myth. Tweet this
Segment the day
Instead of multitasking, segmenting the day for specific purposes is more effective. For instance, when I get the kids breakfast, I will typically tidy up the kitchen and dining room, check email and other messages, and in general check-in to make sure there’s nothing new that popped up needing to get done for the day. The afternoon, a couple hours before Hubby gets home, is for picking up the mess made throughout the day, and making dinner. Unfortunately for us, the rest of the day throughout the week looks different each day from various activities, so we just have to roll with whatever comes our way.
It still surprises me how most days fly by when I’m at home with the kids. I never thought that as a stay at home mom, I would need to focus on my time management skills! Now that I have come to the realization that treating my days with the kids like a career lends to more effective use of my time, and a better feeling about how well I’m doing at this whole mom-gig, I’m finding time management tools to make the most out of each day.