With five active children I have found it crucial to find ways to organize my time. Time management is vital to keeping their schedules and my schedule running smoothly. If you find yourself wondering how to organize your time, you’re not alone. In this busy world we all have need of skills to help us find ways to keep on track with all of our projects and, most importantly, find down time to relax and enjoy life.
As a visual person, my calendar is my most important organizational tool. Whether using paper or software, the calendar creates a visual guide to the day, week and month that I can refer to daily. I actually keep a calendar in a binder with other important information (phone numbers, insurance information, school and sports schedules) so I don’t have to waste time searching for information that I need right away. With five children, I find it beneficial to color code their schedules. Each child is assigned a color. I need only to glance at the calendar to know who has something scheduled that day.
Get it off your head and put it in your To Do Lists
We all have traditional “To Do” lists with tasks that we need to complete. I have simplified mine so I won’t be overwhelmed. I choose 3 things that I need or want to accomplish for the day. Some days there are extra tasks but mostly I can limit the list to 3 items. Again, being a visual person, I cross the task off the list once it’s completed. It’s such a great feeling of accomplishment.
Deadlines : Set a time limit
In addition to my important daily tasks, I seem to have a lot of little things that need to be done but more for my own peace of mind than for the function of our household. I call these my 5 minute chores. I find myself idle several times a day with maybe 5-10 minutes of waiting like when I’m waiting for the bus to arrive. It’s not enough time to startanything major but just enough for a 5 minute chore. If I’m in the house, I might clean out a drawer, clean the sink, sweep the kitchen or set the table. If I’m waiting in my car, I might make a quick phone call or clean out the glove compartment.
Plan ahead and get it done early
I make sure to know my deadlines and cushion them. For example, I will add an extra hour or an extra day before a project is due so I not only complete it on time but early. It’s a great sense of relief when I complete something early.
Focus : Do one thing at a time
One of the best time management skills I have found is to focus on one project at a time. It’s easy to let myself multitask but when I do I usually end up with results that I am not happy with. I try to work on one major task at a time. It may be cleaning a certain area of the house, making a meal or writing.
Make time for yourself to enjoy it at the end
Of course the point of managing my time is not only to get things done on time and correctly but to find time for myself. Before I became more adept at time management I never had time to read or write. These are activities I really enjoy. I can now schedule these activities into my day. I also like to schedule some extra time with the children doing things other than home works or running them back and forth to practices or other activities. We find an hour a day to do something fun together such as playing a game, reading together or watching a favorite television show.
Managing your time seems like a boring task but it can be very rewarding for your family and yourself.