5 Time Management Tips For Mums

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Written by: householdmanagemet101
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Everyone is busy whether you've got kids at home or not, but when you've got kids you've got to not only manage your own time, but help manage theirs as well. This can add a bit more complexity and difficulty to the task of getting it all done. Whether you are a stay at home mum, work at home mum, or a mum who works outside the home, these 5 time management tips will help you more smoothly work through your daily life, without the panic of missed appointments or days that are too long and exhausting. 
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Keep An Organised Family Calendar

There is no way you can plan your day, or week, if you don't know what it is you need to do. That's why a calendar of some variety is so important, be it a  paper one or an electronic one, or a combination of the two. When you have to coordinate more than one schedule though it increases the difficulty of this task, so a family calendar becomes not a luxury, but a necessity. There needs to be one place where everyone can look to see who needs to be where and when, otherwise double booking or overbooking is inevitable and that is something you want to avoid. With multiple people's schedules to account for an online calendar, like Google calendars, that can be synced amongst the entire family may be your best bet.  You may need to also keep a paper calendar though for those family members without smart devices, so everyone can look at the calendar together at the breakfast table each morning and plan the day as a team.

Meal Planning Is Your Time (& Money) Saving Friend

One thing I can guarantee is that you and your family will want to eat. Every. Single. Day. Yep, it's inevitable. Since meal preparation takes a significant part of each day it is best to go ahead and make your plans now. It will help you with time budgeting, as well as  money budgeting at the supermarket simultaneously. When you've planned your meals you can buy everything at once to save yourself more trips to the shop, do any prep ahead steps early enough and make sure you're choosing meals that fit how much time you've got to make and eat them during that day. Sit down at least once a month or perhaps each week if that works better for you and create a basic menu plan for, at minimum, your evening meals.  If you have a plan for breakfasts and lunches, that is even better.  If you have a monthly plan you can break this up by week for shopping needs, or do large batch cooking events once a month so your evening meals only require pulling a freezer bag out, thawing and popping into the  slow cooker
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Use An Alarm Or Timer To Keep Track Of Time

It is so easy to get sucked into a time warp when you are working on just about anything, whether that task is fun or not. The fun stuff that can be time sucks include social media, watching something on TV or even reading a good book.  But you can also get bogged down in more tedious chores, or not want to even start them because you feel like you won't have enough time to finish. But using an alarm or timer can help you with this. Give yourself 30 minutes to surf social media for example and then get off to do something else, so you've had a good mental break but don't waste time. On the other hand, if you're overwhelmed with a task, break it down into smaller tasks and then set your alarm. Don't think you can clean your kitchen because it's too much of a mess, for example?  Break it down into smaller steps, set your timer for 10 minutes and see what you can get done.  You'll be surprised how this simple trick can get so much accomplished in and around your home. (Plus here's a  list of 20 five minute or less cleaning tasks just to show you how many things you can get done with just a few extra minutes here and there.)
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Say No More Often

One of the keys to time management is understanding that we do only have 24 hours in our day and we can't overfill it more and expect it to all get done. Just because someone asks us to do something doesn't mean we have to. We need to be able to say no, so we prioritise things we want or need to do, over what others want us to do. Make sure it fits your agenda, not just theirs, if you are going to say yes. You can utilise your family calendar to help you with that by making sure you don't overbook or double book yourself, especially by scheduling in family time or personal time to make sure these things don't get neglected. Just say no to things that aren't beneficial to you or that do not bring you joy. 
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Cut Down Your To-Do List

I mentioned above that you need to say no more often and that's true. I was, of course, referring in that tip to saying no to others who try to get you to do things they want you to do, but that you realistically don't have time or desire to do. But sometimes there is someone pressuring you more than an outsider, and that is yourself. You need to be able to say no to yourself as well, because sometimes you are the person who is trying to get you to do too much. Often that too much is in the form of a to-do list that is way too long to realistically get done. When you don't make a realistic to-do list you are setting yourself up for failure and it is demoralising. So instead, use your timer consistently to help you understand how long various tasks take and then calculate how long each of the tasks on your to-do list will take you. If you've got three hours to work on your to-do list, and five hours worth of tasks, go ahead and prioritise right now before you begin and mark some things off. In addition, always give yourself "margin" when planning your to-do list. Margin is some extra time to finish each task, to account for unexpected events and interruptions that can make it take longer. Once you prioritise and have a more realistic idea of what you can accomplish you're more likely to actually get it done and to feel better about what you have accomplished. 

How do you try to manage your time better as a mum? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.  

In addition, don't miss even more tips and tricks I've shared by  following Household Management 101 here on eBay.     

Here's some of my additional guides below. (Check my profile for the full listing.)  
5 Habits To Make Your Morning Run Smoother
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5 Habits To Make Your Morning Run Smoother
7 Steps To Catch Up When Laundry Out Of Control
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7 Steps To Catch Up When Laundry Out Of Control
7 Ways To Prepare For A New Baby
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7 Ways To Prepare For A New Baby
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