Apr 072012

There are scores of articles and information available on the internet and magazines that tell us how to manage our times better. We buy many books on time management, only to find that we did not have enough time to read it. Following are some of the most important and practical time management tips that are especially useful for working mothers

  1. Realize that housework does not define you: many women still suffer from the age old concepts that a woman is a perfect house maker only when the house is clean and spotless. We all know that practically it is impossible for one person to micromanage the lives of others. Therefore, stop worrying if the house is a mess. No matter how much you clean it, it will get dirty again
  2. Become a little stubborn: Stop worrying about what others say or expect of you in terms of your life and time management skills. You manage how your circumstances dictate you to. While it is always a good practice to realize where your time management may actually benefit; not all styles fit all.
  3. Prioritize relationships: No house is worth living in when there is no happiness or no one to live it in with. Focus on your family, spouse and children. Houses can be repaired, old things can be thrown out, but relationships need to last. When you put relationships in priority and perspectives, people will put you in priority. They will stop seeing your house, and start seeing you for the person you are.
  4. Prioritize decisions: Decide which things need the most attention. It is better to write two lists at the end of the week or on a Sunday when you are free, and do not have to do anything. Sit down and make a list of all the things that you need to have done in this week. Then divide them into the number of days based on priority. The first list is of those issues that need to be resolved in any case, and cannot be deferred or lost. The second is the list of those things that need to be addressed but will not suffer should they be delayed. Keep these lists with you at all times, and tick them off when you complete one task. Initially, you will find that you are not even able to carry off even one task. However, after three of four weeks of this exercise, you will feel more organized to understand how much time you actually need on your tasks versus the time you think you do. This will help you identify the reasonable and practical time frames to complete your tasks.
  5. Find pockets of time: Every spare time, even two minutes can be used productively. Identify which things take up your time such as emails and phone calls and delay them for long drives or waiting rooms. You can also defer them for times when you are sick to help you feel better. Again, you can put emails for the end of the day when you are making to do lists to better organize your life.
  6. Keep an element of surprise: No matter how organized we may be, we can always be thrown off our schedules. Therefore, when making any plans or routines, keep three hours of spare with no work or task delegated. These are to help you cover up your less urgent but important tasks, while ensuring your time schedule for the next day remain undisturbed.
  7. Drop everything and relax: Make it a point to leave everything and just relax for ten to thirty minutes per day. Ignore everyone, do not answer any phones, and do not think about anything you need to do. Simply think you are on vacation and everyone should manage their own businesses without relying on you. It really works

These are some of the practical findings from my own experience that help me stay afloat and make me less stressed out at the end of the day. Please do input on what your findings are about these tips.