Parents with toddlers and young children can have a difficult time getting things in order. There are days when you end up feeling overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks at hand, and it never seems like you are doing things right. Running around getting things done for the children itself seems to take up the entire day, so you scramble to finish other chores, professional work, and make some time to actually sit down with the children. Being a single parent makes it much harder because there is no chance of any help from the other partner. It becomes paramount, in such cases, for parents to manage their time well so that they do not feel fatigued and burned out by the end of the work-week.
12 Time Management Hacks for Busy Parents
As a parent, here is what you can do to manage your time better:
1. Figure Out What is Really Important
The art of prioritising is one that everyone needs to master. It is crucial that you know what tasks really matter and what is important in your life. If you habitually leave things lying around until the last minute and then make it an urgent task, you’re going to have a lot piled up. Know what you must finish immediately, what you can plan for over a period of time, and what you need to eliminate from your life because it is wasteful.
2. Don’t Overcompensate With Your Kids
This is an important tip on time management for working mothers in India because you guilt-trip yourself about working when you should be taking care of your children. To compensate, you send them off to extra-curricular activities hoping that you are raising better children. This, however, may make it difficult for the children to bond with their parents, what with every member of the family doing different things in different places. Schedule to be together and spend time as a family every day. Children will be better educated on etiquette, humility, and good character by bonding with the family.
3. Have a Home That is Well Organised
An organised home is the beginning of a great day, just like a made bed is the start of a great morning! If you know where you keep your stuff, then you’ll know where to find it. Precious time is saved if things are in place, tables and workspaces are decluttered, and important items are easily accessible. Imagine wasting 15 minutes searching for something that you use almost every day. You compensate those 15 minutes by taking no break for yourself. In turn, you are angry, frustrated, and spent at the end of the day. Make sure that your children learn to be responsible as well. Teach them that everything has a place and everyone needs to be organised. That way, you do not have to spend the extra time cleaning up after your children.
4. Learn the Art of Saying No
Never over-commit to friends and family. Know that if you say yes to every invite and every request from family and friends, you are getting yourself into trouble. It is impossible to be everywhere and certainly impossible to keep everyone happy. Declining an invite for dinner or saying no to your brother or sister is better than rushing through your day, mumbling under your breath to get everything done in 24 hours. It is never worth the stress you take, and wouldn’t you would rather invest the same focus and energy into things that excite you or make you happy?
5. Don’t Dream of Perfection
There is no such thing as being perfect. You do not have to have the perfect kitchen counter, wardrobe, the perfect children, or an ideal you for that matter. It takes up too much time and is never possible to achieve either. What you can do is to make sure that everything you do is done with the best of your abilities, so that you’re content with the results and don’t have to double-check everything you do.
6. Know What Needs to Be Delegated
There are many tasks in our life that may require urgent attention but are not necessarily things that have to be done only by you. Such work should be passed on into the hands of adequately skilled personnel who can complete the task as well as you or even better than you would have done. For example – hire a gardener or give your whites to the laundry instead of spending an entire day caring for your whites. This tip is especially important for time management for single parents as they do not have the other partner to fall back on in times of need.
7. Stick to a Routine and Make Time for Additional Pile-on Tasks
Not having a routine usually spells doom. Children adapt so well to routines that they are easily trainable. They understand what to expect, and it brings in warmth and makes them feel secure. But remember that when you plan a schedule, keep some extra time for ad-hoc activities or tasks. For example, you cannot factor in things like your child throwing up while you are dropping them to school or a child that has fallen ill when you are at work. Expected the unexpected at all times and if there isn’t any occurrence, you will have profited with some time to relax on your own.
8. Have a Will-do List of Things
All time-management coaches will tell you to have a list of to-do things that you should put into writing. What ends up happening is that you write down a long list of things that you need to do and strike off the most urgent ones that you have managed to do. Then, you look at the rest of the list woefully. It would be better to make a list of things that you will surely achieve for the day and make sure you do them. It gives you a more positive feeling at the end of the day.
9. Do Not Think That You Can Multitask
Don’t fall for the multitasking trap. You cannot focus on work and be on social media at the same time. You cannot cook dinner while teaching your child English grammar. Every task deserves your full focus and attention. That way, you will have better results and fewer chances of having to repeat the work because it was shoddy.
10. Have an End-time for Any Chore/Task/Activity
Time your tasks so that you can calibrate at half-time whether you are on track or need to re-evaluate what you are doing. This way, you know if you achieve everything that you had listed for the day or will have things spilling over to the next day.
11. Have a Plan ‘B’ for Childcare
A tip on time management for parents with toddlers is to have a plan ‘B’ and a backup for plan ‘B’ in case of a baby. A day-care crisis is a working parent’s worst nightmare. It is better to be prepared, such that in case of a problem with your routine caretaker, you know what you are going to do with your toddler or child.
12. Plan Your Menu Even As You Plan Out Your Week
Deciding everyday what needs to be cooked and giving in to the demands of your fussy eaters can be very time-consuming. It is better to have a schedule for your meals, just like you plan and prioritise your tasks. That way, you will have the shopping for ingredients out of the way at the start of the week and your child will know what to expect for food and will adjust accordingly, thereby saving you precious time each day.
These are a few tips that have worked for many parents who balance work, home, and children. Pick the ones that work best for you and give it a try so that you can relax, find time to indulge in self-care, and bond with your family continually without burning out in trying to achieve it all!