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Are you a wise steward of your time? Or do you struggle with time management?
Using your time wisely has tremendous impact on your ability to juggle your household tasks AND your growing business. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day.
Here are some of the strategies I use to be proactive in time management. It doesn’t always keep me from feeling overwhelmed with a mile-long to-do list, but it definitely helps!
Have a Plan for Your Time
I never get as much done on days I decide just to wing it. We end up vegging in front of the TV for WAY TOO LONG, and my kids turn into hooligans because they’re bored, televisioned, and ready for some real life action.
But, a strict schedule never worked for me either! One little interruption would come up and I’d be behind. The rest of the day felt like I was playing catch up.
So I shared in this post how I plan for my time with routine blocks. We have a daily meeting every morning to build our Plan of the Day. It works, and really helps ensure we’re getting all of our have-tos done. We’ve also been able to do more want-tos!
You don’t have to schedule like I do. Find a way to plan your time, and then do it. Make a plan because whether or not you’re prepared, those hours are going to pass, and you’ll never get a do-over for them.
Utilize Your Little Bits of Time
When you have a couple of minutes to spare, what do you do? You can spend them however you’d like, but make sure you have a plan for those too.
Otherwise you’ll spend your few minutes thinking about how you should really take advantage of this time. Then you’ll start wondering what you should do, and how to best use it. And before you know it the time will be gone.
Instead, have a plan. Make a list right now of things you can do in just a few minutes.
And just for the record–sitting down, putting your feet up, and catching your breath totally counts as using your time well! You don’t always HAVE to be productive.
Here are a few ideas for you for your business:
Two Minute Tasks
- Delete some emails
- Unsubscribe from an email list you no longer benefit from
- Pin a couple of pins from a group board to share the love
- Take a picture to use in social media or a blog post later
- Follow an influencer
Five Minute Tasks
- Download some creative commons photos for upcoming posts
- Brainstorm topics to write about
- Outline the main points for a post
- Respond to a quick email
- Leave a comment on a post in your niche
- Update a template to create an image for a post
- Skim your notifications on Facebook
- Use a social media scheduler to schedule some posts
Ten Minute Tasks
- Research one topic for an upcoming post
- Draft a pitch
- Update your writing resume
- Finish a lesson in a course (here’s a link to mine if you need more help Balancing Diapers and Deadlines!)
- Update an old post to include a new image and more information
- Check your stats to learn more about where your traffic is coming from and use this information to create a quick plan of action
And here are some ideas for your home and with your kids:
Two Minute Tasks
- Sort the laundry or throw a load in
- Pick up all the _______ on the floor (I’d currently say blankets in my house!)
- Give your kids a hug
- Make a bed
- Sing a silly song
Five Minute Tasks
- Give your kids a challenge (i.e. walk across the room with this book on your head and then run backwards back here)
- Have a five-minute drawing challenge. Pick a theme, set the timer, and everybody draw!
- Load or unload the dishwasher
- Run to the basement and dig through the freezer to find the meat you need for dinner
- Review your meal plan to make sure you know what you’re eating
- Head outside and run around the house with the kids
- Print coloring pages so your kids have them to use for Family Writing Time
- Fold a load of laundry
Ten Minute Tasks
- Read aloud a favorite picture book
- Snuggle on the couch and chat
- Give the baby a bath
- Have a brief quiet reading time where everyone reads
- Throw something in the crock pot or dutch oven for dinner
- Put on some music and move with the kids – can you all stay moving the whole ten minutes?
Watch for Time Suckers
Are there any activities sucking up a lot of your time? Make a list of them. Then, brainstorm ways to streamline. Or delegate.
Recognize It’s a Juggle
Do you know how to juggle? It’s a skill I learned back in sixth grade, and I’ve enjoyed doing it ever since.
You start off holding two balls in one hand, and one ball in another. Then you give one of the balls from the two ball hand a toss up. When it’s at eye level, you toss the one from your other hand.
While you’re juggling, one ball is up higher than the others. You’re constantly shifting which ball it is, as you’re catching and tossing all the time.
It’s like this with life.
Some days, your family will need way more of your time. Toss that family ball way up in the air and focus on it.
Sometimes your business will be in a period of growth and will need you. Now it’s time for the business ball to go up high.
While you can get fancy with your mad juggling skills, it’s best to only keep one ball high at a time. When you try to do too much, you often end up dropping everything. Which isn’t pretty.
Learn to recognize which ball is up high at different points of the day, and make sure you’re focusing on the right thing.
Don’t Waste Time
What are your time wasters? I can easily get sucked into Facebook or news sites on my phone, and stay there way too long.
It was really hard at first to hit that power button. But, it was so freeing. And my productivity soared.
What are your time wasters? Can you think of a way to cut them out? Or at least reduce them?
Make Sure You Plan on Spending Time with Your Spouse
If you’re married, time with your spouse is essential! Make sure you’re spending some time daily together. You might give one of the following a try:
- Sit outside and chat after you tuck the kids in
- Take a walk together
- Cook together
- Play a board game you both enjoy
- Watch a movie or episode together (we’re currently working through Star Trek: The Next Generation…)
- Work on a project around the house together
- Read aloud a good book or listen to an audio book together
It doesn’t have to cost money to spend time together, so no excuses.
What Are Your Tips for Time Management?
Have you found an effective strategy for managing your time? I’d love for you to share it with us all.
V is for…
This A-Z series is quickly coming to a close! I’ve enjoyed writing these posts, and sharing ideas for working at home with kids. I’ll be back tomorrow with the letter V. Any guesses what it is?
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Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.