There are a lot of different time management strategies out there. But overwhelmed moms should have their own chapter on this subject! Sometimes when I think about all the things that are on our plates I wonder how we don’t sleep standing up. Because we have a LOT of things to manage!
While I don’t have everything figured out (I don’t think anyone does) and I still have some days where I feel overwhelmed, there are definitely time management strategies that I find very helpful. They help me manage my time and responsibilities in a way that makes me feel accomplished and appreciate the progress that I have made.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
The number one time management strategy that you should implement is planning ahead. There is nothing more stressful than doing things last minute because you forgot or did not have a plan.
For example, when you have your kid’s birthday party coming up and you wait until the week of his or her birthday to start getting stuff ready, you will most likely get very stressed out. You will run into all kinds of problems with very little time to correct them. But, if you had a plan ahead of time, you would be able to start working on it much earlier saving yourself a lot of time and stress.
You have to make a habit of planning ahead. This will truly impact all aspects of your life and help you balance all your responsibilities much more effectively without feeling overwhelmed. Every other strategy that I will outline here will have a component of planning in it.
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START WITH A QUICK WIN
You are probably thinking – that’s all great, but where do I get started? I am feeling overwhelmed right now and I need to know what needs to be done right now! What is my first step?
The very first thing that I suggest you do is figure out what is bothering you the most. Think about the most stressful parts of your day. Is it the hectic mornings where everyone is rushing and you find yourself screaming ‘hurry up’ so everyone can be on time at school and work? In that case you would start with developing a morning routine.
Or perhaps it’s the dinner time when you are trying to juggle cooking dinner, helping with homework, and trying to keep your little ones pre-occupied at the same time? This would call for an evening routine where you create a flow of activities that work for you and your family.
Maybe for you it’s not about a time of the day as much as it is about an area of your house that is causing you stress? You might be spending a lot of time looking for things or constantly feeling like your house is cluttered and disorganized. In this case, you would get your quick win by decluttering one area of your house that is causing you the most stress.
Decide what is bothering you the most and start tackling it. Create a plan that includes a list of things you have to do in order to address your number one area of concern.
When you address the area that is making you feel overwhelmed you will also eliminate a lot of wasted time that you used to spend thinking and stressing out about it.
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The next time management strategy is to create to-do lists. Yes, I know this is very basic stuff here, but I have been making to-do lists in the past that were only helping me for a few minutes. Your to-do list must be effective!
The idea behind creating a to-do list to have things written down for you to be able to visualize what you need to do and be able to track your progress.
One of the best ways to start is with a Brain Dump. It involves taking a piece of paper and writing down all the things that you want to accomplish. You are basically taking all the thoughts and tasks that are making you feel stressed out and overwhelmed out of your mind and putting them on the paper. If you have not done this exercise before, I highly recommend it! I use it about once a month. It really helps to declutter your mind so you will not have to waste time thinking about the same tasks that you have to do over and over again.
Once you have done your brain dump, you can take the tasks from there and use them to create your to-do lists. You can organize them into different categories, like things to clean, things to organize, and things to buy. Here is a great video that explains that concept and helps you keep track of everything.
CREATE ROUTINES AND SYSTEMS
As overwhelmed moms, you will find it very helpful to manage your time better by establishing routines and systems at your home.
You probably have some routines set up in your homes. We tend to do the same things in the mornings and evenings without even realizing it. But it helps to evaluate your day and see what improvements you can make to make things run smoother. The three main routines that moms need in their homes are: morning routine, evening routines, and cleaning routine.
Having routines and systems will help both you and your family members. When they know what is expected of them at certain times of the day, they will spend much less time complaining about it. It will simply become a routine for them.
And you will feel less overwhelmed because you will spend less time thinking about what you need to do next. And once your routines are well established you will notice that it is taking you much less time to get things done.
USE WEEKENDS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
Time management strategies also apply to weekends. We tend to fall into two extremes: taking the entire weekend to relax and do nothing or spending the entire weekend cleaning, prepping, and getting ready for the week ahead.
You need a balance! It is extremely helpful to have some preparation for the week ahead done on the weekend. But you cannot overdo it. That will definitely lead to feeling overwhelmed.
Decide on the amount of time you want to dedicate to do household chores and to prepare for the week ahead. And stick to that time frame. Use that time to catch up only household chores, grocery shopping, and meal planning. You can also use that time to do some deep cleaning of your house. Or tackle those tasks on the to-do list. As a working mom, this has been working out really great for me.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF EVERY SINGLE DAY
And this leads me to the last one of the time management strategies and that is to take some time to yourself every single day. When we don’t take little breaks to just rest and recharge, we will be feeling so tired and overwhelmed that we will be doing everything slower. Either because we are physically or mentally exhausted.
Therefore, if you want to be more productive and manage your time better, you absolutely have to dedicate some time just for you! You cannot run on empty!
How do you manage your time? What has been working for in the past and what has not? Please share your thoughts below.
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