As a working mom, time management tools are essential! I’m always trying to figure out the best way to stay on top of things. To make sure that I make it to my appointments on time, to remember all the school events, and to be as efficient and effective with my everyday tasks so I don’t waste my time re-doing things.
In this blog I’m sharing the time management tools that help me stay on top of things both at work and at home. I work full time, have a side hustle that consists of Imperfect Life Balance YouTube channel and blog, and we have two small kids with plenty of responsibilities at home 😉 So life is pretty busy and those tools help me manage my time better.
Planner is one of my favorite time management tools. I used the one in paper format as I like to write things down. The purpose of my planner is to have daily to-do list. This is where I write short tasks that I need to accomplish as well as mark my time blocks for larger projects. The main technique that I use to plan my days is to sit down at the beginning of the week and plan my entire week. That allows me to plan more efficiently and ensure that I have enough time to complete all the priority tasks.
What Kind of Planner?
I use Simplified Planner designed by Emily Ley. This is the first year that I’m using it but I’m loving it! For the past few years I have used a variety of planners from Target or Walmart but nothing compares in quality and effectiveness of this one.
If you currently do not have a planner, I suggest you find something that fits your needs. Decide whether you will want to use your planner to use your planner to simply to track your daily schedule and your to-do list (like me) or whether you want to track other things like budget, annual goals, and your meal plan. You want to make sure that you find the planner that fits your needs. Because the time management tools will only work as good as they fit you specific lifestyle.
For example, I use my planner for my daily schedule and to write down my to-do list for each day. I use it for work, household, and side hustle (this blog and YouTube Channel). So what works for me is a planner that has a daily schedule with a full page dedicated to each day. That way I have enough space for all my notes.
Family Monthly Calendar
I cannot function without the monthly calendar, which is the celebrity of my Command Center. I also have an electronic version on my Google Calendar.
Command Center Family Monthly Calendar
This is the tool that I use to write down all the important activities for the month. This could be birthday parties, afterschool activities, school events, Holidays, and any day that are off from school. Having the monthly calendar in our Command Center allows everyone to quickly check the schedule for the upcoming day and week.
I also love to use my Google Calendar. I definitely need it since I cannot take my dry eraser board whenever I leave the house. My Google calendar is mainly used for appointments and special events, so it is not the exact copy of my physical calendar.
My most favorite feature of the Google Calendar is that I am able to set reminders for myself. For example, when I schedule a doctor’s appointment, I will set a reminder for myself about 30 minutes before I have to leave. That way when the alarm goes off, I know I need to get ready to leave soon. And it is awesome that I can take that with me wherever I go and share it with my husband so we both can update.
Keep Notes is a FREE app that I refer to as a virtual sticky notes 😉 You are able to create multiple boards, checklists, or sticky notes. Everything you enter is saved automatically, which is great because the last thing I want is to type up a list and forget to save it.
I use this to create lists when I’m on the go. Sometimes ideas and thoughts enter your mind when you don’t have your planner, or notebook, or computer to write it down. And you almost always have your phone with you. The lists that I have include things like grocery list, books to read, blog ideas, or gift ideas. Having that app easily accessible allows me to quickly write myself a note or add an item the list when I’m on the go. That way I don’t have to remember about it until I get home. Which most likely I would forget. Or if it was very important, I would keep thinking about and unnecessarily cluttering my mind.
This is a software application that I use at work every single day. One Note is working in a similar way to the Keep Notes application, but on a much larger scale. I don’t use it at home right now, but I think that once my side hustle grows, I will start using it more.
I mainly used it at work for note taking and to create templates. Note taking in this format is saving me time in a long run because I can keep all notes related to the same subject in the same spot. Before, I used to have a separate document for each meeting notes and when I was looking for something specific to reference, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which document is holding the information I need. Now it’s almost effortless.
And it is also great for templates. For example, I can create template email messages for reaching out to potential customers, or templates for agendas and presentations.
It’s a small and very simple tool, but very effective in helping with time management. I use this tool for smaller tasks. There is just something about giving yourself a time limit to do something. It makes you work faster and be more efficient.
Two great examples come to mind. The first one is work related and has to do with your inbox. Maybe you feel overwhelmed with the number of emails that it has. Set you timer to 15 minutes and concentrate on this task alone. Deleting e-mails, responding to requests, and filing the important messages away. Because we have a time limit of 15 minutes you will spend much less time debating whether you need to keep or delete a particular email. You will move quickly and efficiently.
Another great example is related to cleaning. Maybe you have a night stand in your bedroom that needs to be cleaned and organized (things tend to accumulate there for some reason;)) Set your timer to 10 minutes and get to work. You will be surprised how much you will be able to accomplish in those 10 minute.
Do you use any of those tools? Or maybe you have some additional ones that you would like to share? Let us know!