Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder where all that time went? You haven’t had a moment to yourself and yet your to-do list is as huge as ever. This is the fate of many a mom, whether or not you also choose to work outside of the home. The amount of jobs you need to get through in a single day - all while dealing with near-constant interruptions - is staggering. It’s little wonder that a recent study found that motherhood is equivalent to working two and a half full time jobs on it's own! Well, although you can’t create more than twenty four hours in a single day, you can make the most of the time you do have, by turbo-charging what you do and finding clever hacks to make the most of each hour.
Stop The Mindless Scrolling
Social media can be a lot of things - inspiring, motivating, supportive. But it can also be one hell of a time drain when you’re a busy parent with a mountain of tasks. You take a quick peek for a mental break - and before you know it, you’ve lost half an hour to mindless scrolling. That’s time that could have been spent either on your to-do list or on yourself, doing something more rewarding - that creative writing session, the quick yoga workout you have been meaning to fit in, phoning a friend for a long overdue chat or even just relaxing with a chapter of your latest book. Make it easy for yourself by downloading an app which limits social media usage. This means you’ll only be able to check your social feeds during designated times, and it can be really useful if you struggle with setting boundaries. You’ll be amazed how much time you gain back with this one simple move.
Batch Process Your Tasks
It’s a trick that business leaders often use - and being a parent means being the CEO of your family, so it's a good comparison to make. You can gain some time by chunking together similar activities. You probably already multi-task, but this is a much more efficient approach to time management at home. For example, you could clean the sink, shower and toilet while the kids are in the bath, put laundry away as they tidy up their rooms, or set aside fifteen minutes to reply to all those emails rather than tackling them piecemeal. Doing things together keeps your focus up and stops you splitting your mental energy between two dissimilar things - which is what can make multitasking in an unstructured way so draining and reduce the quality of your output. By putting together similar tasks, you avoid this pitfall. These days with voice assistance it's easier than ever to make the most of all the random pockets of time you have. You could even get a pair of amazon echo glasses so that you can find recipes for the week while you’re walking the kids to school or making dinner that night!
Use The Night Before
Most of us find that mornings can be the most intensely stressful point in the day - because all of the family have lots of immediate needs that need to be met, from brushing their teeth to getting kids dressed, making breakfast and getting everyone out of the door on time for their commitments. Often it seems like a very precarious act, and one little thing amiss, like not remembering where you put the car keys, can derail the whole thing. So use the night before to get ruthlessly prepped for the day ahead. Yes, it's tempting to skip this when you’re tired and could really do with a few minutes to yourself, but the stressed-out future you will thank you for spending a few minutes getting things straight and ready to go. Get all the bags - kids and your own packed, organise any lunches or snacks that you need, lay out an outfit for yourself and one each for the children, understand where the things you will need in the morning, like your keys, are and think about any extras - homework diaries, bad weather gear, sports kit - in advance. This one piece of advice can be key to a smoother, less stressful morning.
Understand You Can’t Have It All - All The Time
Women have kind of been sold a myth about having it all. But it's not that you can’t have a tidy home, well-behaved kids, a nutritious dinner, a great career and a perfect relationship with your partner - it's just that it's hard to have it all at the same time. Sometimes you just need to lower your own expectations a bit. It may be a week where the kids need to take priority - or perhaps you have a huge project at work and that needs to be the focus. In those times, don’t be afraid to give yourself a break, call in some favours, get help with your inner strength, pay for some outside help or just let certain things slide a little. It won’t be the end of the world. You’re doing great - and learning to give yourself a break sometimes is essential.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.