Time Management

Creative Ways to Prioritize your Time

Time. It’s hard. There never seems to be enough.

Between skating, and dance, gymnastics, soccer, school, leadership, board meetings, etc. Time can be hard. Especially time for yourself to do something that you enjoy.

I’m going to share a few ways that I’ve managed to re-prioritze my time and use it more efficiently so that I can accomplish my goals.

Get up early

Yup.

Not a morning person?

No, me neither.

We joke around here that I can’t make the coffee because I haven’t had the coffee. My biggest kitchen failures have centred around my attempts to make coffee in the morning. BUT getting up early is the best thing I’ve done. I’m not talking 6:00 early – my kids are up by then most days anyway, I’m talking 4:30. Yes you read that right 4:30 am.

By getting up early I get to have my coffee (prepped the night before due to the aforementioned morning coffee foibles) and my breakfast in peace. I get some morning quiet time, and about an hour of productive work time to work on my business. All you Mom’s out there know that our Mom Super Powers come out with alone time and an hour alone can be just as effective as a whole day surrounded by kids.

The added bonus is that I get to shower and by the time my kids are up I’m actually awake and ready to be nice to my three little birdies chirping around the table for their breakfast and morning snuggles. It’s a good thing.

Try it you’ll like it!

Keep a List

I don’t know about you but if I get up aimlessly and have no list or plan then nothing gets done. Plus I find it super motivating to check things off that list so I make a list.

It’s way easier to get up early and work on a project when your tasks are already laid out for you, so make a list. Keep it wherever you will actually look at it and find it most helpful – for me this is in a planner with a page per day.  I tend to use each page for my daily list as opposed to as a schedule (I have multiple other calendars for the nuts and bolts of our daily schedule).

I make my list for the next day at the end of every day. When I get up in the morning my planner is the first thing I look at and I can then prioritize my tasks based on the energy/time I have at the moment.

Cut back on Social Media

GASP I said it! But seriously we all know that social media can be a huge time suck! It’s easy to sit down to check the kids school pages for updates an find yourself still sitting an hour later not yet having checked for the updates you logged in for. I read a book in two days by simply cutting back my social media time. Like an actual book, no pictures, more than 100 pages and a font size of less than 20.

I still have a nursing toddler, so I was finding that I would sit down to nurse her and log in to Facebook. Nursing her can take up a significant amount of time in my day. That’s a lot of time spent on Facebook when I could be enjoying my little one who will soon not need me in that way, and/or reading something a lot more productive. Even if it is picture books with big font to her! Much better bonding. (Im not perfect I still do the FB thing once a day but I’ve been trying to be mindful of cutting it way back).

Find creative childcare

As I’ve been working more on growing my business I’ve been finding that I need more time to do so, but I’m still not in the position where I could hire someone on a regular basis. That’s also not really my goal, I want to keep my kids out of daycare as much as possible, but realistically sometimes you need a block of time that’s more than an hour long and not just in the margin times of your day, so find creative childcare.

In my case I have a friend who is also a homeschool mom with three kids. She also happens to be working on a masters degree at the moment. So I proposed a “book club” that we alternate hosting every other week so we each get a couple extra hours to get some things done. It’s AWESOME! It’s a win-win all the way around. Our kids LOVE each other and get to see their friends, plus they still get their school work done – and in a different environment than normal. The burden of planning and getting the school work done is removed for a morning, AND Mom gets some productive time alone without getting up super early.  THIS idea was gold. It was suggested in the Business Boutique community forum when I asked how other business moms were making headway. SMART SMART women there!

TURN OFF THE TV

There you go, I said it. Turn. Off. the TV.

It’s SO easy to get sucked into zoning out and watching show after show after show in the evening. I get it, you’re tired, you just want to relax and do something mindless, but do you REALLY feel relaxed and ready for bed after you’ve watched a whole bunch of TV? I know I don’t. AND in this age of Netflix and Prime TV its so easy to binge watch something and look up to realize that it’s super late and you’ve just robbed yourself from a decent sleep and your early morning wake up time.

Years ago we created a no-TV on weeknights rule at our house. We only allowed ourselves to watch movies or shows on the weekend. Everyone in our house follows this rule, adult, kids, pets and dust bunnies.

Instead my hubby and I read, pursue hobbies (I like to sew, he does a lot of drawing right now) and generally spend that time actually connecting with each other and doing things that we really enjoy. When we first implemented this rule many years ago our business almost doubled in size in the first six months. Now we find that we go for weeks at a time without turning the TV on for the adults in the house.

There are just so many other things we’d prefer to do!

Plan Tasks Appropriately

If you’re like me you probably find that you’re pretty much done by the time the kids go to bed, so don’t plan hard tasks for the evening time. I try to make sure that I have things I really enjoy on the list for my evening hours cause then I’m more likely to actually do them and I have the added bonus of feeling like I got some “me” time.

Make sure that you know what your most effective blocks of time are in the day (this may take some learning on your part) and plan your tasks accordingly. Do the high brain power tasks at a time of day that you actually have high brain power. Put your most favourite tasks in parts of the day that you often find unproductive – you’re more likely to be productive if you’re doing something you like! Don’t forget, plan to have some down time! YES you need it!

If you have a time block in your day that is just consistently unproductive because you’re tired, or your kids are tired/cranky, hungry, whatever then embrace it. Give yourself some grace and just accept that time block as an unproductive time of day.

Exercise

I know, Exercise, funny thing to add into a post about how to prioritize your time, but seriously do it. You will have more energy to accomplish your tasks and follow through with your proposed schedule if you exercise. Your body will thank you for it because you will feel more awake (so don’t so this at 9pm cause you’ll have a hard time sleeping!) and you’ll be healthier and more energized!

Now I’ve shared my time management tips, how about you share yours!  If you found something to be really helpful in your time management and productivity then post in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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