Monday, October 14, 2013

The Well Managed Home: Time Management

Home management involves a lot of things, not the least of which is time management. Now that my precious kids are all in school, I find that my need for organization and time management is at an all-time high. It's true that I do have more free time in the sense that I don't have anyone at home demanding my attention from 8am to 3pm. However, I have a lot of things on my to-do list that still will not get done if I'm not organized about it. Time is so very easily wasted. {And we can't always blame it on the kids.} I am learning that having a list to follow everyday of the things I need to accomplish is the best way for me to get it all done. I love checking things off of a list. There's a big sense of accomplishment from that. The older I get the more I need a list to follow because I cannot do it all from memory.
Do this little exercise in time management to see if you are using your valuable time wisely.
  • Journal your day starting from when you wake up until you go to bed.
  • Write down what you did that day in 15 minute increments. You may want to stop every hour for a second to write it down otherwise you may forget. We do SO MUCH everyday!
  • At the end of the day, look over it and analyze how your time was spent.
  • Did you find you had several sections of time that were not productive? I know that I do have some that I could be using to do those small things on my list. I'll give you some ideas below.
  • Do you have too much on your to do list? It's possible you need to rethink your list and determine what things you need to remove or move to another day/time.
Now, if you have slots of time that are not productive, here are some things you can do in small amounts of time:
  • Clean out a drawer.
  • Fold a basket of clothes.
  • Distribute clothes to a room.
  • Wash windows in one room.
  • Dust one room.
  • Vacuum one room.
  • Sweep the porch.
  • Clean a half bath.
  • Refill paper products - toilet paper, napkins, paper towels.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Hang up clothes.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Send a card or email or text to someone you need to connect with.
  • Write a grocery list
  • Pick up everything in one room that doesn't belong and put it away.
  • Throw in a load of laundry.
  • Switch clothes to dryer.
  • Wipe down counters
  • Wipe down kitchen sink.
  • Clean out refrigerator.
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Load dishwasher
  • ETC.
During this time, you can also make a phone call to return a call, make an appt., pay a bill, etc.

The goal is to multitask when you can and use every slot of time in the best possible way. Schedule some down time if you need it, by all means, but make sure you're not just wasting time when there are a million things to be done.

If there are things on your list that never get done, ask yourself:
  • Is this item absolutely necessary?
  • Does it benefit my family or cause me to neglect my family?
  • Is doing this item causing frustration in me or in my family members? {Maybe from lack of planning, feeling rushed, doing too much...}
Sometimes we place unneeded stress on ourselves by taking on too many committments. I mean, school is demanding, family obligations can be demanding, ministry can be very demanding, sports, etc. We don't have to do it all or be involved in everything that is available to us. In fact, it's impossible to do it all and maintain a balanced family life. Sometimes, we just have to say no. Sometimes, we can say 'later' and even fewer times we can readily commit where the whole family benefits and doesn't suffer. You just have to take these things one at a time as they come because some seasons of life are busier than others and one month we may feel like taking on the world, but the next month be completely maxed out. Balance is the key. Life is a balancing act.
  • Determine your priorities ahead of time. {Family, Church, Work, School, etc.}
  • What are you willing to sacrifice and not sacrifice from time to time?
  • What kind of demands fall into each of those categories?
Plan ahead and when opportunities/demands present themselves, you will already have a plan in place to determine whether or not you should commit.

How do you manage your time? Do you use a daily to-do list? Do you plan each item for a specific time? Or does it work for you to just fly by the seat of your pants? I'd love to hear your tips!

Here are some great day planners you can get for a good deal!
Plan Ahead Mom's 18 Months Planner, July 2013 - December 2014, Assorted Designs, Design May Vary, 1 Planner (85097)

Personal Organizer Notepad Jotter Planner w File Divider Cell Phone Pocket and Calculator

Plan Ahead Medium Home/Office 18 Months Planner, July 2013 - December 2014, Assorted Colors, Color May Vary, 1 Planner (85095)

This is part of my 31 Days of Home Economics series. You can find the full list at the tab above {Home Economics}.

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