Time Management Tips for Stay at Home Parents
With 1,440 minutes in a day and 168 hours per week, one would assume a stay at home parent would be the last person who would need to manage their time.
Anyone who has decided to make this radical change knows differently. Working as a stay at home parent constantly sees you pulled from one task to another, with barely a second to catch your breath.
If you're not taxiing the kids to sports practice, you're making sure their homework is finished or that your partner doesn't return to an untidy home. It's easy to get caught up on one task for the entire day and thus see several things you wanted to get done left on the backburner.
That is why I've created these tips to help stay at home parents make the most of every second.
An early start
Balancing household chores, childcare and work can be unbelievably difficult and if you're not focussed it's virtually impossible. Try waking up an hour before the kids to get yourself prepared for the day.
You can use this time to read, meditate or just mentally prepare for the day ahead. An hour to prepare yourself before the rush starts will make everything else in the day seem a little easier.
Map out how you'll spend your day
The act of writing down things in an orderly manner will help you remain productive and it will also give you an insight into the tasks which are sapping up your time. Crossing things off a list will not only help keep you stay organised, it will also give you a terrific sense of achievement.
Once you track your time wasting tasks, make simple changes to your routine. You should also make sure to work ‘me time' into your day, because a happier you will be more productive and energetic with the kids and with work.
Get technology on your side
There is an abundance of smart phone apps which can help stay at home parents keep on top of their lives. There are apps which allow you to record notes, set reminders, sync calendars, send e-mails and text messages, research items, and download recipes.
Online shopping can also help you save those extra few hours from week to week. Technology is a fantastic time saving tool if used right and one which could help you become a more efficient person.
Take organised breaks
Being a parent, a partner and a worker can be draining. That is why it is important to take breaks throughout the day.
Whether your thing is playing games on your smart phone, visiting social media or talking to friends on the phone, it is important that this is factored into your daily schedule.
But it is important these breaks don't suck you into a time vortex. One easy trick to avoid this is by setting timers and when the buzzer goes, resume completing your duties.
Ask for Help
When you reach the point where you can no longer manage on your own, you should enlist the help of either family or friends.
Many people who are new to the stay at home game feel as though it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. Seasoned stay at home parents will tell you this is simply not the case.
The kids aren't exempt, either. The tiniest hands can get involved to save you even more time. If you use all the resources available, you will be a better parent and worker.
Spend Less Time on Food Prep
You don't have to make a culinary masterpiece every day. Slaving over a hot stove is often the last thing you want to do after a busy day.
So a couple of days a week make something simple. There is an abundance of websites offering simple family recipes which will save you time and stress so don't think you have to be Gordon Ramsey or Nigella Lawson every day of the week.
And an occasional trip to the take away can't hurt either!
Learn to say No
As much as you would like to be a super-hero, unfortunately you are not. This means you cannot do everything yourself and sometimes you just have to say no.
It you work from home, saying no mightn't suit your boss and the kids might get stroppy if you can't do everything they want to do. But there are only so many hours in the day and sometimes saying no instead of setting unrealistic expectations for yourself is the best option.
Talk to other stay at home parents
These tips are a great place to start when looking to manage your time. However nothing beats experience and other stay at home parents may have even better methods for staying on top of your duties.
Talk to these people and chances are they will be delighted to help, as most parents make the same mistakes when they first make the choice to stay at home.
Implementing a time management plan will not lighten your workload overnight. However if you persevere you will eventually see the fruits of your effort come to light.
When they do, all your extra hard work will seem like time well spent.
Spend More Time with Your Spouse
Remember those days when getting changed out of your sweatpants wasn't considered a chore, the house was tidy and staying up late was great fun. Those were the days before kids.
Even with the little sprogs, you still have to make time for your spouse. And with all your new time management plans popping into place there will be more space in your day to enjoy your closest friend.