Time management: Is it a recipe for a perfect life? No, but it sure moves you closer.
Time management requires some thinking ahead. Do you need to plan out your whole day, week, or month? Not necessarily, just watch for the areas you struggle with and work to smooth them out.
For instance, your morning will go more smoothly if you consider a few things the night before. Prepare kids for the coming day. Remind them to work hard on school and chores so they can go to an activity afterward.
Plan for enough sleep for you and the kids. This effort helps with attitudes and keeps everyone healthy and on your schedule.
Get the wiggles out early with a little exercise. My kids had a routine of sit-ups, time on the elliptical, running up and down stairs a few times, all before breakfast.
Have them do morning chores so your house is ready for the day.
Feed them a breakfast of protein rather than carbs to help them focus. Your breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate, just thoughtful.
Plan your school time to include short breaks (maybe a time to feed pets or fold laundry).
Learn to stick to the task. This does not come naturally for moms or kids, but if we stay on task, we can finish faster. That gives us more time for other things.
Be an audience for your kids. Watch carefully to see where they might be wasting time. Use a timer when needed. Like playing a game of beat the clock, see if those math problems can be completed in ten minutes.
Do not leave the room during school-time, even to switch laundry from washer to dryer. Your students will not stay focused. Hold yourself to a rule of no phone calls or distractions during school time.
So, what can you do while they work independently? You can work quietly with one child, text encouragement to friends or relatives, write your grocery list, plan your weekend, read short articles, sip coffee, set up play dates by text or email, play solitaire on your phone—any of that, but don’t leave the room!
I strongly urge you to start your school day with math and language. You’ll feel some accomplishment and enjoy your other subjects more. I also started with individual time with my oldest student every day, just in case we ran short of time. It’s easier to catch up the younger ones.
I would also urge you to do your reading aloud before lunch. A hungry child is more alert than one with a full tummy. Actually, if a slightly late lunch would make it possible to finish all of your school time before lunch, then please aim for that!
Prioritize your to-do list. If you get the most important things done today, then give yourself permission to move the rest to tomorrow’s list. You can evaluate your progress every few months to see if you’re satisfied, and make adjustments as needed.
Try to end your school day with something fun. Little ones love mazes, hidden pictures, dot to dots, and puzzles. Older ones love meeting friends for snack or play. Maybe enjoy some family lawn games or make brownies together.
Whether your kids are close in age or far apart, try to find activities that all or most can participate in together. This not only builds memories for the kids to share, it also keeps you from running in a different direction for each child.
Along the same line, use your waiting time to visit with other moms. Get and give encouragement. Ask and answer questions. Swap recipes! Good time management provides some time for mom to be more than the chauffeur.
Don’t neglect drive time. If you have a distance to drive to an activity or appointment, use that time to listen to learning CDs. Kids can so easily learn all kinds of things set to music. We have found history songs, grammar songs, geography songs, presidents and first ladies songs, the Constitution, Bible verses, even chess moves. Make the most of your drive time!
We love to have supper together every evening. That also takes a little planning. Crock-pots and instant pots are helpful. Meals can be simple. Decide in advance what time you need to be home from activities or errands, to leave time to cook, so your mealtime can be consistent. You might want to save meals that take longer to prepare for the weekends. I allot myself one hour in the kitchen to prepare supper on weeknights. I keep a list of quick meals to help me when time runs short. Meals together are important, but my time is valuable too.
Good time management covers all aspects of your schedule. Good time management is a valuable skill to refine for yourself and to teach to your children. Good time management helps you accomplish all the things that are important to you. You can make the most of each day! Please make your schedule smoother with a little planning. And don’t forget to follow through! You can move your life closer to being perfect!
Dava Banner has been married thirty-seven years and has three fine sons. She and her family live on a small farm in Crouse.