The general sentiment around productivity is to get more done in less time. While this is great in theory, focusing solely on getting the most done can lead to burn-out. This is compounded when you throw managing a home and family into the mix. Here are a few suggestions to accomplish a seeming insurmountable task.
1. Limit commitments. This is where you'll get the biggest bang for your time management buck. Choose only those that are truly important to you and that you are happy to be doing. Continuing to participate in something out of a feeling of obligation diminishes the enjoyment. Learn to say no and realize that when you say yes to one thing you are saying no to something else. All too often that something else is our family or ourselves.
2. Create a family calendar. This can be as high tech or as low tech as you want it to be. The key to a useful family calendar is that it should be easy for everyone to use and accessible to everyone. Start by filling in the regular commitments for all family members. Things like, soccer practice, yoga, doctors appointments, business trips, and garbage day. Then fill in the other date-independent plans each of you have. I recommend doing this weekly as life and circumstances change so this allows for some flexibility.
3. Reduce clutter. It's difficult to be efficient and to manage your time wisely if you are constantly rummaging through piles of paper and mounds of clothing. Reducing clutter can help your family to run like a well oiled machine. When things have a home it's easier to maintain order. Do it in small bits and work as a team to get everything in the most logical place.
4. Work as a team. The best way to get everyone on board is to include them. Include them in the brainstorming, organizing, shopping and executing. Put ideas out there and allow for discussion. Some of the best ideas come out of group chats. One idea leads to another, leads to yet another and finally leads to the best one of the day.
Time management takes persistence and patience to master. Working together to get a system that works well for your family is what's important. Try leaving a couple nights a week free to accommodate for emergencies or rescheduling or just a good family fun night. Once you've decided on a system give it time to take hold. If it's still not working for you after a few weeks get together and re-think it. What's working? What's not? You shouldn't feel as though this is set in stone. Be open to change. You'll be operating like a well oiled, stress and chaos free family in no time.
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