This week myself and several other working mums in my office were all having a bit of a rant about how much we have to do, how we’re always running late and how we feel like we’ve done a days work before we even reach the office.
Of course, we then get to the office and the rushing doesn’t stop – especially if you’re part-time but still trying to fit a full-time job’s worth of work into your shorter day.
My biggest problem is the sheer amount of work that needs doing (both at work and at home) and remembering what needs doing when.
I thought I’d put together some time management tips to help working mums manage their workload more effectively, whether it’s at work or at home. So if you think you could do with improving your time management skills read on…
How working mums can manage their time better to avoid stress…
I don’t think it matters whether you use an online planner such as Trello or a physical planner that you write in, but you need to make a note of everything. A combination of both is a good idea, the online one to set reminders to pop-up on your phone and the paper one to be able to write quick notes and cross things off your list as you go.
I make a note of to-do lists, deadlines, meetings and appointments, and have sections for work and school reminders. Without these, I’d forget everything!
Set yourself a time management plan and see if it helps you to manage your time more effectively.
If you haven’t heard of ‘batching’ it’s when you group similar tasks together to save time. For example, you might group all phone calls together and do them in one go, or have a set time in the afternoon that you respond to emails.
Batching can help to stop you from flitting from one task to another and feeling like you’re a bit all over the place.
This is especially one for home – get your kids to have their own chores, and your partner to do their fair share of the workload if you are both at work all day.
You can’t do everything (nor should you!) so it’s ok to give some of your tasks to other people. If there’s someone in your team at work who can also do the task, is there any reason you can’t pass it over to them?
#4 Be flexible
Set yourself times to get various tasks done, but if something comes up you need to be able to be flexible. Give yourself a bit more time on some deadlines than you think you’ll need and don’t cram your schedule so full that there’s no breathing space.
This way, if something unexpected happens, such as your sick child needing to be picked up from school or a last minute meeting at work, it won’t be too much of a stress if you need to go off plan for a bit.
#5 No multitasking!
Multitasking doesn’t seem to be as popular as it once was, and there’s a good reason for that! If you try to do too much at once you open yourself up to mistakes and ultimately will take much longer to get each job finished.
Quite often if I’m multitasking I’ll suddenly realise that I’ve stopped somhalfwayalf way through and then totally forgotten it needs finishing as I’ve got so focused on another task altogether!
Focus on an individual task and don’t move onto the next one until it’s finished. You’ll get things done quicker and hopefully make yourself more efficient.
Timeboxing is where you restrict a task or project to a certain amount of time and then move on to a different task once the time is up.
This strategy will help you to focus on one particular task and work out at the end exactly how much time you have spent on it – especially good if you need to invoice someone for your time later.
It also means you don’t lose track of time when you get involved in a project. Make sure you set a timer to go off when your time is up so that you’re strict about sticking to the limit you set.
#7 Balance your time
All work and no play isn’t good for anyone. If you spend too much time working you’ll be shattered and risk burning out. This leads to time off work in the end which obviously means you won’t get everything done anyway.
Set yourself a better work-life balance where possible so that you arrive at work refreshed and raring to go, rather than not really waking up until the afternoon!
Good time management will help you to be more productive and less stressed with the amount if work you have to do.
What are your top time management tips? Are there any on this list that you could try next week?