Work and Life: 10 Ways to Find More Time in Your DayMolly Thornberg
A few weeks back I asked: “What is your biggest work life challenge?”
The hardest part about being a working mom is the feeling of not doing a “great” job at anything. You focus on work and kids and home falls apart… you focus on home and work falls apart. It is hard for those of us that struggle finding “good enough”.
The struggles of finding balance between adequate time, love and attention to both your children and your job is a common denominator with 99% of moms. This is especially true with babies. Feeling that you are doing a great job at both jobs is essential, but there is only 24 hours in a day. Time wins again! Don’t let it.
Here are 10 Ways to Find More Time in Your Day
1. Regularly Determine Your Priorities
Sit down once a week and look at the calendar for both work and home.
2. Be Prepared
This is coming from the most unorganized person you will ever meet – EXCEPT when it comes to preparing for the day. Each day the baby’s bag is packed, as well as the toddlers. The older kids’ clothes are laid out ahead of time — as well as their snacks and lunches made. This took YEARS to perfect, but after experiencing the latter and realizing how much time I am saving by being prepared — I now stay on top of it!
(Tip: For babies, we have an EXTRA diaper bag with formula, a bottle of water, bottle, diapers, wipes and change of clothes stored in the back of both vehicles. These have come in handy SO many times, so even when we weren’t prepared – we had backup!)
3. Block half a Sunday to Cook Ahead for the Week
On Sundays we cook, a lot. Chicken and ground beef are staples for many meals but can be the lengthiest part of cooking a meal.
By cooking meat for Sunday night’s dinner and then 3 other meals we are able to save time in the evenings. We are able to quickly whip together a good hot meal, as well as not have to worry about slaving over the stove cooking meat nor doing dishes for that meat.
Another item we make ahead is breakfast. Last weekend we made breakfast burritos for dinner, and made extra — froze it, and the older kids ate all week for breakfast. Muffins are another easy bake that can save time in the mornings.
4. Hire Help
I can hear the sighs and see the eye-rolls now. Hire help, are you serious? Yes. A few years ago I was talking to a therapist about my ADD. I love to master everything and do it all. She let me hear it in regards to making time for myself. She challenged me to budget in a house cleaner and that we did.
Even as we are looking at cut backs in our household budget, my husband even said “let’s try to keep the cleaner in the budget.” There is something to having someone help you every other week. Every other week we can set a priority for the house to be clean, laundry caught up and then someone who can deep clean it all. The extra time and attention she gives to our house would take my husband and myself twice as long to do.
Another thing to consider is finding a virtual assistant. If you have administrative needs that require addressing, but you just can’t seem to find the time to do – consider this option.
5. Telecommute (if this is an option for you)
More and more companies are open to telecommuting. (Check out these work at home stats.) If your position is something that can be done remotely, consider inquiring about telecommuting a few days a week. Read how telecommuting can save you time.
6. Turn off Your Phone Between 6 pm and 9 pm
The first few weeks of maternity leave I noticed something missing in my life. After charging up the iPad, I realized what it was. *DING!* See I had taken work email off of my phone. So that *DING!* or vibrate wasn’t going off a few hundred times a day. Then I turned on my iPad and realized I hadn’t done so on that. The thing went off like crazy for a day, until I promptly removed email and my work calendar from it.
There is something about silence and stepping away from technology that frees you from your work.
Turning your phone off for a few hours in the evening will help you keep your priorities with your family during that time. Remember, keyword here is TIME!
7. Commit to Working Late or Going in Early 1 Day a Week
Another commenter posted about not being promoted and needing to spend time with family rather than work. That is totally understandable. Dedicating yourself to working one night or one early morning a week can give you a few bonus hours that can be used for those projects that you just can’t seem to get you.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Use the Word “NO.”
So many people are afraid to say NO! Don’t fear that word. Read Michael Hyatt’s post on 5 Reasons Why You Need to Get Better at Saying “No”.
9. Automate What You Can
Bills can be automated (when done wisely). So can groceries (hello diapers from Amazon!). These things can save you time – utilize them!
10. Don’t Spend More Than 10 Minutes a Day on Facebook
(Image source: 9gag.com)
If not watched carefully — Facebook can suck you and time in — time that you will never get back. Don’t let Facebook be a productivity killer!
Enjoy the Time You Have
These are just recommendations. Some or all may help in finding some more time in your day, at least that is my hope. As hard as us moms have to work at both mothering and in the workforce, feeling like you are doing a great job is a emotional need.
Finding balance is an individual process. Discover what works best for you and be willing to change if it doesn’t. Most importantly, enjoy the time you have — both at work and at home. Life happens to quick. Do the best you can and enjoy it all as much as possible.
Other Posts on Work and Life:
- Baby is Sick – Now What
- Managing Work and Life After Having a Baby
- Let’s Talk Child Care
- Family Work Life Balance
What Tips Would You Add to Help Save Time?
10 Morning Timesaving Tips: How to get your kids out the door without rushing!
Read more from Molly at Digital Mom Blog where she blogs technology, parenting and geekery.