Manage Your Time Better in 2011

The holidays have come and gone and it's only now I was able to return to this blog. Sorry about that readers! I have yet to master the art of time management and yep, I've already made it one of my resolutions this year.

It's been over a year since I decided to quit my job in the corporate office and earn from home through writing, and if there is one thing I have learned this past year is that it is definitely not easy to fulfill the responsibilities of a mother, wife, and (less often now) sister and daughter and friend - while you try to keep your clients happy. But it's worth trying and I believe that it is not entirely impossible.

So to start the year off, I decided to post something about how to effectively manage time, with the help of a little research of course. With that, happy new year to all moms - moms in all shapes and sizes, moms young and old, and moms at heart - and may we all have a fruitful and productive 2011 ahead!

1. Re-evaluate priorities. With a brand new year at hand, there is no better time than to re-assess your priorities and your goals as a career woman and a mother. We all know that juggling both is serious business – and we harbor constant fear that we may fail in one or the other. Working at home has its advantages over having to go to work in some faraway office everyday, but it won't make a difference if you don't manage your time well so prioritization is something that all moms must apply. Make a list of your personal, career, and financial goals for the year. Writing it down and actually seeing it on paper can actually help you a lot in your resolve to manage your time better.

2. De-clutter. If you work from home, start with your desk. Devote an entire weekend re-organizing your broom closet, the kitchen cupboards, and all your cabinets and you’ll be surprised at how much breathing space is being clogged by unused and unnecessary clutter. Give stuff away and hold a garage sale, if you may. There is nothing to gain by being a pack rat.

3. Stop trying to be Supermom. Moms sure are capable of a lot of things but trying to bite more than you can chew can only lead to you feeling exhausted and disappointed. Be realistic with your daily tasks and try to come up with a schedule that would allow you to spend enough time on things that you need to do. I, for one, am lucky to have found a full-time online job that will allow me to earn the kind of salary I would have to toil for in my former office - for spending only four hours a day working. I intend to capitalize on that this year, and hopefully, be able to earn AND keep my husband and daughter happy at the same time by having enough time left to spend with them.

4. Stick to a schedule. Working on a schedule has never been one of my strongest points but if you can do it, then you are already one step ahead. Draw up a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule - whichever suits you best - and make a commitment that you will stick to it no matter what. Put check marks to tasks you were able to do. Be inspired and encouraged in seeing how much you were able to accomplish within a set period of time. If there are items you missed, carry it over to the next day or week and make sure you do it this time!

5. Get some help. If you can afford it, hire a babysitter or a cleaning lady to help out with housework. In my case, we can't afford it yet (and there's trust issues, as I am sure you can all relate to) but at least I only have one daughter to look out for and she stays with my in-laws some days of the week so work is not that toxic. But if you have more than one children and your work is a bit demanding, by all means, make it a priority to get help - for your sake and for your sanity. The needed budget for household help is not as high as you might expect. If you have big kids around, you have the advantage of having them help out with minor tasks. Not only do you make life easier, you also give them a sense of responsibility at an early age.

6. Plan your chores. It is possible to do the laundry while you work in front of the computer but it is one of the possible task combinations that can be stressful, distracting, and confusing. I have learned that I am only productive if I focus on work during work hours. Household chores like cooking, mopping the floors, and doing the laundry are better done according to schedule. Reserve the big chores for the weekends. Plan your weekly menu and shop for enough food for an entire week. Pay your bills online if you can have it arranged. Having groceries delivered at home is still a remote idea here in the Philippines, but wouldn't it be nice if we have that too? :)

7. Take some time to meditate and relax. Spending some alone time helps keep you focused on where to channel your energies. If things get overwhelming, take five minutes to sit back, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. If you had a productive week, spend some of your hard-earned money at the spa. Or get a pedicure at least. But most important of all, make it a priority to spend some leisure time with your husband and your kids. What better way to reward yourself for a job well done than one night out at the movies with the entire family or a sumptuous dinner in a special place with your significant other, right?

At the end of the day, there is not one solution to housewives' time management problems because we all have different needs and goals. The important thing is to develop your own time management style by which to face your responsibilities while maintaining your peace of mind and overall wellness. Just remember that you are the Queen of the house, not a maidservant. Enjoy!

Care to share your time management tips? Leave a comment! :)


Damiso Arrington said...

This post is awesome!!! One thing that many people have a difficult time with is balance. Time management helps with that tremendously! Good post!

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