Have you ever wished there was an extra hour in the day? We could put it to very good use, don’t you agree? Every mom’s day is filled with tasks to do, things to remember, and people to care for. So how do you know how to find more time in your day when you need it most?
You may need to add new things to your already-full to-do list. Whether it’s something urgent, something fun, or the much needed “mommy time”, it’s important to make room in your busy schedule to get the important things done.
“What do you do home all day?” Someone once asked me. Most stay at home moms will have so much to say in answer to this question, and so did I. But I was either too tired to reply with a list of things I do every day, or simply decided not to spend my much-needed energy on a longer sentence. So I only said, “I keep the children alive.”
But this question piqued my curiosity. Sure, I could whip out a whole list of things I did on a daily basis, but I wondered exactly how long I spent on every task and if I had any room for improvement.
I decided to find out for myself, so I started a time diary. Every time I did something, I wrote it down. From the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed, my whole day was written out with the tasks I did and the time it took to do them. I did this for a week, and the results were confirming in some places, and surprising in others.
Here is an easy, practical time management tip
Keep a time diary. Write down what you do each day and how long you do it for. Don’t miss anything, write down every little detail. This will open your eyes to things you may not have noticed before. Doing this for a week will give you a more clear perspective of patterns you may have, healthy or otherwise.
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Ok, you did it. Now what?
Review your findings
You may find recurring patterns of things that take up much more time than you realized. You may discover habits you didn’t know you had. You may also find little pockets of time that went unnoticed before now.
Make some decisions
When you take a look at the map of your day, you will have to make some decisions. Are all the things on your list worth the time you spend doing them? Do they belong on your list at all? Move things that don’t belong out, and bring in new things you want to add to your day.
Make use of the little pockets of time
Take a look at all the waiting you have to do. Whether it’s sitting at the doctor’s office, standing in a long check out line, waiting for the soccer practice to be over, or waiting for anyone or anything at any point of your day, what do you do?
Most people whip out their phone and go on social media. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a caveat. When you open up the app, it’s hard to keep true to what you planned on doing in the first place. How many of us went to check our profile for comments for a minute and found ourselves watching funny cat videos an hour later? I was guilty of that! I was mesmerized by these videos even before we had a cat. Which may explain why we have one now.
What if you made a conscious decision to do something else during that time? Check your email. Clean out the photos on your phone. Finally write that letter to Aunt Lucy. Little things that need our attention but don’t take too much time can be inserted into these little pockets of our day.
“But what about social media? My whole life is on it!” You may say. I get it. I’m not offering to close your accounts and fall off the face of the social media world. I’m not saying you shouldn’t check your feed once in a while. We can still use social media on a daily basis, but we can do this constructively.
So how do you do it?
Set a timer
It sounds so elementary, but it works. If you chose to use the nap hour to get on social media, give yourself a limit. Set a timer for 30 minutes, and once it’s off, you’re done. Close the app, and go do something else on your list.
Oh, the feeling of accomplishment you will feel after you realize that during the nap hour not only did you check your feed, but you also loaded the dishwasher, threw in a load of laundry, and took a quick shower.
Make room for mommy time
Now that you’ve moved some things out, add some “me time” into your schedule. It’s so important for moms to have this time to ourselves to rest and recharge. But we have to be careful about what we consider “me time”.
You may turn on the TV and put your feet up. Does it leave you rested and recharged? If it does, great, you have found an outlet. But what if it doesn’t? What if you do it out of habit, and doing this doesn’t leave you with the feeling of being ready to tackle the next hurdles of the day?
Do you check in on a virtual mom group regularly? Wonderful. How do you feel when you close that app or browser to move on with your daily tasks? Do you feel you helped or encouraged a fellow mom? Do you feel helped and encouraged? Or are you there for the drama? When was the last time drama left you relaxed and recharged?
Be honest with yourself
You have to be honest with yourself and be ready to give up something you do for “me time” if it doesn’t leave you rested. Replace it with something that recharges and inspires you. It may be a walk outside while listening to an uplifting podcast, or a mid-day bath (why not?) with your favorite book.
Make your day work for you
After you review your daily diary, ask yourself some questions and answer honestly. Then make some decisions, and stick to them. Make room for new things. Break old habits and make new ones.
Do this consistently and you will feel as if that much needed extra hour was finally added to your day. You will feel like you know the secret to how to find more time in your day.
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