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Time management

time management
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Having kids usually means an end to those lazy Sunday mornings lying in bed until midday planning how to spend all your free time. It is suddenly replaced with early rises, kids to feed and clothe and for working parents, the weekends are often the only time to do all the housework you don’t have time for in the week. This can often leave a parent stressed and frazzled which is why it’s important for time management to work efficiently.

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It’s all in the planning

You may think there aren’t enough hours in the day, but with a bit of careful planning you can cut the stress and use your time more wisely. Like with your day job, prioritise what needs to be done from those things requiring immediate attention, things that can wait till later in the week and those that are on-going or planned for the future. Look at what takes up most of your time and see if there are ways in which you could cut back. If you’re slaving over a hot stove for hours, consider cooking extra and saving it for the following day or store in the freezer for later in the week. Sandwiches freeze so make a batch up at the beginning of the week and then just get one out each day or as you need it.

Planning meals

Plan meals and ensure you have all the ingredients, if you know what you’re cooking it will save vital time browsing through cupboards looking for something to knock up or dashing to the shops at the last minute! You might want to consider having an on-going food inventory so you know when you’re running low on certain things and don’t waste time searching through the freezer or buying extra and online food shopping is great for working parents. Once you have placed your first order, most online supermarkets keep records or your previous items and so saves time the next time you’re shopping online. If you work near a supermarket you could always do your shopping in your lunch hour and save time dragging the kids round a supermarket on a busy Saturday morning.

Organise your home

Get your house organised, not just tidy, but organised. Have a filing cabinet or box where you can keep important documents such as car insurance, passports, bills etc. Make a rule that if anyone takes anything out, they always put it back. Have a set place in the home for kids to put their school bags or books and get them into the routine of putting them away as soon as they’re home, saving precious moments searching for stuff as you’re trying to get out the door in the morning! Baskets in each room are great for keeping kids toys, make sure everything is tidied away before bedtime and teach children to be responsible for their toys from a young age. You could have buckets for shoes that are colour coded for each person in the house or set up some hanging racks for each member making sure shoes, hats and coats go there and nowhere else. So much time is wasted looking for ‘lost’ items so give everything a home in the house.

time management

Use a calender

A family calendar either online or stuck up in a communal place is great for keeping you organised and communicating plans with other family members. Get kids to write down their activities too, whether it’s a friend coming over for tea, a school trip or weekly hobbies. Write down doctors appointments, when the cars MOT is due, when bills need paying etc. By getting everything written down in one place you’re less likely to forget important events and the whole family can see what’s happening during the week.

Share the load!

Don’t take on everything yourself! Get other family members involved and give everyone jobs in the house. Older kids might be able to load the dishwasher or run the hoover round when they get home from school and smaller kids might enjoy putting washing in the machine while you pack away the shopping. There’s always a job for them not matter how big or small. Sit down with a list of all the chores you do each week and see which ones they want to take on. Teaching them to have responsibilities in the home is a valuable lesson for the future and once everyone knows their roles, chores in the home will soon run much smoother.

You can look to multitask wherever possible too. Do the ironing while catching up on your soaps, or fold the laundry while you’re waiting for dinner to cook. Cleaning the bathroom while your younger kids are in the bath is a great way of getting a boring job done while you would have to be in there supervising your child anyway.

time management

Sort out the bills

Set up direct debits for bills and use internet banking for ease. You can transfer money from accounts in the click of a button, pay bills, set up standing orders and keep track of finances much better. If you have some important bill to pay or query that needs addressing, have the paperwork on you and use a break at work to resolve it instead of waiting until you’re home when you’re more likely to forget or the offices are closed.

If you find yourself sat in the car waiting to pick the kids up, then this could be a great time to catch up on bills or organising your diary. Have an inbuilt hands free kit in your car to enable you to make important calls on the move and always carry your diary or have your calendar available on your smartphone so if you need to makes plans when you’re out and about, you don’t have to worry about double booking.

Use your energy wisely

Think about when you have the most energy; if you’re a morning person, get up earlier so you can get ready without worrying about the kids, or use the time to clean the kitchen before it’s ransacked again during breakfast! If you’re more of a night owl, get the kids to bed on time and then do all the jobs that are easier to do with a bit of peace and quiet. You might be flagging after a hard day at work so high energy music is great to keep energy levels up  – blast it out if you have the house to yourself, or get your iPod on and block out the world while you’re whizzing through the house with your polish and duster.

It is hard effectively having two full time jobs so make sure everyone pulls their weight in the home. With a little more careful planning, shrewd organisational skills and time management, you will soon start to claw back those precious hours and may even make time for a nice relaxing bath!

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About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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