Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? As a working parent, there’s a temptation to feel guilty about not having as much time with your kids as you would like to. The best way to ease that pang of guilt is to be intentional about the time we do have. If we manage our time well, it can result in more quality time with our kids during the week. Whether you are super organized or have no idea where to start, here are five time management tips for working parents.
1. Find Support
It can be hard to ask for help but allowing others to help you is one of the best ways to make the most of your time. Relational support and practical support will give you the encouragement you need and help you realize that you’re not alone. For relational support, seek out mom or dad groups, church groups, and your family for help and conversation. For more practical support, look for opportunities to simplify or delegate your daily or weekly tasks. Set things up so that they don’t all rely on you. For example, have your diapers delivered monthly from Amazon Prime or have your groceries delivered to your doorstep. Delegation and automation are both great time management tips for working parents.
2. Track Everything
Self-awareness is key when it comes to being more efficient. With technology being such a distraction, it’s easy to be on auto-pilot and allow the hours to slip away from us. If you feel that organization and time management are your weaknesses, this is a great step towards gaining control. Just knowing where your time goes makes you intentional with everything you do. Get a planner to track what actually gets done each day. Over time, you will learn what blocks of time are best for certain tasks and set yourself up for a more realistic plan.
3. Create a Plan
They say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. The truth behind that is real because a plan will set you up for success. Plan ahead on tasks, food routines, and laundry. Instead of planning only for yourself, try including the entire family. When kids have clear expectations and personal responsibilities, it can help them develop life skills. First, figure out your family’s priorities and assign chores. Then, look ahead to tasks that need to be done immediately, during the week, or are more long-term. This will help keep the priorities as priorities and assure there is time for everything to be done.
4. Schedule Family Time
The thing about to-do lists is that they never end. If we have the mindset that we will catch up on family time or date nights when our tasks are finished, then it will never happen. Two ways to protect these relationships are to make them a priority and to schedule them into your calendar. Then say “no” to anything else that comes up during that time slot. When you’re having quality time with your kids or your spouse, it’s also important to stay off your phone. The emails and text messages can wait. The most important thing at that time is being present with your family.
5. Take Time to Rest
Not only is rest physically necessary, but it’s also Biblical. Making time for Sabbath is essential. You might pride yourself in not “needing” anything but, without any you time, you will risk not being helpful for anyone. This is perhaps the most important of all the time management tips for working parents. No matter how perfect your planning and support is, if you are depleted, you will end up less productive and less organized as a result. Also, taking time to rest sets an example for your children to value themselves as well.
These are just a few of our best time management tips for working parents. If you’ve realized you need to make some changes, don’t be discouraged. Time management takes practice but it is worth it. The million and one tasks that come your way can’t stop you now. Lose the guilt and enjoy those precious minutes with your family.