How I Manage Our Precious Time


One of my biggest time management strategies is to just say no. I try not to take on or get involved in things that aren’t a part of our family’s goals. Doing God’s will and helping others is part of our family’s goal, but saying yes to every play group or homeschool opportunity (no matter how wonderful they may be) can get us so overbooked and stressed, that we just don’t have time for things that are the most important in our lives (homeschool or other).

I set boundaries and priorities to better manage my time. For starters, after God, my husband is my first priority. That means that I do hold sacred my little time that I have with him in the evenings. As a result, I try to run errands that I can during the day instead of waiting until he gets home at night. It certainly is easier to go grocery shopping without the kids, but not at the cost of time with my husband. Furthermore, I believe children can learn a lot from the errands in life that we run. Each errand can be a learning opportunity if we use it wisely. There are many ways to make use of our driving and waiting time. I try to make the most of it, so I have more time when I’m at home to do the things that I can’t when I’m out and about.

My second priority is my children. This means that I often have to say no to moms’ groups, or homeschool co-ops, or playdates. Are these things really what’s best for my children? They can be fun and great opportunities, but at what cost? They just aren’t worth doing if we get so busy that we get stressed and crabby or don’t have time for schoolwork. I refuse to go out of the house every day of the week. My goal is to run errands one weekday a week, and an educational field trip once a month. I incorporate this into our school schedule at the beginning of the year. I try to stay home the rest of the time to allow me to maximize my time.

I manage my time according to these top two priorities. I’m big on schedules and plans. They help me manage my time so that I don’t over or under use my time for important and unimportant things. I set limits on things that can easily consume more time than I want them too. The following is a list of how I have applied some of my above time management principles:

Habits

  • I teach my children to obey me the first time I tell them something.
  • I teach my children to do for themselves the things of which they are capable.
  • All members of our household (two years old and older) have chores.
  • I do not turn on the TV during the day.
  • I try to keep my phone conversations short (sometimes I don’t answer the phone at all and just let the machine get it).
  • I try to keep my house organized and uncluttered, so that I can easily find things and put things away faster. 

Schedules

  • I use a meal plan.
  • I go grocery shopping once a week.
  • I use a daily school subject schedule. It contains what needs to be done in which subject for which kid and how often.
  • I have a chore schedule (for myself and my children).
  • I do laundry on Mondays and Thursdays.
  • I work on projects on Thursdays.
  • I clean the house on Fridays.

Limits

  • I limit myself to checking my email once a day.
  • I limit myself to checking my facebook once a week.
  • I limit my hobbies like scrapbooking and genealogy to Sundays.
  • I run errands and try to schedule appointments for first thing in the morning on the day that I go grocery shopping.

This is obviously not a complete list, but I hope that you will find some of my strategies helpful.

What tips do you use to manage your time?

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