Talking about time management always makes me think about big corporations. It’s absurd of course. Since we learned how the clocks work, we are aware of the time distribution. Every second-grader knows ten minutes for math homework, twenty for reading, fifteen minutes for a passionate monodrama being glued to the bathroom door when mom wants to take a shower.
But even though the subject applies to everybody, the execution is way different in certain groups of individuals.
Momming and time management?
Here’s a newsflash. You are not some high executive in a big corporation (unless you are.. oops!). You are the queen of your castle but still – different rules apply. Warren Buffett probably has not a lot in common with you. My point? Leave all the 18 minutes, Pomodoros and Paretos to the students and business people. These are all great theories and technics, but you know what? When mom-life happens, I want to take this tomato timer and throw it through the window. Closed preferably. For better sound effects.
What you need is a system that works for YOU and created by YOU because nobody knows better. I will give you some real-life truths and tips. Ready?
Related Post: Balance in Mom’s Life – is that a joke?
How much time do you even have?
A couple of months ago I attended a conference for Women in Leadership. One of the speakers showed the audience how we are under impression that we have a lot of time during the week. She showed something similar to my graphic below.
Here is how our calendars show us a number of hours in a week:
And here is the reality – how many of these hour-slots people spend on working:
Please notice, that she was making that visualization to the crowd of ladies working 9 to 5 about time management during a workday. That left me with a question about moms’ time administration.
Since it’s impossible to do a simulation for all moms, I’ll stick to my situation. My calendar would look more or less like that.
[Word of explanation – I didn’t add here my actual work hours because they are very irregular. I treated myself as a stay at home mom. So, the hours that are left white are the hours I actually can do something. It’s the time when I am not needed as the only active adult around my kids. Does it make sense?]
Under this post, you can grab a fillable schedule to help you analyze your own time situation!
For multitasking, you need a balance of the juggler.
Now of course – mothers are known as the experts in multitasking. And I do agree. Nobody else can prepare dinner with one hand, carrying a baby in the other, having an eye on playing nearby toddler, and at the same time having a how-was-at-school conversation with a teenager.
Mammas – you are awesome!! You should tell this to yourselves every single day. Even better, you should be told this by others.
Unfortunately, there is a “BUT”.
We multitask because we have to, but people are not made to do that. Simple example. What do you do in the car, when you are getting near to the complicated crossroad you’ve never been to before? Do you turn down the music? Of course, you do. Because your brain has enough stuff to do. Distractions won’t help.
There is a cost connected to switching our attention from task to task (check context switching if you are interested in the subject). Yes, it’s inevitable for us, moms, but we need to be aware that it’s not for free. When you can focus on one task – do that, you’ll finish it sooner than if you do multiple stuff at once.
You are probably aware now that you have no time to do stuff and that what you are able to do, shouldn’t be done at the same time because it’s only the illusion of making things faster. Depressing a bit?!
Don’t worry! It doesn’t matter that much. You survived somehow to this day, right? We are all under Pinterest stress – we want picture-perfect life. If you think you need help, what you need is a system.
Read part 2 of this article – How to create your system!
4 thoughts on “Time management – Mommy Style – PART 1”
This is a great point. Until you sit down and really know what time you have to work with, you can’t effectively budget it.
Exactly! Thank you, Shantell!
It took me a while to realize how my time had shifted. I now have to be purposeful with my time. I also had to redefine what it meant to be productive. Keep the baby fed and happy is a big, accomplishment!
Definitely, as a new mom, “baby fed and happy” is all you need to focus on. Maybe add a bit of “mommy fed and happy” 🙂