Time management is a hilarious joke among moms, especially moms who work. Juggling a job, your kids and your spouse, all while somehow maintaining a social life is almost impossible.
Don’t worry, though: It’s not just you. We all feel like we’re struggling to stay ahead. With all of the juggling we have to do, sometimes a convenient, no-mess way to manage our time just doesn’t cut it. Here are some time management tips that work for real working moms.
- Work Out When You Can
Let’s face it. You are going to hit the snooze button on your alarm more than once before you finally roll out of bed. You tell yourself every night that tomorrow will be the day you wake up on time. Just accept that it’s never going to happen. You are definitely not going to squeeze in that 30-minute workout that everyone recommends you complete every morning.
Instead, work out in unexpected ways. Chasing your toddler around a house for ten minutes totally counts as a workout. Log that in your fitness app!
- Allow Yourself Little Breaks
More than likely you won’t be able to focus for more than 20 minutes on a project. At work, you are probably thinking about your grocery list or something you need to do with your kids. At home, you are probably thinking about deadlines at work.
Don’t sit there and force yourself to concentrate. Take a break from what you’re doing and write down whatever you’re thinking about.
- Find Some “Me” Time
“Me” time? What is “me” time to a mom? If you aren’t waking up early than you certainly aren’t staying up late to fit a little pleasure reading into your schedule. Find it somewhere in the middle of your day, even if the only place you get some peace and quiet is on your commute to work.
- Develop a Routine
Your routine may be packing lunches, throwing breakfast in the general direction of your children and rushing out the door. If it works for you, why stop a good thing? We all know that a planned, minute-by-minute schedule is going out the door as soon as your toddler decides to flush a toy down the toilet.
- Always Plan to Arrive 30 Minutes Early
The secret to arriving to a certain place on time is planning to fail. Just assume you’re going to late and plan to be there thirty minutes early. This way, you might actually arrive on time. If the stars align and you happen to arrive thirty minutes early, you’ve got your “me” time for the day!
- Speed Clean
Set a timer for 15 minutes and do as much as you possibly can. You could count speed cleaning as your workout, too, since you’ll probably be running up and down the stairs several times. If you can’t squeeze in 15 minutes of cleaning, throw some old socks on your kids’ feet and have them slide around the kitchen floor. That counts, right?
- Say No
Stop saying “yes” to everyone and practice saying “no” instead. Say no to things you feel obligated to do and just do the things you enjoy doing. You should have plenty of experience with the word “no” if you’re a mom. Start using it to your advantage!
- Dress to Succeed
If you dress to succeed you’ll feel more productive. Pull something nice out of your closet the night before work and save a little bit of extra time in the morning. Of course, if your version of success is Netflix and a glass of wine, yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt make the perfect outfit!
- Get Off Social Media
We all know that social media is a time sucker. You check Facebook and before you know it, half an hour has passed and you’ve accomplished nothing. Limit your time checking your social accounts and you’re sure to get a lot more done! Plus, staying off your phone is so much easier when a child is constantly trying to pull it out of your hands.
- Realize You Can’t Do It All
Give yourself a little grace and realize your kids will wreak havoc some days, you’ll show up to work late and you probably won’t always pack the healthiest of lunches. It’s OK, because everyone is trying to balance their lives, too.
Time management isn’t easy when you’re a working mom. Make the most of the time you have, at work and with your kids!
Jennifer Landis is a writer, blogger, foodie, yogi, runner, and mama. She tries really hard to live a balanced life – which sometimes equates to running six miles then eating a bowl of mac and cheese. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis .