Time is precious. Time becomes even more precious when it seems as if you have fewer hours in the day to get things done! Between chauffeuring kids to school, attending sports practices, chasing around toddlers, and trying to keep the house from looking like a battlefield, it seems parents have a never-ending to-do list.
Productivity takes on a new meaning when you are limited as to how much free time you have in a day, so we rounded up 10 tips to help parents make the most of their time.
From making to-do lists to encouraging your kids to help (really help) get things done, these ideas will have you back being productive in no time!
10 Be Realistic When Making Plans
Is there anything worse than making plans or a to-do list only to not complete it? Making unrealistic plans or goals for yourself can lead to feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, and downright stressed out! So skip these negative feelings and only make realistic plans for you and your family.
If you get off work at 6:00 p.m., maybe think twice about having a playdate at 6:30 p.m. to avoid having to cancel. This same logic applies to other times when you know you'll be tired or simply too busy to cram your entire to-do list into one day.
9 Use A Household Planner
This can be a life-changer! Not only is it a simple way to track your day-to-day appointments, but also allows you to see how they fit in with your family members' plans.
It provides a visual way to organize your dentist appointment around your child's weekly tutoring sessions, or allows you to make plans with your spouse that doesn't conflict with a school event. It not only helps you lead a more productive life (without having to cancel things!), but can also help reduce some stress when it's time to make plans.
8 Take Time To Do Nothing
Ah, alone time! It can be hard to get sufficient time alone when you're a parent, but it's so important. Kick off your shoes, sit down with a cup of coffee, and simply enjoy the present. You don't need to worry about what to make for dinner just yet, or driving to the store to get science project materials- simply unwind for a few minutes.
This time to do "nothing" can help keep you from becoming overworked and overwhelmed, which typically leads to people not being very productive at all. So, taking time to do nothing once in a while can actually help your productivity.
7 Set A Timer
One simple and straightforward way to make sure you're being productive is to time yourself. Need to run to the bank or store? Set a timer for when you start getting ready to leave. How long does it take? Realistically, it shouldn't take too long to get dressed and head out the door, but most parents know it's not as simple as that.
Maybe you're spending 30 minutes or even an hour just trying to get out the door to run errands. As parents, it's very possible this is the case. Or maybe it's taking you an hour to do dishes thanks to disruptions from little ones. Obviously, these tasks can be completed in shorter times by being more productive. If disruptions are the case, set your kids up with something to do before you try to tackle those dishes. You may even work faster knowing there's a timer going!
6 Get Your Kids Involved
Getting things done may be a bit harder when the house is full of kids, so get them involved! Instead of having them run around causing distractions, let them know your plans. Organizing a closet? Have them help you pick which things to keep and which to get rid of. Cleaning up the backyard? Take them shopping and let them pick out some new flowers. Not only is this a great way to keep your kids productive, but it's also a fun bonding time as you both knock off some to-do list items!
5 Start With The Small Goals
Maybe your overall goal is to organize your pantry, but you have to start somewhere. So make a list of things you will need to help organize and go shopping! Starting with a small goal will give you the motivation you need to keep going until the whole task is complete.
Whether it be shopping for storage containers, sorting through outgrown toys, or simply taking a bag of clothes to donate, getting a small start can lead to big things happening! If you only look at the big goal, you may never get started.
4 Work Around Your Kid's Schedule
While parents may have to work while their children are at school, there are other times when you can work around their schedule. School-aged kids may have sports practices, tutoring, or go to a friend's house for a few hours. These are perfect times to try to get as much done as you can, especially those to-do items that are more difficult with kids around.
3 Delegate Tasks To Your Family
There's no reason one person needs to be doing it all! Instead of creating overwhelming to-do lists for yourself, hand off some of the tasks to your family. This can be done in a fun way, too. Write various tasks on slips of paper and have your kids pull them from a jar to see what they need to do that day.
Or create a chart so everyone has a turn completing chores. Either way, knowing you do not have to complete every single task can lighten your load both literally and mentally.
2 Realize It's Okay To Not Be Perfect
Throw perfectionism out the window! If you're striving to finish your list in just the perfect way, you may never be satisfied. Aiming for perfection will hinder your productivity as you put all of your focus on one task. So, instead, aim to finish the task and go back later if you have time to make adjustments. Accepting you don't have to do a perfect job each time will really help reduce stress and increase productivity!
1 Make Short To-Do Lists
A to-do list with 20 items is intimidating! So shorten that list to just a few things you can realistically get done. There's no need to have a daily to-do list with more tasks then you can get done with the time you have, which only leads to feelings of stress and being overwhelmed. As mentioned earlier, these feelings can actually decrease productivity as you take one look at your never ending to-do and decide it can wait another day.