Where Did the Days Go!?

Time management for moms.

Ever notice the Mom who seems to have it all together? Her appearance is impeccable. Her home is immaculate. She has a sense of direction all the while she is chairperson to this organization, president of that organization, car pooling children to and from special activities, working a full time job, and entertaining at least once a month. What does she have that you don’t? The ability to manage her time wisely and efficiently. Learning to make the best of the time we have means learning time management skills. The everyday load of work and children, housework, social events and a spouse can become overwhelming to any mother these days. If you don’t have time for yourself, you will put yourself on a path of frustration. Take a look at these tips and make every minute of every day work for you.

Getting Organized:

  • From this moment on— think organization.
  • Make ‘putting things away’ your new motto.
  • Get a monthly calendar, or print one out from www.printfree.com. You will be referring to this calendar on a regular basis.
  • Make a note of all appointments, birthdays, anniversaries and any other special occasion. You can get started on this during times when you have to wait for something, such as doctor appointments or waiting in line somewhere.
  • Buy birthday cards in advance.
  • Buy enough stamps to last for a couple of months. This will save extra trips to the post office.
  • Run errands either on your way to or from work. Making special trips out just to drop off the dry cleaning is a waste of precious time.
  • Plan a weekly menu. Shop according to the menu.

In the Kitchen:

  • Cook a double dinner every night this week. Dinners for next week will be frozen and labeled in the freezer. This is a big time saver especially if you have activities or sports events for the kids.
  • Make a large salad once a week and store in an air tight container or zip lock bag. Salads will be ready for dinner.
  • When preparing a meal, clean as you go. If you wait until the end of the meal to get started with the cleaning, you’ll be cleaning right into your free time for yourself.
  • Put laundry in the washer while preparing dinner, fold while watching a movie with the kids
  • Delegate some chores to your children. Children love the feeling of helping Mommy and Daddy. For example, let your kids put away the bath towels.
  • If you do laundry just once a week, try breaking it down into loads every other day. Smaller amounts of laundry to fold and put away saves time and ensures the laundry is done.

General Cleaning Tips and Routines:

Cleaning the house can be a huge chore if you haven’t been able to keep on top of things in the past. The best way to get started on this massive job is to start small and build up to a nice, clean and organized home.

Specializing in peak time and space management, Maria Garcia, author of Finally Organized, Finally Free (Blue Moon Publishing), has over 15 years of organizational experience. Her broad range of skills covers clutter control, planning, scheduling, peak productivity, records management, space planning, time and paper management, filing systems and computer oriented organizational systems and more. She says, “Disorganization can actually ‘trap’ you into living a life filled with stress, frustration and chaos. It can rob you of the precious time you should be spending enjoying your life.”

It’s not impossible to have a spotless home everyday. Here are some ideas and tips to get you started.

  • Get a simple, inexpensive kitchen timer before you start cleaning.
  • Set the timer for five or ten minutes before you start on any room. It’s amazing how much you can actually get done in a short period of time if you focus on a particular area.
  • In the beginning, clean one room a day. If you have six rooms in your home, spend five or ten minutes in a different room for six days.
  • During your timed minutes, start this way: Pick up anything that isn’t in it’s proper place. After learning to put things away, you will be able to skip this step.
  • Clean or dust all surfaces, if in the kitchen wipe off all counter tops. If in the bedroom, dust dressers, night stands and desks. This allows for the dirt and dust to fall to the floor before you do the floors
  • To save time, be sure to have all cleaning supplies at your finger tips.
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop floors.
  • Keep a spray bottle of glass cleaner in the bathroom. Teach your children to wipe out the sink and clean the mirror after they use them.
  • Put extra garbage bags in all trash cans, when you empty the cans just grab the bag and go. The replacement bag is already there, no need to run all over the house looking for a bag.

“By overcoming disorganization you can be set “free” to live the kind of life you’ve always dreamed of,” says Garcia.

Before you turn in, make a list of things you need to get done the next day. If your list turns out to be extremely long, cross off anything that isn’t important to you.

  • Set your table for breakfast the night before. Put all items used to make lunches in the same drawer or shelf in the refrigerator. Better yet, make the lunches the night before.
  • Lay out clothing for your children in the evening. Rushing around in the morning can be stressful. In order get things done quick, do half of it in the evening.

We all are given the same amount of time in each day. It’s what you do with your allotted time that really counts. Your home doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be happy. From this moment on, think organization and free up some time for yourself. There is nothing more important than having the time you want to spend with your children.