4 Quick Time-Management Tips for Crunched Working Mums
To say that everyone is busy these days is an understatement—but if you’re a working mum, chances are you left “busy” in the rearview mirror as you drove home from the hospital after having your first child. I can relate. I raised two children while working my way up the corporate ladder in the hectic and demanding field of Nursing and Healthcare Administration, so I know just how elusive and valuable spare time can be.
The good news is that even the busiest mum can carve out pockets of breathing room from even the craziest day. Whether you use it to work, to care for others or to care for yourself (and I suggest the latter), so much can be achieved in those “hot minutes.” While little blocks of “bonus time” are helpful for everyone, working mothers know how to really make them count—even a 15-minute window can feel like an hour’s worth of potential.
But I don’t have to tell you that. If you’re like most working mums, your life is most likely choreographed down to the minute. Let me assure you, though, that there are ways to take the fine art of doing more with less time to the next level. Here are my tips.
1. Spend enough time sleeping. If you do nothing else, prioritize your sleep needs so you can thrive. You’ll drag all day and ultimately waste time if you’re under-rested. Schedule sleep like any other activity and go to bed at bedtime so you can function the next day. (And enforce your kids’ bedtimes too. It’s good for them and for you.)
2. Establish sane work hours. Before you commit to taking a new role, validate alignment of expectations for your work hours with your potential employer. Life commitments and job projects will ebb and flow, so be sure to check in periodically to make sure that expectations have not changed. That way, if your boss typically calls or emails after hours, you can decide whether you’re available or not. Many working mothers reserve nights and weekends exclusively for family.
3. Embrace the power of “No.” You don’t have to attend every PTA meeting, chaperone all field trips or take on additional work projects. Saying no can be tough, but it is a skill that frees up time you wouldn’t otherwise have access to. Further, watching you enforce limits teaches your kids the value of setting boundaries.
4. Set attainable daily goals. A to-do list is useless if it’s too ambitious. What’s the point of writing down unachievable tasks? We’re not superheroes and shouldn’t try to be. Make your daily goals realistic enough to complete. Remember, you can always do more if you have the time.