10 Time Management Strategies To Balance Your Life As A Mom Boss
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I am grateful for this guest post by fellow mompreneur Francesca Balestrazzi. She will help us with productivity during these times.
Every day we are faced with the negative effects of the Quarantine on how we live, work/learn, and play. While we are probably all aware of these, there are many benefits we tend to overlook, one of these being the unique opportunity that we have to experience new things and make the impossible possible.
I am going to give you an example. Before Covid-19, if anyone had asked me if it is possible to run a business and homeschool the kids at the same time, my answer would have been a firm no. I’m not going to lie. After being stuck home with the kids 24/7 for over 35 days….I have lost count of the days…I have realized that what seemed a crazy idea is actually doable. Not ideal…at least not for me…but doable.
How can we handle homeschooling on top of all of our other responsibilities? As mom bosses, we are used to living whirlwind lives and juggling multiple balls. Now more than ever, time management is of key importance to successfully keep all the balls in the air, make things as joyful as possible, and have a healthy balance in order to live our life well.
Here are my top 10 essential time management tips to simultaneously run a family, a house, a business, and a life:
1. Start the day the night before
Finish each day writing down the 3 or 4 tasks you want to get done the following day. This way there’s no guesswork as to what I will be doing when I sit down to work the next day.
Identify the most productive hours of the day
Different types of work require different levels of energetic output. I do the Most Important Tasks (MITs) when I feel the most alive, energized, creative, optimistic, and enthusiastic. On the other hand, I keep routine, unimportant, and less complex tasks for when I am not as focused and I feel sleepy.
2. Block my time
Instead of writing a list of tasks that take as long as it takes to complete, I choose when I do these tasks. For each day I have a concrete schedule that lays out what I will work on and when. I used to schedule my entire day back to back. Then when one goal took longer to complete than I thought it would, I became discouraged. Now I keep my list short, identify my MITs (most important things) and allow time for extra work.
Related post: 10 tips to improve productivity
3. Overcome procrastination
When I know that I’m not doing what I need to do, I adopt the 5-minute rule. I identify what I need to do for that task, set a timer and commit to working on that task for 5 minutes, When the timer goes off, I continue for as long as I wish, or I stop and get back to that task later.
4. Stop multitasking
If you think we are being efficient by multitasking, think again. I find it pretty difficult to do more than one thing at one time. Instead, I focus on what I am doing, get it done, and move on to the next thing
5. Use the 2-minute rule
this is very easy. if something can be done in 2 minutes or less, I go ahead and do it now. For example, if I receive an email and I know it will take less than 2 minutes for me to answer it, I will do it and get it out of my inbox. Otherwise, I don’t even open it.
6. Manage distractions – I set up a healthy work environment,
turn off notifications, silence my phone, limit social media use unless I am using it to grow my business. I have also established an official “working hours” so my family respects my working time and I don’t get pulled into household obligations.
Avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks by being prepared. Check out this selection of nutritious, freeze-dried snacks.
7. Create an email schedule.
I stopped spending too much time in “reactive mode” and use a system when I check my email three times a day: once in the morning, once at lunchtime, and again in the evening. When my allotted time is up, I close my email down.
8. Use the Pomodoro technique:
- #1: Choose a task
- #2: Set the Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes
- #3: Work on the task until the timer rings. (If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.)
- #4: Take a 3-5 minutes break,
- #5: Go back to work
- #6: After four pomodoros, take a 15–30-minute break
Related post: Habits to increase your productivity
9. Make waiting time meaningful
Waiting in lines, at the post’s office, in the car to pick someone up…waiting time feels like waste time. We are not doing anything like this right now but even at home, we can have waiting time. For example, my kids have several virtual classes that they need to attend during the day. While these sessions give us a break from our home learning routine, they are too short for me to do my work. Instead of scrolling through social media without a real purpose, I’ve been using this time to read a book that I have been trying to finish for weeks.
10. Batch tasks
I go through my personal and work-related MITs, group them by the skill or concentration needed to complete the task (i.e. creative, analytical, administrative, social, etc) and group similar tasks during a dedicated time period, for certain tasks even a day (i.e. administrative tasks are on Fridays).
Time is gold. We all have 24-hours in a day. How can we have the right amount of time to take care of our family, business, and ourselves? The answer is not getting more and more hours but managing our habits, actions and distractions. It is hard to implement all these tips and techniques at the beginning. Start by using two or three of them. In time, you can incorporate more of all of them.
About the author – Francesca Balestrazzi
Francesca is a brand strategist, publicity expert and a mom boss. As the Founder and Chief Dots Connector of Polkadots Connect (www.polkadotsconnect.com), she is dedicated to helping solopreneurs, small and medium business owners create brands people know, trust and love. She is also the creator of Polkadots Box (www.polkadotsbox.com), the first subscription box for mom bosses to help them balance motherhood and entrepreneurship. You can contact Francesca at firstname.lastname@example.org.