If you were to Google the words ‘time management’ you would find heaps of search results about time management relating to work. Yet time management isn’t only important in the business world. It’s important in all areas of our lives ... particularly for busy single mums.
Do you have days when you simply don’t know where to start? Or you try to do everything at the same time and end up doing nothing at all?
The spectrum upon which us single mothers live is huge. Our to-do list is wide-ranging. Forget simply organising the working day. We must be on top of our children’s schools, all over their homework, a step ahead of their activities, sport and social lives. With each day resolutely only allowing us 24 hours, we have to be the masters of time management.
However, it’s not always that easy. As the number of tasks increases and you find yourself getting more exhausted, it can be hard to think straight and take actions that will simplify, streamline and de-stress your life.
If you find yourself washing dishes at ten o’clock at night while you struggle to remember if you ate breakfast that morning, it could mean your time management skills are in need of some fine-tuning.
Here are our time management tips for busy single mums.
Get a diary, a calendar or an app
Get yourself tooled-up with something to record your tasks for each day. If you’re not into your devices then a simple wall calendar or diary will suffice. Best of all, try a reminder app for your phone. Wherever you are, it will notify you of what needs doing and when.
Plan, plan, plan
An often overlooked exercise, planning is essential in ensuring you make the very most out of every day.
You should even plan a time to plan!
Take ten minutes every evening to prepare for the following day. Run through the necessities and allocate them a time slot. Then work out what else you have time for and what can wait.
It’s a great opportunity to assign a time slot of ‘you time’. Even just 15 minutes for a cup of tea and to make that all-important self care happen.
Limit the 'yes' word
Single mothers are the masters of keeping everyone happy. Children, your boss, friends, family. Yet it is often at detriment to yourself.
Stop and think before you commit to a new activity for your children, or those extra hours your boss needs from you. And if a friend asks you to look after their child, consider whether it’s practical before saying ‘yes’. If you say it all the time, people come to expect it of you and may take you for granted.
Try saying ‘no’ occasionally and feel the pressure lift a little.
Expect the unexpected
It’s all very well making a plan, but you must be flexible. When kids are involved you can bet a high sum of money on your day spiralling out of control at some point.
Have a contingency plan by allowing a slot of free time at the end of each day. You can you use this to catch-up on anything important you didn’t have time for.
Or, if your day was a huge success and you got everything done, use the time to do something nice for yourself. Go on. You deserve it.
Prioritise for pole position
When planning, keep your priorities clear in your mind.
What is most important to you personally?
As a single mum, you’ll probably put your children at the top of the list, then maybe your work. Make sure your friends score a good spot and please don’t demote yourself to the bottom of the list.
If you priorities are well-defined, you will make quicker decisions and feel more satisfied at the end of each day
Outsource without guilt
Outsourcing is not just a phrase for businesses. It’s also handy in the multi-faceted single parent world.
If there’s a task you’re just no good at or simply don’t have time for, then consider outsourcing it.
For example, maybe you can’t sew. It takes you ages and the result is unsatisfactory. So if a school dress needs mending, get a professional to do it. It may cost a little but the time saved and choice swear words avoided, will make it totally worthwhile.
Think about what you can outsource and do it without guilt.
Work out your time-wasters
Think about any tasks that hamper your days and devise ways to streamline them.
For example, if you find yourself at the supermarket more than twice a week you could well be wasting your time. Plan your meals, write a list and do one big shop, or even better, change to online grocery shopping instead. You will find you save not only valuable time, but you’ll save money too.
Think about all your chores that take longer than they realistically should, and formulate simple time-saving variations. A good way to do this is to practice minimalism, and eliminate tasks and ‘things’ from your live that are not longer needed.
Time management on your device
As wonderful as computers, phones and tablets are, they are also incredible time-wasters. We are often unwittingly drawn towards them to waste a happy half-hour doing, well … nothing much.
Allocate times throughout the day to deal with emails, reply to texts and do anything web-related. If need-be, turn off your devices at certain times. I have been guilty of many over-cooked meals due to an enthusiastic text conversation at the wrong time! Don’t get sucked-in. Be strong!
Final words: Time management for single mums
Remember, time management is your superpower in the chaotic realm of single parenting. You are the conductor of this crazy symphony called Life, and you can dance to the beat of your own organised drum.
As you juggle work, household chores, and your little ones' demands, embracing the notion that you're not alone in this whirlwind adventure is crucial. Sometimes, when all else fails, you can find solace that even the greatest superheroes have their own messy capes and spilled milk incidents.
Now, go forth, fabulous single mums, armed with these time management tips and a sparkle in your eye.
Life may throw curveballs your way, but you have the power to knock them out of the park. Keep being the superhero your children look up to, and remember to give yourself a well-deserved break now and then.