12 time management tips for busy mums


Many mums I know struggle with all they have to get done.  Whether that being managing a career, business, family and household often all at the same time.   It can regularly feel like you are a juggler with many balls in the air all at once.  Does this sound at all like you at times or all of the time?

It doesn’t even seem to matter whether you have small or older children, the time pressures always seem to be there just the same.  Even as an organising expert I often say I’d just love another hour or two some days just to get something done.  Unfortunately though time is finite and this is not possible – what is however possible though is to ensure you manage the time you do have as effectively as you can.

Here are my 12 time management tips for busy mums to assist you with managing your time:

  1. Using the right diary/calendar that works for you and your family – tcalendar imagehis could be either a hard copy diary or an electronic diary.  By using a diary that all the family is across it will make it much easier to know what is on and when. It is important that when using a diary that you note everything in it and those other family members can also access and use it.  There are pros and cons to using either a hard copy or electronic diary but the important thing to keep in mind is whatever you use is that it works for everyone it needs too!
  2. Use to do lists – often as mums we have many different things on the go at once and sometimes think we will remember everything. Unfortunately our minds can only take so much and it is much easier on us mentally if we don’t try and retain it all.  It is much better to declutter your mind by keeping to do lists.  Again you might like to keep physical to do lists or have these electronically in a device or an App (there are many great Apps available today so check out and find something that suits you).  Useful to do lists include having different ones and you might like to consider breaking it down into daily, weekly and longer term projects.
  3. Take the time to plan – this is really important as by doing this you are more likely to save yourself time in the long run. I usually suggest to my clients that a Sunday night is a good time to prepare for the week ahead and even have a family meeting (doesn’t need to be long) with partners and older children in particular to ensure all activities are covered for the week ahead. This way no one can complain they didn’t know either!
  4. Prioritise – knowing your priorities is a vital step when it comes to time management. In particular it is worth taking the time like, in step 3, to plan so you know what things actually need to be done and what ones can actually wait.  One technique I often suggest is have 3 items on your daily list and if you get through them then you can add others but it can be useful to work out what the 3 things are that you must get done today.
  5. Don’t seek perfection – as mums one trap we can at times find ourselves in is trying to lead the so-called ‘perfect life’ and be seen to be in control of all those juggling balls. Often in seeking perfection we end up not being able to get the things we want to get done as we strive too hard for everything to be perfect rather than sometimes just saying it is good enough and it will do.It is important to again take the time to determine what you can live with and what is essential in your eyes and that of your family to get done i.e. can you live with the floors not being mopped every week or having all the beds made daily.  Please note there are no right and wrongs here and you need to determine what your essentials and non-essential things are.
  6. Seek help/outsource and delegate – sometimes we again try to do it all when really it can be useful to ask for help from time to time, particularly during times of illness or busyness. Don’t be afraid to ask, as you will be surprised that others are more than happy to assist you.  No doubt you will have the opportunity to repay the favor at times to assist them too.  Why not look at sharing drop offs and pick-ups with other mums for school or for after school activities.In terms of outsourcing and delegating there are no doubt some things that you actually don’t have to necessarily do yourself if you don’t have the time that can be outsourced or delegated to others including cleaning, walking the dog, doing the shopping and doing the laundry.image of a sign that says plan b
  7. Have a ‘plan B’ – it can be useful to think about having ‘plan B’s’ for those times or things you are trying to do that don’t actually work out the way you had planned. Sometimes it is useful to think of these prior to doing something rather than putting pressure on yourself to come up with options or ideas when you are really busy and time poor.  For example it can be useful to have a list of people you can contact if you get really stuck when you can’t leave work to pick up the children from daycare or school or your babysitter can’t make it as planned.
  8. Learn to say NO – this is something many of us as mums can struggle with. I know that I was very heavily involved in kindergarten, school and sporting clubs at one stage and fortunately I realised that I had to learn to say NO to some things as I just didn’t have the time to do it all.  It can be easy to over commit and volunteer our time before we actually even realise we are doing it!  Being aware of your time in terms of what you do and don’t have time for can be useful in learning to say NO.
  9. Start your day a bit earlier – this can be a really effective way of just gaining a bit of time to make your day simpler. Even just 5-15 minutes more can make all the difference sometimes and take the pressure off.  Give it a go and set the alarm a few minutes earlier tomorrow and see if it helps.
  10. Put everything in its place – a lot of disorganisation, clutter and overwhelm many of my clients experience is as a result of items/belongings not having a home or if they do not taking the time to put them away. Often this is how clutter piles up and what would have been a very quick task in putting something away now becomes a larger task that you don’t really have time to tackle.  An example of this is the laundry – when it is clean and dry take the 5-10 minutes to fold and put the clean items away rather than letting them pile up where you then add the next lot of clean clothes on top and then the pile just becomes bigger and more overwhelming.  It will really help by putting items away where they belong, as it will save you more time in the long run!image of bowls with pasta sauce
  11. Cook extra meals – this is something you don’t actually have to do specifically but rather when you make a meal like pasta sauce or something else why not just increase the quantity. This way you will create a few extra meals you can add to the freezer for those times when you either run out of time to buy supplies or to cook a meal.
  12. Prepare the night before – preparing the night before, by either working out what you need to do the following day or by putting out clothes or making lunches, will take the pressure off the next morning and make it a bit easier.  Try and get the whole family on board for this, as it is a useful habit to develop for everyone, particularly children!

Finally I’d like to highlight whilst your might be trying to do it all, please do remember you also need to factor in some ‘ME‘ time as well for your own sanity as well as that of everyone around you.  If you fall in a heap then quite often so does everyone else!

I trust some of these tips will assist you with the many juggling balls you no doubt have in the air all at once!  Maybe even just pick out a couple and give them a go – what have you got to lose!

If you would like to discuss any of these or think you might still require some assistance please do get in touch.

Time management skills are vital for our children and teens

The importance of children learning and developing time management skills at a young age cannot be under estimated. The earlier a child starts the more likely they will establish good foundations for time management that are useful not only at school but as teenagers and then throughout their lives.  Personally as an organising expert I believe that we should be teaching our children time management skills just like we teach them to read and write.  We often hear that the difference between successful and unsuccessful people can be their ability to manage time so we should also be ensuring our children and teens are effective time managers too.

The good news is if your child or teen isn’t a good time manager as yet then this skill can be taught and learned so you haven’t missed the boat so to speak.

So what is time management?Analogue Clock helps with time management

I regularly ask this question when I run workshops for students of all ages as it lays the foundation for the sessions.  The definition I use is quite simple – ‘it is the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively’ or in other words it’s about knowing how long something will take, sticking to a schedule and then making the most of the time you have to get done what you need to get done.

Your children have probably known how to tell the time since kindergarten or primary school.  This is great and is one important aspect of time management as it focuses on the present.  When I talk about time management thought it is not just about children or teen’s being able to read and tell the time.

In order for a child of any age to really understand time they need to understand time sense which is about being able to visualise it and unless they can they will not really learn how to manage it properly.   In other words in order to create a sense of time in our children they need to see time passing, understand what time is and know how long something will take.   It needs to be relatable so that they can understand and learn.

Younger children like the age of 2 and 3 like routines but usually live mostly in the present whereby their sense of time involves either the now or not now and they struggle to learn to wait.  For 5 & 6 year olds they start to develop a better understanding of the past, present and future.   This age group can anticipate events and starts to develop a grasp of what next week means compared to tomorrow and a long time ago.  7-10 year olds have developed the understanding of basic arithmetic which allows them to use clocks and calendars.  Then for older children and into their teens they build on all of these foundations and have more sense of the now and not now as well as how long something should take.

Why can learning time management be difficult?

As I previously said children and teens need to see time and these days that can be a challenge.  They are surrounded by digital media as well as digital clocks which can hinder the development of a their sense of time management.   Digital clocks don’t allow for children and teens to see that time has a beginning, middle and end.  These clocks show the ‘now’ time only.

The best way to teach this is to have analogue clocks in homes and schools so children can see time move.  They can then see not only the present time but the time elapsing and then the future time as well.  All of these are important to understanding and learning time management.  A colleague of mine in the US actually suggests having an analogue clock in every room that children spend time in to assist this process.  Many homes I go into these days may only have one or two analogue clocks.  Let me get you to have an think about how many you have in your home?

time timer helps with learning time managementAnother useful tool for teaching time management could be something like the time timer.  This is great for visual learners and helps make time real.  The time timer is similar to that of a clock however it is is numbered in one minute increments and counts down from 60-1.  The beauty of the time timer is it allows a child to see time passing and they can easily see the time that has elapsed and what time is remaining.

Remember it is important for your child to not only be able to tell the time but to understand time not only has a beginning but a middle and an end.  This will allow them to utilise the time that have better when they need to do so!

If you have a child that is struggling with time management and you are not sure what to do then get in touch (amanda@organisingyou.com.au) so we can start to rectify that right now.

Start 2016 more organised – 5 tips

At the start of every new year I usually have several calls from people who want to get more organised.  Does this sound like a goal of yours?  Personally I love the fact that this time of year people start talking about getting more organised.  Everyone has good intentions at the beginning of the New Year and its great if you are able to not only set yourself up and be more organised but then maintain it as the year goes on.  So do you want to start 2016 more organised?2016

One area of organisation is time and unfortunately this is not something we can buy more of so it is a matter of being organised and managing the time you do have.  Here are 5 tips to start 2016 more organised and manage your time better in the new year:

  1. Create a daily schedule – know what you have and when.  This is particularly important if you have a lot of different activities in your household.  I know I would be lost without my trusty old paper diary.  You might be more comfortable with an electronic diary and that is okay too as long as you are using something and not relying on your memory!  There are plenty of options available and when you decide what to use make sure you put in all the important dates that you have scheduled already.
  2. Schedule time  – Another tip is to schedule in your diary those tasks that you have been wanting to do but have yet to get around to.  By putting them in you are more likely to commit to them.
  3. Get better at saying no – it is great when we offer to help and do things for others but sometimes at what cost.  If you barely have enough time in the day now then this might be something you have to consider.  If you find this hard to do then start small with family and friends by saying no to little things.  Personally this has been a goal of mine for the past 12 months and I’m pleased to say I have one more volunteer project to complete then I’m having a break and focusing on myself, my family and business for awhile.
  4. Seek help from others – don’t try and do it all yourself.  It is okay to delegate to others and if you have other family members maybe it is a good time to teach them or ask them to help.  A simple one for me towards the end of 2015 was asking my husband to iron my sons school shirts as I was struggling to fit that in from time to time.  My next goal on this front is to teach my son to do it himself – wish me luck!
  5. Schedule in some down time – Often we feel stressed about time or lack of it if we don’t ensure we take a break.  It is important to schedule in time to relax so you can reset and focus once in awhile.  For me I like to ensure I get to the gym 3-4 times a week and it is one of my non-negotiable things as it helps me to stay on top even when I am really busy.

What are some ways that help you stay on top of your time?  Do you think any of these might assist you?

For more information or if you would like some assistance with organisation or time management in your life then please get in touch to see how I can assist you – amanda@organsingyou.com.au or give me a call on 0409 967 166.

Students and Time Management

This month I participated in this Students and Time Management – Professional Organisers Blog Carnival put together by one of my professional organising colleagues Janet Barclay based in the US.  

Click Here to read my BLOG about tips on setting up a homework environment that I contributed.  You can also read other BLOGS from student organisers around the world (mainly in the US) on students and time management.

Want to know more about students and time management then you can visit my other blogs on this subject by clicking here.