Finding time management techniques that you can apply to your household on a consistent basis is not difficult. The trick is to keep it simple, and use those techniques that make sense to you. The most brilliant ideas may work well for the mom next door, but they could be a disaster for your home. Here are four simple ideas that might be a good fit for your household:
Technique #1 - Consolidate Errands
You can't afford to run around town completing errands when you're working from home and managing a family. Choose one or two days at most per week for shopping and running other errands. It's possible to pick one day a week, like Wednesday, each week. However, on days when you've scheduled a doctor's or other appointment, then you should adjust your routine to take care of errands on those days.
Technique #2 - Keep One Calendar
Every family member's appointments, events or due dates for projects should be kept on a centralized calendar that's visible for all to see. If you try to separate it, you'll end up with conflicting appointments or close calls. You can still teach your older children to keep their own calendar, but insist that they first write everything down on the family calendar. You should also include business activities as well, such as client meetings. If you prefer to use a software program to track everything, then print it out weekly and as often as you make changes. Keep the schedule you print posted for everyone to see.
Technique #3 - Assign Chores
You could do it all, but your children won't learn much about responsibility and stewardship if you do. It's better to assign chores to them and it's one of those time management techniques that will reap physical and spiritual rewards. You can find sample chore lists according to age groups online, and you can add to or change chores on the list, or create your own. It takes time to train your children to do chores, but once you do it, you can act as an inspector. The time you save doing the chores yourself could be spent working on the business or on other household duties.
Technique #4 - Pick Themes for Blocks of Time
Few work-at-home moms can actually plan their day by the minute. There's so much going on a daily basis, and it may seem as if there's always a fire to put out. While it's one of those time management techniques that might work well for those holding down a 9 to 5 job, it's not often the best way to manage your time at home. The alternative is to pick themes for blocks of time. For example, you can separate your day into morning, afternoon and evening, or in three to four block segments. Choose a theme for each block of time, such as work, home schooling and family time. Categorize your to-do list according to the theme, and work on to-do items at the assigned block of time.
It's important to try one or more of these time management techniques for at least 30 days to gauge whether or not they will work for you. Don't choose any that doesn't fit your lifestyle, because you'll only waste time trying to implement it.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business.