Time management tools are necessary for the work-at-home mom. You have too many balls to juggle in the air, and you can't afford to drop any. There are only 24 hours in a day, and you have to fit in a family life and work life to the best of your ability. If you dread time management, perhaps it's because you don't have the right tools that match your personality and lifestyle. Consider one of these tools to add to your daily routine:
Tool #1 - Erasable Planning Board
You're probably the keeper of your family schedule, and the worse approach to take is to keep separate schedules for each member of the family. The best approach is to use time management tools that consolidate all schedules into one. An erasable planning board is an inexpensive tool that does a great job. Everyone in the family can see family events, the days of the week when mom is especially busy, tasks that need to be completed and any other information you want to add. A white board with days of the week and blocks of time printed on them works best, or you can design your own using a blank white board.
Tool #2 - Computer Based To-Do Lists
If you have Microsoft Outlook or a similar program on your computer, then you already have software that you can use to create and modify to-do lists. It's a step up from using a Word Processor, and it's better than losing sheets of notebook paper with your lists written on it. The advantages to using software to create lists are that you can do things like:
- Make a task a recurring one
- Easily modify the completion date
- Email lists to yourself or others
- Archive your list in the program so that it's stored on your computer
- Categorize tasks
You can also find free to-do list software online if a program is not already installed on your computer.
Tool #3 - Legal Pads
Legal pads may be old fashion, but they are still effective. It's one of those time management tools that never lose its value. The best use of a legal pad is to jot down ideas as they come to you throughout the day. Rather than leaving the task you're working on to explore ideas that come to mind, you can simply jot them on your pad to return to later when you have free time. You can also use it to jot down to-do items that you'll transfer to your software program at a later time.
Tool #4 - Personal Digital Assistant
A personal digital assistant (PDA) can benefit you as a work-at-home mom the most during those items when you're outside of the home. For example, you can synchronize your PDA to your computer and download your to-do list, appointment schedule and more to take with you while you're out. You can add to it and then send the data back to your computer when you return. Some PDAs are able to download emails and ebooks, which you can read while waiting for an appointment. If you've been hesitant about using one because you're home most of the time, consider whether owning one is helpful for when you take business or personal trips.
These time management tools are only helpful if you actually use them. Pick the ones that best suit your personality and that you're most likely to use on a consistent basis.
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. You can learn more about her here.