timeformumsMoms are probably the busiest people on earth – from household chores, taking care of the kids, to our work, and juggling our other roles as wives, daughters and more.  It’s no wonder many of us find that 24 hours a day is barely enough time.

But if we are to seriously think about it, is it really true that we don’t have enough time?  Or are there, perhaps, changes we can make that will help us save time, create calmness in our lives and to even squeeze in some me-time every day?

One of the areas I’m working on this year is putting in place systems for my home and my work so that I can be more efficient and effective. Here are some things I am doing that I find are helping me to better manage my time and be more productive.

1. Plan in advance

Planning is probably one of the most basic rules of time management, but to be honest, I’ve never been disciplined enough. So this year, I’m making this a priority. This means to plan my days, weeks and even months in advance. Planning gives me clarity and helps me stay focused.

For me, this takes the form of a weekly meal planner, having time-blocks for certain activities throughout the day, and designating certain days of the week for specific tasks.  For example, Wednesday is my ‘admin day’ when I handle all the paperwork – such as going through the mail and filing documents.

I’ve also just started to plan ahead and look at monthly goals, breaking them down into weekly tasks and then scheduling them in my diary.

2. A productive day starts the night before

Morning can be a mad rush in many families and this can be avoided if we spend some time the night before to plan for the next day. For example, in our family, we decide on what to wear to work, iron the clothes, and pack my son’s bag at night. Before I go to bed, I also spend some time to come up with a “to-do” list and this also ensures that I go to sleep without worrying that I may forget some important tasks I need to do the next day.

3. Cut down on unnecessary connectivity time

I’m a work-at-home mom. When I am doing serious work on my laptop, I choose not to be connected to the internet. This helps me to stay focused on the task at hand, otherwise,I’ll end up surfing the net.

I also try to leave my smartphone in the bedroom and not somewhere near my normal activity areas so that I won’t be tempted to keep checking my emails and social media accounts. I unsubscribed myself from many websites and only keep those that are really useful. On the same note, I also stopped email notifications from some of my social media accounts.

At first it was tough as I kept wondering if I might be missing out on something important. After a while, I realized that it was just an irrational fear. Life goes on as normal, if not better, because I can be more present and able to focus my time and energy on what really matters.

4. Be organised and eliminate clutter

Being disorganised and clutter are my big issues. I don’t know how much time I’ve wasted just by trying to look for an item. So what I do these days is to find a place for everything in the house and make it a habit to put them back to their ‘homes’ after each use.

One tip I learned is to organise things by storing them at the place where you normally use them. So for example, I keep my mascara, brow pencil, eyeliner and perfume on the shelf in the bathroom because these are items I use almost every single day, and usually immediately after my cleansing and skincare routine. After use, I immediately put them back on the shelf. The rest of the makeup products are kept in a drawer in the bedroom because I don’t use them as often.

Also, make “tidying up” a family task. Train your kids from a young age to put away their toys after playing. This is a good way to instill discipline too.

5. Wake up earlier

I like this the best, but to be honest, I don’t get to do it every day. But when I do, I feel good. I would wake up about 30 minutes to an hour earlier than normal. I spend the time praying, reading my Bible and whatever book I’m currently reading. It puts me in the right frame of mind and I enjoy starting the day off on a calm note. I also spend some time chatting with my husband before he goes to work. If there’s extra time, I’ll work on some of the tasks on the “to-do” lists.

These are my strategies to be more productive each day. I don’t get it right all the time, after all, new habits take time to form. I guess the important thing is to recognize when I’m going off track and remind myself to get back on.

Do you also struggle with a lack of time? If you have any time management tips, please do share them!

This is an original post by Ruth Wong from Singapore. She’s a work-at-home-mom who also blogs at Mommy Cafe. She has recently co-authored and published a book titled Successful Work-Life Balance.

Photo credit to Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net.

Ruth

Ruth lives in Singapore, a tiny island 137 kilometres north of the equator. After graduating from university, she worked as a medical social worker for a few years before making a switch to HR and worked in various industries such as retail, banking and manufacturing. In spite of the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during those years, she never felt truly happy or satisfied. It was only when she embarked on a journey to rediscover her strengths and passion that this part of her life was transformed. Today, Ruth is living her dreams as a writer. Ironically, she loves what she does so much that at one point, she even thought that becoming a mom would hinder her career. Thanks to her husband’s gentle persuasions, she now realises what joy she would have missed out had she not changed her mind. She is now a happy WAHM. Ruth launched MomME Circle, a resource site to support and inspire moms to create a life and business they love. She has a personal blog Mommy Café where she writes about her son's growing up and shares her interests such as food and photography.

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