Time management is one of the number one struggles I hear from other moms (especially single moms).
I think we all struggle with trying to figure out how to get everything done during the day. There are chores, meals, showers, lessons, etc. to be done each day. I think that time management for single moms is especially difficult because you are the only one to do many of these tasks.
I remember during my first years as a mom I would often sit in the middle of the floor, once my boys went to bed, and cry because I was so overwhelmed by all the things that still needed to be done.
Thankfully my mom would come by from time to time to help me dig out of the housework hole I kept falling in. She was a life saver but I knew I couldn’t depend on her forever. I needed to find a way to get more control over my time.
It took some time and a lot of trial and error but I did figure out how to get a lot of things done each day. Notice I didn’t say everything. I think the key to time management for single moms, and any mom really is realizing that we cannot do it all, all of the time. We must figure out what we can do and then make a plan and stick to it.
7 Time Management Strategies for Busy Moms
To help you make a plan that you can stick to, I have a few time management strategies that I want to share with you. If you’ve ever wanted to know how I manage to take care of the house, my kids, and everything else on my plate here’s how:
1. Plan the day in advance
Once my boys are in bed I try to plan out the next day. You can write things down or just run through the day in your head. The goal is to know what’s coming so you can be prepared. When I know we have nature club the following day I can make sure that I set my alarm a little earlier, take breakfast out of the freezer to defrost and get all our supplies ready to grab and go.
2. Meal Planning
Part of planning for the day ahead also includes meal planning. I like to keep things simple. Knowing what I will cook for dinner (or any other meal) really saves time and my sanity. There’s no scrambling at 5 o’ clock to figure out what to feed my boys. I already have a plan and sometimes it’s already cooked and just needs to be reheated. On days where we’ll be gone all day or late, I can throw something in the crockpot so dinner is ready when we finally get home.
3. Learn to say no
I am very protective of our time and schedule. I have learned the importance of saying no more than I say yes. It’s why we don’t do sports or co-ops and why my boys go to bed really early. By saying no we have time to spend together as a family and don’t feel like we are running around like crazy people.
Routines! Yes I know it can be a dirty word but they do work. Having systems and routines is truly helpful for managing your time. When you do the same thing in the same order over and over you become really efficient and can get more done.
Combining tasks is also a great time management strategy. When I have to run errands I do them all at once. If we are going to be out and about we do everything we can. It saves on gas and helps me be really productive.
5. Schedule time for yourself
Moms, we must make time to take care of ourselves. I have learned to put myself on my calendar so I’m not forgotten. Take a few minutes to read a book or soak in the tub. You work hard and deserve it!
6. Give everyone a job
My boys are very helpful. There’s no way I could keep our house clean and running on my own. Teaching your children to do chores gives you an extra set of hands around the house. It teaches them the importance of teamwork and doing their share. And it can be a great way to teach money management as well.
7. Margin for rest and fun
Finally, I want to encourage you to carve out margin in your days and weeks. Be sure you leave time when nothing needs to be done. This is how you create a buffer for when life happens and also how to have time for fun and resting.
Time management may take some creativity but it can be done. What time management strategies work for you?
LaToya Edwards is a Christian life coach and writer. She helps Christian women strengthen their faith and deepen their relationship with God so they can walk victoriously through trials, knowing God is with them, every step of the way. You can learn more about LaToya on her blog, Women Finding God.