I was asked by a fellow blogger recently for some help.
Amy from ‘And 1 More Means Five‘ is studying for a degree, working, blogging, raising five children, and asked me to feature in her short interview for her course as I am (in her words) ‘the most organised person I know!’
Flattery will get you everywhere, so of course I was happy to help! But whilst I was answering her questions, I thought that this would make a great blog post for me – and also give me two benefits to using my time. The first benefit is helping a friend, the second is using what I’ve sent to her as a blog post for me- win win!
So if you too are a busy working or studying parent, maybe a blogger, or trying to get your novel written – whatever your own personal juggle, here are my tips in the answers to Amy’s questions!
What are your top time management tips for busy parents?
To stop trying to do everything at once! Decide what is important and do that- leave the rest. It isn’t essential that the dusting gets done each week but spending time with the kids and cooking meals is. Prioritise and be ruthless. Tackle the important stuff first and get to the rest when you can.
What items would you recommend for being organised?
A diary is essential to keep track of yours and everyone else’s appointments and needs. Use your smartphone to set yourself reminders for things you need to do and set alarms to block out time so you can immerse yourself in a task without clockwatching. The alarm will signal when you can move on to the next thing. Use Apps to your advantage. If you have run out of milk then put some in your online basket using the app – it takes 1 minute to do this and keep yourself stocked rather than a 1 hour round trip to the shops every time you need.
Tips for juggling studying/work/life and still have a life:
Ringfence your time. It takes a bit of discipline to get the structure in place at first but ultimately it will set you free. If you have sat with your diary at the start of the week and spend 30 minutes planning, it frees up much more than that later on. Decide when your study sessions are, when you need to work, and also mark out playtime. We need time to rest to be more productive in the future so leisure time is not ‘dead’ time. It is essential. Once the time is allotted to whatever activity then just throw yourself into it without guilt. If you are working, then this is your time – get as much done in that slot as possible. The focus makes you more productive. If you are chilling out- do it guilt free- the work is taken care of elsewhere in the week baby! Put yourself 100% in to whatever you are doing rather than lots of half hearted things, and you will find you are much more sleek, productive and determined. It will take you to another level.
I hope there is something in there that helps other busy parents out there- these are all things that I do myself to be as productive as possible whilst taking time to enjoy my life too. All work and no play really is very dull- what would I have to blog about if all I did was sit at my desk?
But for more tips, especially around finding time to blog or write in a busy day, take a look at this book that I wrote to answer this very question. It sells on Amazon and maybe it could help you finish that book you have within you or just lay down some blog posts without feeling overwhelmed!
Here is the post as featured on Amy’s blog as a mature student.