Time management strategies for busy parents

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As the kids return to school and you have a chance to examine your life and decide on your resolutions for 2019, think about your time management. While time management is not a typical New Year’s resolution, how we use our time will determine our level of happiness with our lives, making it a priority to examine.

Here's the thing about time: we all have the exact same amount of it! Every single one of us! And we control how we spend our time! Here are my top tips for managing time as a parent:

1. CAST YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE

Decide where you want to go in life. If we don't know where we're going, it doesn't matter to me how many time management strategies you use; you may be using them in the wrong places. The question you want to ask yourself is, if you could live life as the most ideal version of yourself, what would that look like?

There are a couple ways that you can do this. One way I love is the rocking chair test that Tony Robbins offers at a lot of his seminars. Picture yourself at the age of 80, sitting in a rocking chair, reviewing your past 80 years. What are you proud of? What did you do that you feel so incredibly grateful that you did? What regrets do you have (if you have any)? What do you wish you could have told your younger self?

Another exercise I really like is one that I found in the book Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt. It's the exercise of writing your own obituary, looking at the end of your life, and reflecting upon how you are going to be remembered.

These exercises can help us to have a more clear, and intentional way of living. I really believe in my heart of hearts that any parent will happiest if they can have an idea of where they are going.

2. WHAT CAN YOU DELEGATE?

We cannot do it all. And we definitely cannot do it all at the same time, and do it well. So I believe that a really important skill is to learn is how to delegate. There are so many things in a parent's life that can be delegated. Can you break up who does school drop off and pick up? Could you delegate cleaning of your house to a cleaning service? Can you delegate who plans and prepares meals?

One of the ways I do this for my little guys is with Love Child Organics prepared pouches. These pouches are so convenient. It's so easy for me to be entertaining guests and conveniently give my children organic and nutritious snacks and meals without me preparing it myself. While I would love to say I had time to make my own organic baby food, these prepared pouches help me feed my kids in a really convenient, healthy way.

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3. WHAT CAN YOU AUTOMATE?

This is a little bit different than delegation, but also along the same lines. For example, if you do something the same, or similar every week, how can you automate that so that you're not working so hard every time? The way I do it for grocery shopping is through a click and collect service where via an online platform you're able to literally use the exact same shopping list and with one button you schedule when you pick up your groceries. It takes so much effort out of that exercise. Additionally, there are tons of ways I use automation in my business. I use an email automation platform that allows me to collect emails, bill clients, even schedule appointments, all without me having to give any attention to it.

I have to be honest, sometimes I am online shopping with a baby on my hip, a computer on my lap, my phone in my hand, or my wallet nowhere within arm's reach. So one of the ways I automate my online purchases is using PayPal. With PayPal, you have your credit card number saved within its online platform and it makes your online purchases literally reduced to a simple swipe and click. No hunting for where your wallet is, or where your purse is at the time. It's a way that you can automate your online purchases, all from the palm of your hand. No leaving the house required! Paying with PayPal saves on time and lets me get back to enjoying my family. Many of my favourite apps (Uber Eats!) offer PayPal as a payment option which I love because it makes it easy to pay, it’s secure and I can do it right from my mobile phone.

For the full run down on how PayPal can help you pay easily, quickly and conveniently, click here.

4. WHAT CAN YOU BATCH?

My next tip for time management is what in your life can you batch? Essentially batching is taking similar activities and doing them all at the same time. For example, I used to record one YouTube video a week and I would set up the camera on Thursday, get it all worked out, figure out my lighting, figure out my technology, often fail at some aspect of the technology, record my video, and then do it all again the next week. And it was so time consuming because I would have to set everything up every single time. Now, I batch shoot several videos in one day.

Another example of batching is cooking all your meals on one evening each week. You can create a bunch of meals and stick them in your freezer for use later in the week. Think about it: you've already got all the utensils out, you are already chopping, and you’re already dirtying your pots and bowls, so do a bunch of meals at once and make the process so much more streamlined.

5. WHAT CAN YOU DELETE?

Another key time saving tip is what in your life can you delete? This is a hard one for me. I really hate disappointing people. I really hate saying no, especially to things that I care about. But what is really important to remember, and this is clear in Greg Mckeown's book entitled Essentialism, is saying no to something is actually saying yes to something else. It can be really hard to draw hard boundaries, but I believe if a parent wants to live their most fulfilled life, you cannot do it all. And you cannot do it all at the same time. We need to have the courage to say no to some things so we can say yes to other things that matter to us, like our families, our personal goals and dreams.

Give these time management strategies a real shot and see the difference they can make in your life, and the happiness that comes from these practices. As parents we know time passes by so quickly, so let’s make the most of all the time we have!