One major flaw that I have is that I get easily distracted. I think about zillion unrelated things while I am trying to work on a task. I leave that task in the middle and move on to something else.
Unless I have a plan for the day, I can lose my focus and get carried away with completely useless things. Before I realize, I waste the whole day for myself and the children.
In order to keep tabs on my time management, I use various tools, shortcuts and apps.
1. Awesome Note App:
Awesome note is my agenda, to do list, shopping list, notepad, diary and much much more… I list all my blog ideas, craft and activity ideas as well. Then I prioritize, assign to a date and/or time and create deadlines for each. I check it multiple times during the day.
Prioritization is essential. I list too many things. Unless I prioritize, I get overwhelmed and cannot get anything done. Awesome note, helps me prioritize and create due dates and reminders. I love it when I check off an item and it disappears.
2. Build habits
I do the items that I know I must do during the day early on and around the same time every day. Like tooth brushing. Being done with an item bright and early is not only a huge relief but also an excellent way to avoid excuses that might arise during the day.
3. Google Calendar
In addition to Awesome Note, I use a family calendar in Google Calendar. I put in all my appointments, meetings, important dates and put it under our Family calendar to avoid miscommunication.
4. Weekly Menu Planning and Grocery Shopping
Weekly menu planning is a vital part of my survival. Cooking is the most time consuming house chore for me, even though I do it with love. At least, I don’t have to waste time on thinking about it.
5. Designated laundry day
I do laundry day once a week on a weekend day. This helps me to remember when I need to change bed sheets and towels etc. I separate laundry loads by color and wash about 4 big loads; whites, light colors, dark colors, red/pink/purples. In the winter, I do an extra load of wools. Then I ask for help for folding.
6. Monthly outdoor activity and visit list
Every month end, I pick up a Chicago Parents and Family Time magazine from our local public library. I browse for events and full up our weekends with desired activities. This eliminates the pain of scrambling to find things to do on weekends. I can purchase tickets in advance.
7. Indoor games and activity planning
I either pin or add to Awesome Note the activities I see on the blogs or books. I also follow the current interests of my children and research specific activities, games or experiments to feed their enthusiasm and curiosity on a specific subject they want to learn about.
8. Toys, Games and Activity Rolodex
I always have my Toys, Games and Activity Rolodex handy to figure out what can we do next. It’s also a good tool to enable the kids decide what they can do and want to do by themselves.
9. Weather Forecast
I check the 10-day weather forecast on weather.com twice a day. If the weather is good for outdoor activities, that’s the best. I can take the kids to the park or to the backyard. We go biking or to the beach. No need for extensive planning, because outdoors possibilities are endless. Especially, since the outdoors weather is relatively short in Chicago, I try to make the most of it as long as it’s above 55F.
If the weather is no good for outdoor activities, then I have to plan appropriately for indoor entertainment.
10. Z Plan – A Back up plan to fall back on
You should always have a Z plan. In the simplest terms to go out and take a walk around the block or get out on the door steps and draw with chalk. If you cannot go outdoors, stay at home and turn on some music. Kind of an escape plan.
What tools or tricks do you use to spend your days efficiently and mindfully?