Managing Your Time as a Homemaker, Stay at Home Wife or Stay at Home Mom
Article by Rain San Martin
Run Your Home Like a Flexible Business by Managing Your Time
In this article we will discuss how career homemakers, stay at home wives and stay at home moms can run their home like a flexible business. Maximizing your time with efficient planning. When you respect your time you will observe that others will too. Avoid the pitfalls of common time wasters, learn to set daily priorities, follow a reasonable schedule and earn the credit you deserve!
Create Routines and Schedules
Contrary to what you may believe, there is actually more freedom to do the things that are most important when scheduling it in. We are more likely to fall to the whim of others if our schedules are wide open.
Hop on the schedule bus. Though you may have penciled in 30 minutes for straightening or paperwork during an interval in your "flexible schedule", you may get interrupted or discover the task has taken longer than you expected. It's best to keep on moving through your day, hitting all of your priorities. Unless the task has reached an urgent status, you can work on your project for a designated period of time and return to it tomorrow.
Use Parkinson's Law to Your Advantage
Be Mindful of Parkinson's Law
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” (Parkinson’s Law)
An illustration of Parkinson's Law is made clear in a famous story about how two people can spend their time in very unique ways. This is demonstrated as they set out to accomplish the task of mailing a post-card. The first person, an elderly lady who spends her golden days in leisure, squanders her time while the busy businessman efficiently completes the task in a short time. It should be noted however that if one wanted to send a thoughtful long-form letter one would only need to a spend an extra 15-20minutes.
"It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil." (The Economist 1955)
When we allow an endless amount of time for a task, often the work is not accomplished until the deadline arrives. In Fast Company's article, The Surprising Reason to Set Extremely Short Deadlines, we learn how to use Parkinson's Law to our advantage.
As a homemaker, we may need reasonable deadlines as unexpected emergencies crop up. We must find a deadline that will get us motivated and moving, yet will not cause unnecessary stress. Always aim for a date earlier than is expected by others. This will free you for emergencies.
Write Down Your Top 6 Priorities for the Day
Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics implemented the habit of writing down the 6 most important things she wanted to accomplish the next day.
One way to achieve this is to break down the list into two or three sections. Start with a couple of lifetime goals. For example: "Write 5 pages of non-fiction book". Next list a few important homemaking tasks. These tasks do not necessarily repeat each day like your exercise, meal prep, housekeeping or play time with the kids. Repeat tasks should be listed in your flexible daily schedule.
At the end of each day write out your top 6 priorities for the following day. You may wish to get a head start on your planning throughout the next few days by writing out a couple of your top priorities ahead of time on a calender. If you are unable to complete your top 6 for the day, move them over to the following one.
What is your biggest distraction?
Top Time Wasters for Homemakers, Stay at Home Moms or Stay at Home Wives
On AboveRubies.com the author warns homemakers to be cautious of the following time wasters:
- The phone / texting. Note that if you are able to clean and be efficient in cooking or house cleaning while talking hands-free there is no harm as long as the conversation is wholesome. Texting however can be an obvious way to squander time. If you must, keep it brief and move on to your work.
- Leisurely reading
- Worry "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (-Matthew 6:25-34)
- Saying "Yes" to every request.
- Being disorganized and undisciplined.
In Seven Strategies for Having More Productive Days the following time wasters are mentioned: (Note that the items mentioned on this list would be appropriate during a scheduled break or day off.)
- TV shows
- Browsing the internet for fun
- Chatting on the phone
- Shopping online or in person for pleasure. If buying a gift is on your to-do list this would be a productive activity. Do so swiftly without getting sidetracked.
- Social media
- Reading magazines and novels
Watch Out for Time Wasters
Social media, internet surfing and visiting with friends is appropriate when placed in the proper context. Because our goal is to work productively, we need to discipline ourselves to work hard for most of our day, and schedule time for rewarding rest and passionate play.
Place boundaries to mitigate continual interruptions from children as well. The best way to handle these situations is to say, "After lunch will do a fun play time with (fill in the blank). They will learn to be independent, creative and inventive. Just be sure to acknowledge and include them throughout your day.
"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness." (-Proverbs 31:27)
Log Your Accomplishments and Show Them as a Weekly Report!
When you have your car serviced or receive other special services you may observe the work report on the invoice. Listing the tasks completed and services rendered. One no-fail way to receive respect for your work as a homemaker is to show a weekly work report of key tasks achieved to your spouse and children. This technique can also be used in the workplace when no report is requested. You will feel a satisfying sense of accomplishment as you review your work each week and have recognition from others. Assemble your completed tasks and daily responsibilities as part of your weekly work report to turn in each Friday.
Tip: Create a Master To-Do List
Your To-Do list will work as a capturing tool. No more trying to remember all of the things you have on your plate. Capture tasks which need completion in a notebook or word document.
Enjoy a Day of Rest to Recharge
By taking a day of rest you will be increasing your efficiency. The homemaker by nature will find it challenging to find an entire day to relax, however save organizing, paperwork, errands, and home business for the other 6 days of the week. It would be wise to keep the home straightened as you want to begin your work week with a welcome clean slate.
Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy." (Exodus 20:9-11)
Avoiding time wasters and staying focused on your top priories is the key method to managing your time effectively. Most importantly take joy in the work you do, creating a peaceful haven of rest for your family.
© 2015 Rain San Martin