How do single parents manage to find enough time for both work and children? Here are time management tips to help moms and dads stay in control and get organized. The key is to write everything down on to-do lists.
Kids take up so much time in a parent’s day that all parents need more than 24 hours to get through everything on their schedules. However, single parents are even more “slammed” for the time because they have to be:
- Personal shopper
Covering all these bases, and going to work, doesn’t leave room for much personal time.
Single Parent – Time Management Tips
Some parents are naturally organized. Their whole lives are mapped out a month in advance, as these people tick off chores and doctor’s appointments with the methodology of a drill sergeant. However, other parents need a bit more discipline in their lives to get anything accomplished.
The best way to stay on top of things is to make lists. If something is important, it needs to be written down.
Make a List
Information overload can creep in and boggle the mind of even the most focused parent. It’s difficult for two parents to keep track of everything going on in a household. However, it’s impossible for a single parent to remember everything about work, children’s homework, grocery items, and somehow still keep track of which weekends the children will be staying at the other parent’s house.
Writing information down is soothing. As soon as something is written down, a person can let it go. This simple act is almost as satisfying as actually accomplishing, or finishing, whatever it is that’s on that list.
And, that lets a parent focus on the moment; it allows a parent to concentrate on the things that could be happening right now, such as:
- A child who is crying
- A puppy that has knocked over a Cheerios box
- A daughter who needs help with a story problem
- A phone call from a child’s teacher
It’s impossibly hard to juggle all these while trying to remember that the check needs to be cashed, the Cheerios need to be replaced, the oil needs to be changed, and that tonight is a good night to call the ex-spouse about summer vacation.
The easiest way to keep track of things is to have two small notepads. One is for jotting down memos while outside of the house, and it is kept in the purse, briefcase, pocket, or car. The other notepad should be kept by the phone or on the fridge.
Use these tiny notebooks to jot down lists of random thoughts or important errands.
At the end of the day, consolidate both lists on the computer, in a word document or notepad, with the date on it. Typing this to-do list accomplishes several things:
- The act of typing (or rewriting) helps a mom or dad remember the items.
- Consolidating the lists helps the parent determine whether several errands can be combined into one trip, saving gas and time.
- People who think about something right before bedtime may come up with new solutions to problems while they dream. (On the other hand, anyone who finds it difficult to fall asleep with this method should type up their to-do list earlier in the day.)
- Any important list is harder to lose if it’s on the computer.
Even parents who use a smartphone or tablets, for jotting down info, will benefit from rethinking and rewriting their to-do list every evening.
It is so easy to change the order of items on a text document. It can be easier to cut and paste than to rearrange priorities on a piece of paper by using arrows and scribbles. Put the 2 or 3 most important errands, obligations, and appointments at the top of the page and change them into a larger sized font.
Print this list and put it in a purse or wallet.
Put Notepads Back
Put each notepad back where it belongs. The notepad used outside the house goes to the same place each day (car, purse, wallet, coat pocket), and the house notepad goes back on the fridge or by the phone.
It’s not easy to get into this habit, but it works. Lists save time and money and can keep a single dad or mom from feeling overwhelmed. The simple act of writing things down can keep people in control of their busy lives. If used daily, these lists are the most important time management tool of all.