Top Time Management Tips for Busy Parents

Being ‘busy’ and being a parent tend to go hand in hand. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a stay at home parent to pre-schoolers, or a working parent of teens, being busy is par for the course of parenthood. However, our modern lives seem to ensure we are even busier than ever. How can we ensure we are on top of our game? How can we be sure it’s not our child late, again? Read on for our top time management tips for parents.


#1 Be Realistic

Yes, our first tip is to be realistic about what you can achieve, and the time you have. Now might be the time to lower the standards and accept that ironing needn’t happen, or that you’re simply trying to cram too much in to the time available.

#2 Sleep

Always make sure you make enough time for enough sleep. This helps time management as you’ll simply be more efficient and productive if you are well rested and energised. Therefore, sleeping more isn’t robbing your time bank, but instead ensuring it stays firmly in the black.

#3 Prioritise

Once you’re realistic with your available time, you can then prioritise according to what is most important. Write things down and decide what needs doing today, soon, or perhaps can wait. Whilst you’re getting to grips with your children starting school, or a new job, is probably not the time to consider taking on that allotment you’ve always dreamed of.  It can wait.

#4 Organise

Even if you’re a big lover of spontaneity, a busy parent simply has to be organised. In fact, you could argue that spontaneity will only be possible with excellent organisation. In practical terms this means adhering to the old saying: ‘everything has a place, and everything in its place’, as well as becoming a big fan of the diary.

#5 Diarise

Which brings us on to the next tip – diaries, calendars, charts, and diary apps are all a busy parent’s best friends. Having children means you need to keep track of multiple school dates, appointments, your own agenda, and how everyone’s needs interact with each other’s. This is only possible if you have a diary and use it. Then make updating it, and checking it, part of your routine.

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#6 Advance Planning

Time is mastered when you think ahead and therefore are able to remove many unnecessary steps from a task. The best example of this is family meal times. If you menu plan once a week and shop once a week then you eliminate the daily musing of ‘what’s for dinner’ accompanied by a trip to the supermarket at the busiest time of day with your shattered primary-aged child in tow.  You often save money too!

#7 Shop Online

Speaking of which, if you don’t already, then shop online. By doing your main shop online you eliminate much of the time wasted within the supermarket, from the checkout line, to the multiple shops you visit attempting to find a perfect present for little Johnny’s birthday.

#8 Routine

When you’re busy, routine is your bedrock. By having a routine, which the whole family can follow, you maximise use of the available time. Routines should include getting up on time, and allowing plenty of time for contingencies. That way you’ll never be late, and feel in control.

#9 Delegate

Not everything should rest on your shoulders. No matter how old your children are, get them in on the action. Whether that’s getting the two year old to match socks, or put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket, or delegating the cooking of one meal a week to your teen. By fostering a sense of responsibility when they are young, they will be able to help, and not hinder, your time pressures as they get older.

#10 Outsource

If you feel like you’re struggling, then consider what you might be able to outsource. There are no medals for a superhero approach to parenthood which burns you out, so be open to getting help when you need it. Hiring a cleaner, a gardener, a window-cleaner, or simply booking your children in for a few hours with a babysitter can all help free up your time to gain control.

#11 Multi-Task

Busy parents need to multi-task like no other. Testing your five year old’s spellings whilst you feed the baby, clearing the draining board whilst the kettle boils, or listening to your child reading whilst you’re sat at the doctor’s surgery, are all ways to kill two birds with one stone.

#12 Master the Night Before

If you do one thing to make your busy life easier, master your evening routine. By making sure that uniforms are ready, lunches are packed, and PE kits are clean in the evening will make the mornings run far more efficiently. Always, always, have your going out bag packed and ready for action.
With a little practice, time management will become second nature, and soon you’ll be the one handing out the tips to other parents who are asking “How do you do it?”


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