When you have a plan for your day, you will feel so much better. Even if you don’t exactly follow it, when you have a few unexpected minutes, you will know what to do.
Do you ever find yourself with spare time? As a mom, you know these moments are rare. The very occasional times it happens, it’s easy to fritter it away on social media and other pursuits leaving you feeling like you wasted your time.
Planning out your spare moments will enable you to be more productive throughout your day. According to Parents.com, effective busy moms should schedule time to relax as well.
You can use these strategies if you work from home or just want to get more accomplished each week.
Plan for your day
So how do you do it? You don’t need to be super-organized. It’s not essential to write everything down or schedule your day to the minute or even the hour.
Figure out what time you have
Start by thinking of chunks of time you have, even if it’s just 5 or 10 minutes. Some examples might be:
- Waking up earlier than everyone in your house
- Waiting in the car pickup line at school
- After the kids go to bed
- During nap time
Maybe you find yourself with an extra 20 minutes in the mornings now that your kids are making their own lunches. Perhaps your husband decides to take your kids to lunch and a movie, and you find yourself home alone for a few hours.
Maybe you work on your blog or work from home and your time to work on it is when your kids nap — if you can be so lucky.
What to do with that time?!
So many times, we use and waste our precious time trying to figure out exactly what to do. Oftentimes, we end up using and wasting all that glorious time just trying to figure out something to do. We might start and stop many different tasks.
We are surprised when that 15-20 minutes or hour or two hours is over. It’s a terrible feeling when we don’t feel like we used that time wisely. Remember, when you have a plan for your day, you can maximize unexpected spare moments.
Your most productive times
Think about your most productive times.
For many of us, that’s in the morning. Maybe you aren’t an early riser and appreciate any sleep you can manage. So for you, your productive time may be after your kids get on the bus or after you drop them off at school.
For others, it might be after everyone goes to sleep and the house is quiet.
Know your most productive times where you can get work and more difficult tasks done without distractions. Use your least productive times, like when you are tired, for things like Facebook and other social media.
Chores and responsibilities
When you have a free 10 minutes, it’s really easy to go room to room, trying to figure out something to do. But often, the kids are playing online, and you’ve already made dinner. What to do?
Have a plan for chores that take just a few minutes, five minutes, or 10 minutes. Chores are great things to do when your kids are around because you won’t mind if you are interrupted. Really, who wants to clean?
Can you quickly wipe down the floors in your kitchen? Can you throw in a load of laundry? With five minutes, you can wipe down the bathroom, dust, or sort through mail. Whip out the vacuum when you’ve got a little bit longer.
Working from home, paying bills, etc.
You want to plan for more involved tasks when your kids are occupied or at school. You don’t want to be distracted and take out your frustration on them.
Even if you don’t have a designated area for working from home, you can use the space you do have strategically. Maximize your time when you sit down to work.
Waiting in the pickup line at school
Some parents pick up their kids from school everyday. Assuming there are 180 school days, if you wait in the car pick up line for 10 minutes a day, that’s 1,800 minutes.
That’s 30 hours in a school year you will be just sitting there! What can you do with that time? What’s your plan?
Can this be your Facebook time? Maybe this is a time to read. Can you do bills, make a meal plan, write out a shopping and grocery list? You can even use this time to plan your day and week. Per time management pros, 30 minutes of planning saves you exponentially more time.
Perhaps you want to simply close your eyes and center yourself for a few moments.
Planning spare minutes
There are many minutes each week that are like this. They are unaccounted for. While they seem insignificant, over time, they really add up.
Some people have great success planning their day the night before. Others think of generalized things they need to do.
A great system is to have a sheet of paper. Make separate headings for tasks you can complete in 5 minutes or less, 10 minutes or less, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and one hour.
As you think of things you need to do, log them in one of these sections.
In this way, when you find yourself sitting in front of the computer and have 10 uninterrupted minutes, you will know what you can do and be that much more productive.
Log your to-do’s in one place
Too often, we log our shopping lists, to do’s, and other reminders in notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, our daily calendar, notes on the back of a receipt, in our phones and on the computer. We have multiple lists in many different places.
It’s human nature to write or type things down when we think of them — so we don’t forget. But it’s important to have some type of system for this.
The best tip is to log your to-do’s and make your lists in one place.
Of course, once you find out the system that works best for you, it might not always be practical. So throughout your day, when you’re on the go, you can type them out in your phone or write them in a small notebook you carry around.
Then later transfer them to a notebook or calendar each evening. No matter what, the goal is to have one master list, in one place.
There’s nothing more stressful than having notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, notes on your phone and on the computer.
It just adds to the chaos and stress and takes away from our productivity.
Productive moms plan for spare moments
Moms have endless tasks. It’s usually very difficult to get ahead with something in our lives. Usually, we are doing all we can to keep up. In the meantime, we just keep crossing stuff off our to-do lists.
Have a plan for your day or some idea of what you can do when you find yourself with unexpected spare minutes. You will feel better in control of your time, be more accomplished and productive, feel more rested, and will likely be happier at the end of the week.