April 17, 2024

Time Management for Busy Parents

Time Management is a bit of a misnomer. You really cannot manage time, but you can manage what you do with your time. Managing your time can be difficult but it is not impossible. Many busy professionals, parents, and students manage their time in order to keep track deadlines, household tasks, and class assignments. For single parents time management is extremely important for peace of mind (At least for me it is). Unless you are independently wealthy, you most likely work full time while juggling caring for your home and your children. Keeping things organized and making sure you get all those things done that you need to get done on time can be difficult.

System

There are a ton of books on time management systems and methodologies out there. I have read several of these books and found that there are many commonalities between all the systems. Of the systems and methodologies, I have reviewed the one that I have found the most helpful is GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen. I am not going to go into detail on GTD but the main thing to remember is to get everything you have to do out of your mind and into an inbox for you to make decisions on. The decisions you need to make are rather straight forward. If it is actionable and a single task you can do it now or do it later. If it is a larger project that will require many actions, then you will need to plan it out. If it is not actionable then trash it or file it for later if it is information you may need. Below is a cart on the decision process from David Allen & Co.

Tools

There are all kinds of tools you can use to keep track of things you need to do out there. I personally have used day planners and several different apps over the years. Several apps out there such as Todoist, Omnifocus, and Pocket informant are designed to fully implement the GTD methodology. I have used all three at one time or another and found that they are great apps, but they just do not work for me. I prefer to keep my work and personal life separate, but I like to have the ability to see all my to-dos and projects in one place. What I mean by this is that I do not like to have my personal to-dos or appointments stored in a system at work or on my work computer and vice versa. At work we use Office 365 with Outlook. We also use MS Planner for large projects. At home I use Apple Reminders to keep track of all my personal to-dos. Reminders Also sync’s with my Office 365 account with out uploading my personal to-dos, which allows me to see all my to-dos in one place on my IOS devices and my Macs. While Reminders does not allow for the full implementation of GTD it works for me since I don’t use the context portion of GTD. The only contexts I use would be for reminding me of something based on location or when I am texting. Reminders allows me to set location reminders on to-dos whether they are actually stored in reminders or Office 365. Reminders also allows me to set a to-do to remind me to text someone when I open the messaging app on my phone. As I said this is what works for me. The key is to find a tool that works for you that you will actually use regularly.

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