Your job as a parent is nearly as time-consuming as it is rewarding, so time management skills are a great asset in your efficiency arsenal. The best part is, you won’t have to sacrifice very much at all to become a more efficient parent, and the rewards (like more free time with your family) can be immense. Follow the efficiency tips below for advice:
1. Teach your children independence.
Teaching your child how to complete certain tasks on their own may seem time-consuming at first, and you may be tempted to believe that you can do it faster yourself, but, ultimately, this is backwards thinking. By taking the time to teach your child how to complete tasks independently, you not only help to instill confidence in them, but you also give them the skills they’ll need to complete these tasks later without your assistance. Basic life skills, such as tying shoes and pouring drinks, tend to be a great starting point.
2. Take breaks when you need them.
Contrary to popular belief, taking breaks is not an action performed by selfish parents who don’t love their children. Rather, taking breaks is an act performed by thoughtful parents who recognize the need to maintain their own balance. The most efficient parents, the parents with the most motivation and energy, are the ones who know when it’s necessary to take time for themselves. Such breaks allow you to recharge, making you better able to utilize your time as a parent later on.
3. Plan ahead.
Planning ahead for everything from tonight’s dinner to next month’s family day is a great way to become more efficient as a parent. Planning ahead gives you plenty of time to communicate your plans with the involved parties (babysitters, your spouse, etc.), and it ensures that you’ll also have adequate time to complete pressing tasks long before the event. Finally, planning events a bit in advance can also save you money in the form of advance booking discounts, coupons, and other cost cutting opportunities.
4. Organize everything.
Even if you aren’t a clean freak, you should still recognize the benefits that organization poses to you and your family. One of the biggest time-wasting activities among families is searching for items that have been misplaced due to a disorganized lifestyle. So not only will maintaining an organized home set a positive example for your children, but it will also help you to become more efficient as a parent by helping you to be better able to locate items when you need them.
5. Use your time wisely.
When in the midst of some unproductive task, always ask yourself, “Would it kill me to do something productive right now?” Although relaxation is certainly important, there are also times where multitasking could be a great benefit. While in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, for example, instead of reading a sticky magazine, consider paying your bills online or reviewing times tables with your child. Sure, these activities could wait until you got home, but why not utilize the down time that is inherent in the situation for your own benefit?
In becoming more efficient as a parent, there are a number of steps you can take. Planning ahead and staying organized are two concrete ways to produce measurable increases in efficiency, and using down time to multitask is also advisable. Taking breaks is important to help you stay motivated as a parent, however, so not all of your down time should be spent multitasking. Finally, by teaching your child independence, you minimize the amount of time spent performing tasks that they could have just as easily performed on their own.