Putting a little bit of thought into your schedule can allow you to accomplish more at home while still spending quality time with your kids. You just have to look at things a little differently. Here are my 5 tips to do that.
1. Get up before your kids and take 5 minutes to do something for yourself.
Alone time can be precious when you’re a parent and can’t even go to the bathroom without someone interrupting you. If you want 5 minutes to yourself, try getting up before your kids and doing something just for you. Enjoy a cup of coffee with no interruptions. Read a book. Journal. Whatever you like to do, do that.
You don’t need to accomplish anything during this time to increase your overall productivity. You’ll have a better mindset going into the day and maybe even more patience with your kids. Just know that you may not always be able to get up before the kids, but when it works, it’s worth it.
2. Decide on a time each day to focus on your kids.
When you’re a busy working parent, you know that a lot of the time you do have with your kids, you’ve got other stuff going on too. You’re getting them ready to leave the house, making or eating dinner, working on homework, or giving baths. This isn’t usually quality time with your kids.
Take a look at your schedule and figure out when you’re with your kids and don’t have anything else you need to be doing. Make that your time for focusing on your kids.
Do you have 30 minutes between when you get home and when you start making dinner? Is it 20 minutes after dinner? What about those 10 minutes while they’re eating breakfast? Whatever that time is for you, make a decision to use it to really focus on your kids. Don’t watch TV, check your phone, or put things away. Let all of those other tasks wait so that you can get some quality time in with your kids.
This sounds really easy, but it can actually be pretty hard.
3. If you see something that needs to get done (and you can do right away), do it.
When you’re with your kids but it’s not your “focus time,” don’t think you can’t pick up that toy and put it away because you’re watching your kids. You’ve had quality time with them and doing something else right now won’t take away from that.
Completing tasks as soon as you notice them will keep them from piling up. This can be really helpful for increasing your productivity at home. Not only do things never even make it to your to-do list, but you don’t end up with an overwhelming mountain of tasks.
Some people have a 2-minute rule — if a task takes less than 2 minutes, do it. You don’t have to use that rule, but if that’s a good place for you to start, try it out.
4. If you see something that needs to get done and can’t do it right away, set yourself a reminder for a specific time.
There are some things you just won’t be able to do right away. That’s ok as long as you don’t just tell yourself you’ll do them “later.” That’s too vague. And for a parent, “later” never comes. You need to set a specific time and have a real plan for getting it done.
As soon as you see or think of something, set a reminder in your phone. Make sure you put it for a time that you can realistically do that task. Then you can forget about it until the reminder goes off. You won’t have to keep thinking to yourself “I can’t forget to…” — you’ve already set yourself up to remember.
5. Evaluate whether you’re doing your household chores at the best time.
Don’t just do something on a certain day because that’s when you’ve always done it. Ask yourself if that’s really the best day/time to do it? Is there another time you could do it so you could have that time to focus on your kids?
I’ve gone to the grocery store on the weekend forever. I just realized the other day that if I don’t, we can have a leisurely weekend morning. I don’t have to leave the house at 7 am on Saturday just so I can be done grocery shopping early enough to actually have some fun before lunchtime. I can go to the store in the evening when the kids are in bed. This way I don’t have to sacrifice 2 hours of time with my kids on the weekend. It had never occurred to me before to even question whether that was the right time.
Just a few small tweaks can have a big impact on your day-to-day life. Try out these tips and let me know how they work for you!
Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com