8 Time Management Skills Can Help You Juggle Family, Work, and School
If your day is already packed to the brim with work and family, returning to school may seem like nothing more than an impossible dream. If you can learn effective time management skills, you can not only attend school, but you can successfully make your way to graduation. Here are eight time management tools that can help you juggle your busy life:
1.Track Your Time
Spend a day or two tracking your time. You don’t have to be incredibly specific but you do have to write down what you do. For instance, if you work from 9-5, write it down. If you spend a half hour cooking dinner, jot it down. Note the times that you give the kids a bath, help them with their homework and when you spend time with your partner. Make sure that you keep track of the way you spend your time during the week and on the weekend. Consider using software designed for time tracking and billing like Toggl or RescueTime and using it to track your personal time as well.
Once you’ve kept track of your time, construct a general schedule. If you notice any time wasters on your log, get rid of them. Your new schedule doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it should be followed as closely as possible. Don’t forget to include downtime as well. Maintaining a calendar in Outlook or Google Calendar is a great way to view and review your schedule.
3.Share Your Schedule
After you’ve constructed a schedule, share it with your family. Your family life will run more smoothly if everyone is on the same page, because there will be daily expectations for everyone. Just make sure that you don’t turn into a drill sergeant after you’ve shared your schedule. Remember that it is a guideline to help structure the flow of the household and not a federal mandate.
If your family doesn’t help you with the household chores, it’s time to start delegating. Give your children age-appropriate chores to complete after school and on the weekends. Even having a child vacuum the floors can shave significant time off of your schedule.
5.Ask for Help
Your friends and family will undoubtedly be thrilled that you’ve decided to go back to school. Recruit these people to take the kids for an hour or two on the weekend or ask your partner to get the kids out of the house. A couple of hours of quiet time on Saturday or Sunday can help you get a lot done.
Turn your family into your own private group of study buddies. If you need to study for an exam, ask your kids to quiz you. If you’re taking an anatomy class, ask your partner to let you label them with washable markers. There are all kinds of ways that you can get your family involved in your studies.
Set up a school zone inside of your home. Whether you use your home office or a corner of the living room, make sure that your family knows that you aren’t to be interrupted when you are in your zone. You may want to schedule your study time for those times that your partner is home and available to handle any issues with the kids.
There are dozens of time-saving apps available for mobile devices; make good use of them. You can find apps that will help you shop, comprise grocery lists, and even have food delivered. Finding apps that you can rely on frequently will help you save both time and energy. A few of the most popular examples are Wunderlist, Things and Remember The Milk.
If you get yourself organized and make good use of your time, you can juggle work, family, and school. It’s not going to be easy no matter how organized you are, but it can definitely be done. It will all have been worth it when you’re holding your degree in your hand.
About the author: Cynthia Rose blogs about higher education, with a focus on productivity and time management for working students. Several schools offer programs tailored for students who also work full time, including Ohio University or Washington University.