To be successful, a mom has to become pretty darned good quickly analyzing reality and then adapting on the spot to effectively manage their time.
So How to Analyze Today’s Time Reality
When you begin to analyze your time management skills you must start by taking the cold hard look at today’s reality.
Identify personal productivity goals
When I begin working with private clients, we start by clearly defining their goals – both business and personal. When you have a clear understanding of the goals you want to achieve regarding your own personal productivity, and you commit to those goals, you are more likely to stick to your productivity plan as a means of attaining your bigger goal.
Create a Personal Activity Log
The best way to analyze your time-reality, is in the simple practice of tracking time spent on tasks daily. A Personal Activity Log is a fancy name for a tracking system that literally tracks everything you do in a 24 hour period (including how long you sleep)! Even after a few days of accurate tracking, you will begin to figure out what you are doing well and where your gaps exist regarding how you spend your time daily. Splitting those tasks up into the categories that most moms must manage will help you see where you are running into trouble. Focus on your time spent within the categories of me, family, work, home and other. These categories are broken down into the typical (and repeated) daily tasks. For instance in the family category, track your time spent on transportation, kids activities, family time, meals, and after-school activities. This may sound like a lot of tracking, (and most people get tired of tracking after a day or two), but when you take a look at the amount and percentages of your time spent in key areas of your life, it provides more accuracy around whether you are living according to your goals… within today’s reality.
Track Daily Interruptions
The other place to track while analyzing your own time reality is by identifying the types of interruptions that occur for you, and how often they happen on a daily basis. Most moms in business are juggling so many tasks daily in addition to handling the majority of childcare and home responsibilities, that interruptions become a way of life. We get used to the constant interruptions, and we either flex to them or often we drop our own goals to meet the needs of others.
The problem with a reality that experiences constant interruptions is that it leaves us with very little quiet time for, intense work, deep thought, relaxation, and uninterrupted time to complete project work. Constant interruptions cause us to work very inefficiently and interrupt our natural flow state.
To get a handle on your own time reality, I suggest you track daily interruptions for a week too – and get specific: Identify the time day they occur, what the interruption was about, how long the interruption was, whether it had a low or high-value impact on your day and whether it was essential for you to actually respond. By tracking your time spent handling interruptions daily, you’ll get a very clear picture of today’s reality for you – consequently, you’ll be able to address some of your key sore spots and create real shifts in how you currently manage (plan, implement and honor yourself) in the time you have. Remember, we all exist within the same time-reality. Your key to greater satisfaction and productivity within your day is usually closer than you think. Because, after all… who’s driving the bus?
Have you ever tracked your time systematically? What did you find out as a result? What strategies help you track and manage your time? Please comment and share in the section below!