3 Great Benefits That New Moms Get from Time Management
Everyone struggles with time management! But a new mom, and especially, a first-time mom, experiences these difficulties on a higher level.
Before any one, moms included, decides on which system to follow, be it Getting Things Done, Bullet Journal, or any other productivity and time management system, they need to know why they’re doing it. If you know the objective of your time management endeavor, you’re more likely to succeed in sticking with it.
It’s been 2 years since I methodically started my time & energy management journey. Here, I want to share with you the 3 amazing benefits that I’ve noticed. I believe that any person can gain those benefits by doing the same. Especially, new moms.
Statistics show that the average person gets 1 interruption every 8 minutes which if you and I are awake for 18 hours a day, that will amount to at least a 100 interruptions a day!
A mom with a toddler definitely gets a bigger share of interruptions and that interferes with productivity and ultimately our well being.
How It All Started
By my 3rd trimester, I realized that if nesting (aka new baby) is an addition to my daily life, it is a subtraction from time and energy I have available for other aspects of my life (husband, school, work, family, friends, etc.).
After all, a new munchkin requires a lot of attention, time and energy while predictability, order and schedules loose their meanings.
All parents can attest to that!
Here is what I kept telling myself. If I want to balance all my responsibilities with a baby in hand, I have to learn time management before the baby has arrived.
Growing up, I remember using stop watches to time myself memorizing poems. In college, I was motivated by deadlines that I set them for myself even when it wasn’t required. But as a mom-to-be, I didn’t know what to expect! If preparing for a baby was this time-consuming, I figured it wasn’t going to be easier later on.
What Is Time Management To Me?
Many books, websites, and podcasts later, I started to realize that I should first identify what time management meant to me as a mom-to-be. After all, each mom has some sort of planning and organization systems in her life. However, not all systems are necessarily effective and efficient.
For me, time management (TM) is not only about planning and organizing activities to achieve more productivity in less time. I defined it as…
Efficient time management system provides a structure to streamline activities for a stress-free happy life.
Let me explain… Whether you write down your to-do list in an actual planner, or use your phone. Meal prep once a week or order in a couple of times a week. If you put in some effort to structure how you act on your to-do lists and projects, then acting on them will flow smoother. As a result, life as a new mom will be less stressful.
So the 3 benefits of TM is Structure, Streamlining, & Less Stress. I’ll discuss each one below to drive my point home. Prepare your imagination and proceed slowly 🙂
1. Time Management Provides Structure.
Remember those essays we wrote in college? They have a structure; introduction, body and conclusion.
Our lives also have structure. You, me, every mom, dad, CEO of a company, etc. all already have some sort of fundamentals with which we operate. But when you consciously and wisely divide up your time to tackle projects in life that’s time management done efficiently.
According to Brian Tracy, the author of “Eat the Frog”, 10-12 minutes invested in planning your day will save at least 2 hours of wasted time and effort throughout the day.
When I became more aware of my time, I focused on writing, thinking and planning my activities with intent.
I’ve always been a big fan of jotting down to-do lists, ideas, grocery lists, etc. But I didn’t have a system of what goes where. The result? hundreds of post-it notes, napkins, and mini-notebooks. I have to post a photo of them someday.
So here is what I did.
First, I began writing down any and every thing that pops up in my mind that I have to do. Later, I resorted to having an app on my phone, since that thing doesn’t leave my side. No matter what it was. The app that I still use is Todoist. Renew my library books, write it down! A new episode of “Law and Order” coming up, set an alarm! You get the gist.
Second, I started adding who got to do that task. Sometimes, there are errands that my husband can run. So, if I remembered that I need to return books to the library, next step is to take my phone out, add that task and immediately write “hubby’s nickname” next to it. Done!
These two steps, addressing the “what” and “who” immediately structure your activities and, in turn, save you time.
This way you tackle two common problems; forgetfulness and correction. You’re not going to forget “what” is it that you need to do, thanks to all the distractions we get thus saving time trying to remember. Also, you won’t be wasting time AND money correcting errors because of lack of planning and forgetfulness. Plus, you know “who” is in charge of the task.
This simple mental and physical exercise will help you gather all the clutter that’s on your mind and put it somewhere you can actually see.
David Allen from GTD calls it “Mind Sweep“. We all can identify with the mental fog moms have. Why add to it by having to remember things. That’s just time wasted.
2. Time Management Streamlines Your Life.
“Streamlining” is identified as a design that allows flow with very little resistance. Basically, a smooth ride.
Time is saved when you know “where” you need to be to take action on a certain task and “when” and “how” to tackle it.
Streamlining is all those little rules by which life runs.
I got the idea, again, from GTD… #fandom. The rule is called 2-minute-rule which says “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now”.
After implementing it for some time, it became a habit. I’d even check the clock after doing the task to see if it took more than 2 minutes. 90% of the time, it took less!
Later, I was on auto mode. Grabbing all my son’s clothes from the floor (he does that!), 30 seconds!
One of the first rules I had jotted down for myself was that I will keep a list of tasks that take 5 minutes each, or less, which also include short phone calls or emails. So any time I am in any kind of line (especially at the post office… ugh!) I check that list and do those things.
If I am driving, I listen to podcasts and/or audiobooks. God knows, I have no time nor space to enjoy an actual book for more than 15 minutes 🙂 (I hope you do!).
When I was nursing my Little Prince, and he’d be falling asleep, or while pumping, I’d sort through the dozens of photos on my phone and assign them to different folders to print out later.
Such rules that simply answer “where”, “when” and “how” questions regarding tasks and things will substantially ease your life. You’ll learn how to make use of every minute you had previously wasted because you failed to plan out your daily activities. I surely mindlessly wasted mine either browsing IG or looking around aimlessly….#confessions.
With such detailed planning you’ll know how to utilize any time availability that comes your way.
3. Time Management Reduces Stress.
Let me preface by stating a grim fact you’ve probably already heard. Stress is No. 1 killer.
According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75% of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.
As you begin to have awareness of how you spend your time and how you structure and streamline your life, you’ll have more time for/to yourself. Remember what Brian Tracy said about planning and how it saves time (above).
Time management results in less stress in 2 ways: mental clutter elimination and self-care generation.
One, your mental state will alter knowing that all the things you have to do and take care of are orderly “dumped” into a system you’ve created and you don’t need to think and rethink about it again. I am not saying we’ll ever be stress-free as moms. BUT, we’ll be less-stressed.
Two, time saved is time gained! Now, you can have time for self-care. Time for meditation, walk in the park, foot-soak, burn a candle or light incense, and a whole heap of other pleasures in life.
Time Saved is Time Gained
Don’t underestimate the effects of self-care. Having time available after implementing time-management systems and techniques and yet squandering it on trivial matters will ultimately cause stress to catch up with you.
Dear Moms, PLEASE shed all the negative emotions you feel like guilt and shame and take care of yourselves!!!
Healthy happy moms means healthy happy babies. And by health I mean all aspects of well-being; physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
Want to experience the above benefits? I have a simple challenge for you to ease into time management. It’s 2 simple steps to follow for the next day, two or a week.
The objective is for you to experiment with principles and techniques that will bring some order to your life and ultimately alleviate tensions. We’ll be working on structure.
Step 1: Pick a notebook, an app on your phone for note-taking, or download a to-do app. There are plenty of them. Make sure that whichever tool you pick is easily accessible to you.
Step 2: Over the next period of time that you determine (I suggest at least 3 days) jot down everything that comes to your mind. Focus on tasks for now.
Step 3: Answer only “what” the task is and “who” can do it. You are dumping all the clutter that’s weighing you down from your mind onto your notebook or app. This way, you’re creating structure.
Try this challenge! I am very excited to know how it goes for you.
If you have suggestions, do drop me a line. We’re all here to learn from one another in a supportive way to save our time and sanity 🙂