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Astrology Age of Aquarius


TIME MANAGEMENT

By Jody Seidler

Time management seems to be the most important element in a single parent household (or any household for that matter). As single parents, it seems we never have enough time in the day to do ALL we need to do for ourselves and for our family.

Time is a commodity, and we have to learn to use it wisely. The good news is we can learn to budget our time just as we budget our finances. It's time to get organized! Here are some tips to help manage your busy single parent world, and create a sense of organization in your life. Watch your life evolve as you departmentalize and add more structure to bring together your days. It may amaze you that you actually CAN create some time just for you...

So, here we are - grab your mental marker....

  • Make lists, don't rely on your mind (or what's left of it) to remember what things need to be done and when. Whatever you haven't gotten accomplished today, move it over to tomorrow's list. There is always manana, but place the urgent and the most challenging to do's on the top of tomorrow's list.

  • Pay bills all at one time and put a little yellow sticky memo on the piles that need to be mailed mid-month or at the end of month. This way you only have to get stressed out one day a month and your bills get mailed out on time.

  • Get an engagement calendar for play dates or custody arrangements, due dates for homework, meetings, bills, personal and school events. Take the pressure off your memory skills and keep track of events and appointments on paper. This way you can keep your mind freed up from the strain of having to remember everything you're juggling. A side benefit is that you'll discover excess energy and a more focused attention span.

  • Keep a notepad by your phone or bed to jot down things as they come to mind. This is a great tool so that you don't forget those fleeting thoughts or morning reminders upon awakening. You can also keep a small tape recorder in the car, so you don't miss a thought or reminder driving (especially because we spend so much time in the car). Just drive carefully and watch out for those drivers on cellular phones.

  • Choose a day or night that you will do your grocery shopping and errand running each week. Choose a consistent day to clean your home. Stick to your schedule and forget about these responsibilities the rest of the week.

  • Buy things in bulk (save time and money) and if bulk buys bring too much food into your pantry - split these purchases with another single parent or neighbor. Now that we have places like Smart and Final and Costco, it makes it easier to buy in bulk, save money and always have what we need on hand (hence avoiding the I have to run out and buy dinner trauma).

  • Teach your child how to make his or her breakfast, help with dishes and laundry (make a game of it), empty the dishwasher and clean his/her room. Make a 'chores chart' and place a star on the chart for these accomplishments. (I get creative and use carnival tickets for my nine year old...and he receives a special prize when those tickets reach a certain quantity.)

  • Maximize your trips. Create a flow chart in your head of where you have to drive...and target those chores by their location. Don't run around all over town to get errands done, do them by area and by priority. You can also use the phone to call a store to see if they have an item in stock...save yourself a trip, and some time. If you have a friend going to a grocery store...have them pick up a few items for you.

  • Think Smart, save time. Review your priorities and change those things that aren't working. Get up earlier or go to bed later to get things done that can't be done during the day, or designate a weekend while your child is with the other parent or has a play date, to accomplish what's needed. Make a reading pile and keep everything you want to read including mail and magazines in a certain place on your desk.

  • Read at least 10 minutes a night to unwind. If your child is old enough, you can designate a 10 or 15 minute reading time, where you both read your separate books together. And, why not make it a cozy time by snuggling with your child while you read together!

  • Remember not to cling to worn out ways of scheduling your time if they no longer work for you. As we evolve and our lifestyle changes, we have to modify the way we spend our time doing errands, housework, bill paying, scheduling appointments and making the most of every hour in the day. Why not speak to other single parents, or people you admire, to find out what has worked for them in the realm of budgeting time?

  • Most importantly, don't forget to take time out for yourself. As much as our children are our gifts, we are theirs as well. We are their role models, teaching them by example - so be a great example. Prioritize, replenish yourself and think smart....it all begins with you!

    Reprinting by permission only


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