Time management – making it work

I love when we get great member questions that everyone can jump in on with answers, strategies and different ideas!

Here’s one we asked recently:
{Member question} I’m always running out of time for getting things done, I know I should have better time management but I don’t know where to start, just wondering how other mumpreneurs make it work? Any tips or tricks?
We received a range of responses to this question, this was one of them:
“I highly recommend the Pomodoro technique to help you with time management. http://www.pomodorotechnique.com” Kathie Holmes
I’d never heard of the Pomodoro Technique but I’ve chatted via email and at facebook with Kathie a few times so I thought it would be a great recommendation to check out.
Basically the Pomdoro Technique is very simple, consisting of just 6 steps. All you need is a timer of some sort – I use the alarm on my iPhone but any timer, stopwatch etc will work. The principle is that you set your timer for 25 minutes.

Then follow these 6 objectives:
1. Calculate how many ‘pomodoro’s’ (or 25 minute intervals) you’ll need to complete your task/project/to-do-list item.
2. Protect your ‘pomodoro’s’ from interruptions like phone calls, social media, small children (where possible) or in other words, find a time where you won’t be interrupted, and then turn off the phone, emails & social media etc for best results
3. Make an accurate estimate of how many ‘pomodoros’ you’ll need – I tried this and it took me 3 pomodoro’s to write a blog post and then promote it via social media and email a few people about it – I thought I’d get it done it 1… so don’t worry if this takes some practice to get the hang of.
4. Allocate time, a few minutes, for recap and review at the beginning and at the end of the project.
5. Set your daily timetable according to priorities and available time – ie if you work nights set your plan for nights – ensuring you allocate highest priority items uninterrupted time where possible.
6. Choose your own final objective – this might be to see if you can improve your productivity or improve quality etc.
And that’s it! Pretty simple technique but it has really worked for me so far. I’m using it right now as I write this 😉
I’d probably add a couple of objectives – these would be my 2:
7. Take a break and grab a cup of tea after 2 pomodoro’s to keep your mind fresh on big or time-consuming projects
8. Celebrate at the end!

Here are some of the other clever time management responses we received on this post:
1. “To Do List with only 3 items each day. Anything else is a bonus.” Tina Kennedy

2. “Not sure where I read it but have a “not to do list” ie do not look at facebook, do not constantly check emails. It is about keeping front of mind what wastes our time and reminding ourselves not to do it.” Melanie Pollock

3. “I have a list and put times against the list. I give myself until 10am to do a little housework, make a coffee and then get into my work.” Lynne Kooij

4. “My main saviour is I always know what we are having for tea the next night so I can organise it as much as possible and secondly, having lunches (meat sandwiches & nutella) and baking in the freezer for school lunches. Big time saving!” Little Pops

5. “Read David Allen’s Getting Things Done. It takes quite a while to really get used to applying the process but it gets everything out of your head and into a structure that is far more effective.” Kym O’Gorman

6. “Realise there will always be more to do. You will never finish a to do list. Remembering life is short and what really matters. Practise mindfulness. My way is to stay focussed on the present task and be ok with that. The world will not end if some task is late but for me it will end if my kids grow up without mummy time.” Helen Edwards

7. “Set a daily goal that is realistic and don’t stress if it doesn’t meet a deadline your customers normally understand if you’re going to be a day late, just be honest and get in touch with them so they know when to expect it.” Alicia Butters

8. “I write a list of the top 5 things to do today. I also break the day down into answering emails, checking sales/payment, packing orders, ordering supplies, and most important making orders – I allow a certain amount of time for each activity otherwise I’d be on the internet forever!” Tracey White

9. “list list list – got to write a list and tick it off as you go and also list priority – if something doesn’t get done that day put it at the top of the list for the next.”

10. “Not expecting too much of yourself – recognise and accept the different roles you might have taken on, you might be mum but that doesn’t mean you have to be housekeeper, cook, cleaner etc as well – see if you can pass some of the roles over to others who don’t have as many roles.” Teaki
11. “To fit more in, you have to take some stuff out. Get really clear on priorities and learn to say no.” Linda Ward

12. “ Stick to a To Do List or Diary and be realistic about time expectations on yourself. Allow for down time and unexpected interruptions. I find if I don’t set things as a job in my diary, I tend to push around paper all day and get nothing done. My diary holds me accountable.” Sarah Stein

13. “Work out in your calendar what you want done around the house or with kids, hubby, friends shopping etc and then work your times for work around that. If you take orders always do them first and make items at other times which you think or know will sell. No point trying to make order if you’re trying to get out and pick kids up from school or there is no food in the house. Don’t forget Mummy alone time!
As a busy mum how do you find enough hours in the day to get everything done? Do you have any suggestions we haven’t covered here?

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