Scheduling and Time Management
Molly Gold, Founder of GO MOM !NC, is the creator of The GO MOM!® Planner, the ultimate catch-all day planner for everything that is family. Molly is recognized as an expert on scheduling issues unique to moms.
Learning to Prioritize
I have a hard time saying no. Whenever I'm asked to lead the
carpool I say yes, I take on more projects than I can handle at work, etc.
Which means my schedule is always overbooked and I have a hard time dealing
with work and family responsibilities. Do you have any suggestions for
Answer: Some may think this controversial, but I personally believe that as a woman
and mother, you cannot have it all, at least not all at one time! As
multitasking mavens, working mothers are constantly reorganizing the
schedules of multiple family members, all the while maintaining a serene and
can do approach to the mayhem ahead. The balancing act of our ever growing
responsibilities is a staggering effort to sustain all on its own. Try
these steps to help you regain control of your schedule.
Step 1: FOCUS on your family. This is the one principle you must grasp
before you can move forward. You have the ability to control the pace of
your life and frankly, its a wise choice for any responsible leader, which
busy mothers are! Take out a piece of paper and list your family
activities. Don't know what they are? Then create a list by column for
each family member and have each person list their activities. Then go back
through each column together to select the most important items. You may
find everyone dancing around one person's schedule and simply adjusting
assigned times will ease the pain. Or, you might find yourself surprised to
learn that the soccer your son loved last year, he may not care for at all
and thus can be eliminated all together. Create a list titled "Less
Important" and proceed to step 2.
Step 2: SAY "Not at this time, but thanks for asking!" For those who rest
squarely in the "Can't say no!" camp, there is a huge risk of overcommitment
and stress. If for every child and spouse you overcommit just once and your
family totals 5, you've got at least 5 things per week you'll resent and
regret in your personal life. Inevitably, the stress of being an everywoman
will push not only you but your family to the edge as well. A happy mom
yields a happy family, so the opposite truth can apply to frustration. Take
your family list of "less important" activities and commitments and start
dialing the phone. Simply state to the individuals involved that although
you support and appreciate the activity, your personal family
responsibilities demand that you simplify your schedule. Therefore, you are
not able to coordinate or volunteer on behalf of the group at this time.
Take it full circle and ask how soon and to whom you can forward your
information or materials.
Step 3: And now we turn to work. People who overcommit at work often find
themselves taken for granted. Why? Because the office collectively knows
that in a pinch, you'll stand up the test. While grace under pressure and a
drive to succeed are excellent qualities, a team approach to project
management often yields a more productive and dynamic effort. Therein lies
the beauty of teamwork. Just as you did for your family life, draw up a
thorough list of your commitments and work load. Then sort it into "My
direct responsibility" and "Indirect workload." If you are in a position to
delegate, get going and toss off the indirect workload to the eager beavers
that abound. If you are simply overloaded, meet with your boss and suggest
a plan for spreading the wealth for a more efficient work process. Offering
a solution for your problem that will benefit your employer is a favorable
angle any day.
I expect you'll be surprised at the understanding you'll receive from
others...afterall, we are in the same boat! And lets talk about all the
time you've just found by releasing yourself, and your loved ones, from
commitments that were not important to you or them. Now you can all relax
and enjoy the rhythm of your days, knowing that each of you can pursue your
true responsibilities and passions with a clarity of purpose and that
precious down time is not an elusive goal, but a result of your focus and
success. Good luck and remember, just say "Not at this time!"
Also see: Ask Molly your questions
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