As a busy mom of 5, I know how important it is to possess good time management skills. I had the opportunity to speak with Meredith Haberfeld on Monday and discuss some tips for busy moms and get my questions answered. Before I get to our discussion, here’s some information about Meredith:
Meredith has successfully coached entrepreneurs, as well as senior executives at leading institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Forbes, JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, FuseTV and the World Health Organization. Business leaders doing executive coaching with Meredith have experienced measurable leaps in business results, satisfaction, productivity, wealth, and happiness.
In addition, Meredith is acclaimed for her work as a life coach and personal coach working with individuals, couples, and families in designing and living extraordinary lives.
Meredith has a special ability to build leaders, happiness, and deep, lasting satisfaction in life.
First of all, let me say what a pleasure it was to speak with Meredith. She was super friendly and answered all of my questions in a clear, easy to follow manner.
Here are my questions, followed by the tips she gave me:
- Moms today are constantly over-scheduling themselves. How do we escape the trap of trying to do too much, but still feel like we’ve accomplished something?
- The experience of failure comes from unreal expectations. What are you basing your goals on? All the things you could do before you had kids? You need to evaluate those expectations and adjust them to what you can actually accomplish in a day.
- Plan for the day. Make a list of things you actually want to accomplish. Plan related to time: if you know what time your child will nap, schedule things (like take a shower!) during that time. Plan less than you think you can accomplish in a day, which usually ends up being exactly what you can accomplish.
- Prioritize! If you’ve not been able to wash your hair for 3 days because you’ve been running yourself ragged, decide that you’ll have dirty laundry that day, but get clean hair.
- Make it a priority to have transition time. We all know kids need time to transition from one thing to the next. Even men get this. But, for some reason, women seem to think they can just walk in the door and immediately start a million different projects. Give yourself some time to adjust. (But make sure you “schedule” that transition time into your plan for the day.)
- Lighten up about everything. Keep things light and playful and there’s going to be much less stress on your shoulders in the long run.
- Some moms feel like they are constantly late for everything. Is there a way to fix that and get them where they need to be on time?
- Plan your time better. If you know you need to be somewhere at a specific time, leave the house with plenty of time to get there. If it takes you 10 minutes to get there on a good day when everything goes right, but takes 30 minutes if traffic is bad, give yourself 30 minutes to get there. The worst that will happen is that you’ll arrive a few minutes early. That’s not so bad.
- Give yourself prizes when you start everything 5 minutes early for one full day. Reward yourself with dinner out, a pedicure, or something else. However, if you come close and *almost* start everything 5 minutes early, don’t reward yourself. You’re not going to learn any lessons by rewarding *almost.* And, it’s much more fun to reap a reward that you actually learned.
- Remember one thing: Get over your excuses. People who run early have all the same problems that people who run late do. They just plan their time better and are better prepared to handle those problems.
- Find a buddy – someone who has good time management skills – and ask them to coach you for a week. You’ll learn a lot from them.
- Between laundry, housework, dishes, caring for the kids, cooking, chauffeuring, and everything else that moms do, at the end of the day, we’re exhausted! What are ways we can de-stress and feel good at the end of the day instead?
- Happy Mom = Happy Child.
- Make your needs and desires to de-stress realistic. What do you want? (A week’s vacation away to a tropical island.) What can you actually get? (45 minutes of time “off” every day for a week.
- Give up your martyrdom. Prioritize your own happiness. Don’t run yourself into the ground trying to be a Super Mom. Take care of your own health and happiness and it will be better for everyone.
- Take a girl’s night out. If you need one a week, take one a week. It’s ok to refresh yourself with grown-up conversation and time with friends.
- Get support – from your kids and your spouse. Hold a family meeting with your kids and ask them for ideas on how they can step up and help you out more. You don’t need to do it all. They live there too, and they can help you out. You won’t get any help if you don’t ask for it. Usually, family and friends would be more than willing to step in and help you out.
- Some of us moms have older kids that are involved in lots of activities. It’s hard enough to get them to practice (or whatever else) on time. What about when we find out about an event the night before (or even worse – the day of)?
- Get schedules in advance. If this means you have to talk to the coach or squad leader, do it.
- Have a special place in your child’s backpack or lunch box for note from the teacher and other special papers that you need to see.
- Give your child commendations when they share their schedules with you.
- Make your child participate in keeping their schedule posted. You’ll teach them time management skills in the process.
- Any other tips you’d like to share with my readers on time management?
- Happy Mommy = Happy Family / Take care of yourself too.
- Design your day not just around serving others, but take care of your needs as well. If you need a shower, take one.
- Create a plan with a good life as part of that plan. Plan less, and allow yourself transition time to get through all of the day’s activities.
- Schedule downtime and time for play. Write it in as a part of the day’s schedule if you have to in order to get it.
- Give up your excuses. Quit beating yourself up and get resigned to get things done.
- Don’t be afraid to get coaching from someone you know or respect.
- Remember, the best laid plans have breakdowns. With a good sense of humor, you can accomplish anything.
Thank you so much for your time and these tips, Meredith!