5 Time Management Hacks for Busy Parents During the School Year

The return to school after a long summer break can be met with mixed feelings. Whether you and your child are eagerly anticipating new beginnings, apprehensive about the transition, or wishing there were a few more weeks off, most families will agree that the start of term is always a busy time! As you navigate new routines, balancing your career with ensuring your child’s school year gets off to the best start, we’ve compiled some time management hacks for busy parents.

  1. Set a Timer for Tasks

In a world full of distractions (and as a busy parent) it can be all too easy to fall off task. When a work email comes through, a social media notification pops up, or you remember something else that needs doing, these distractions can all take us away from the moment.

Setting a timer to complete tasks such as chores, for example, can help you to remain focused and be more productive. Where possible, also try to communicate with the rest of your household that this is something you’re going to try implementing in order to minimise distractions further.

Similarly, you might also want to try the ‘two-minute rule’. This is a hack to avoid procrastination, whereby if a small task will take two minutes or less, try and accomplish it now! This could be folding laundry, tidying your desk, or responding to an email for example. Instead of putting it off and having these small tasks pile up, attempt to achieve it there and then.

  1. Plan Weekly Meals

Deciding what to have for dinner can be a chore in itself after a long day at work! And especially with a family, it’s not always simple planning food for the week, with indecisiveness and differing preferences. But planning ahead can save you time on midweek meals. Instead of specifically setting set meals for set days, though, why not plan the meals you’ll be having for the week, choosing on the morning of what you’ll be having? This way, you’ll be able to prepare what you can before school or work starts and have less to do when you return home.

You might even want to take it one step further and batch cook for the week. Taking a few hours out on a Sunday evening to prepare meals for the week means that on the day, all you’ll have to do is defrost dinner.

  1. Online Shopping

With a child, shopping might take much longer to do than it did before! To save time, you might want to think about switching to an online shop, be it for food, or gift shopping. This way, you can save time through avoiding queues, easily compare prices instead of visiting various different supermarkets, and create lists of your favourite, regularly purchased items so you can shop them over again.

  1. Identify Daily Priorities

To-do lists can be a fantastic organisational tool. But as the day gets busy and new demands come your way, your daily checklist can soon be forgotten about. Setting up non-negotiables can help with time management though, by identifying what must be done for the day. This way, the rest of your list can be viewed more as ‘desirables’, that won’t always be met. It’s great if they can be, but you know they can be faced again tomorrow. This method can also be good for helping you to achieve more family time, forcing you to enforce boundaries in the workplace to avoid working overtime on projects that don’t have an immediate deadline.

  1. Acknowledge That Perfect Doesn’t Exist

It can be difficult to let go of perfectionist tendencies, especially when you take pride in the work you do. At times, perfectionism can have its benefits such as being driven, able to strive to be the best version of yourself and having a high level of attention to detail. Ultimately, however, perfection doesn’t exist and holding yourself to such high standards, be it with your personal or professional goals, can have disadvantages.

For example, time management is often a problem for perfectionists, as they want to put their all into what they’re focused on, and in turn, lose track of what else needs to be done. All parents want the best for their children, but realising that sometimes things won’t go as they planned can help you to gain a better balance.