Time Management for Parents

Guest Author: Dr. Tina Root
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day? We do! And if you’re a student or a parent (or both!) it’s easy to see why. According to the Luminia Foundation (2019), 64% of college students work, with 40% of those students working full-time (2019). Today’s students are balancing work, school and family, all of which take time.
That means time management skills are vital for students to succeed. These skills include keeping a watch on how you spend your time, prioritizing your time, and handling daily interruptions.
Evaluate Your Time
How many of us on a daily basis look up and the clock says time to go home but the work on your desk says its 2:00?  One way we can move through our day with an end in sight is to determine how we spend our time.
One short exercise you can try is to log how you spend your time for one week in increments of five minutes. This will allow you to see where you may be wasting time, over scheduling your time or see days where you just plain don’t have enough time.
With today’s technology we should be able to multitask our time. For example, if you had a doctor’s appointment on your log for the week and spent a half hour paying your bills, could you schedule your doctor’s office wait time to pay your bills?
Prioritize Your Time
Many of us over schedule ourselves only to be late for a meeting or event. Perhaps we can look at our log and determine the priorities for our time.
For example, you have just been asked to be the lead parent chaperone for your child’s marching band (and you are already a student, work full-time, the PTO Chair, Boy Scout Leader and Soccer Mom). Perhaps you could practice saying, “Thank you for the offer of being the lead parent chaperone. It is truly an honor, but I have made my return to school a priority for myself and my family. What I could do is volunteer one Saturday afternoon. Please let me know what day I am most needed.”  
By saying this out loud, and to another person, you are validating your priorities.
Plan for Interruptions
Planning for interruptions is another way we can save time.
As a student, planning your study time and location ahead of time can be a huge time saver. Some parents prefer to get up ahead of their family so that they can spend protected time on homework in a quiet location. This also means planning ahead and going to bed early in order to have eight hours of sleep.
Juggling the responsibilities of school, work, and raising a family isn’t for the faint of heart. But practicing a few simple time management skills is sure to help reduce your stress. We hope that these few tips will help you as your time in school flies by.
Luminafoundation.org. (2019). Facts about Today's Students, updated February 2019. [Online]
Available at: https://www.luminafoundation.org/resources/todays-student [Accessed 2 Aug.
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