With parenting comes a million tasks, competing interests, and hectic days. In this article, you’ll learn how prioritizing your time can help you get more done in less time!
If you’ve been struggling to find time for yourself while juggling kids’ activities, home duties, and other commitments, you’re in the right place. Below you’ll find…
- Inspirational podcast episodes.
- Helpful videos.
- Coaching services that help parents with time management.
By using simple strategies such as making a priority list and scheduling your day in advance, you can utilize your time more efficiently and free up more time to do what matters most. But before we simply add all the different tasks to your list, the first thing you’ll want to do is examine what’s on that list!
Prioritizing Your Time & Your Child’s Education
Every parent has a lot of responsibility on their plate, and as homeschooling parents, we have one additional responsibility.
You are 100% responsible for your child’s education.
Regardless of your style of homeschooling, your children’s education is essential.
To do this important work, we must prioritize our time well.
You already know that prioritizing your time is important, but putting this idea into action is easier said than done.
If you’re like many parents, you’ve struggled with the many responsibilities of being a parent. Fitting the daily tasks that must be completed into the 168 weekly hours can be challenging. However, when you use effective methods and prioritization strategies, you can simplify your week.
This article will help you prioritize what’s most important so that you get the most out of each day and homeschool your kids successfully.
Prioritize the Essential, Keep the Fun, Eliminate the Rest
Overall there are three types of tasks.
- Important tasks you really need to do.
- Things you enjoy doing.
- Other things you think you need to do, but when examined, you don’t actually need or want to do these tasks.
It’s true, you do want to feed your kids. You do need clothing. And you do need shelter. Education is essential. And you do like to have fun.
However, you don’t really need so many clothes, and you don’t really have time to do all the fun things. And like it or not, you might not actually be using all of those educational supplies.
Don’t we all have a closet full of good intentions? You know, that awesome game your kids never play or the art project you will finish someday?
Haven’t we all been guilty of crowding our lives with activities that don’t serve us and things we don’t need, use, or want?
Learn More About HomeSchool ThinkTank
Before we go any further, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Jackie, and I’m a homeschooling mom. I’m also a licensed educator, a life coach, and the founder of HomeSchool ThinkTank.
Like you, I’ve been an overwhelmed parent, and truth be told, I sometimes still feel overwhelmed. However, through life coaching and life itself, I’ve learned skills that help me move through the overwhelm so that I can better prioritize how I use my time.
I aim to share what I’ve learned to help parents like you find the best way to make better use of your time.
Start with Vision or Start With Your To-Do List
I know you want to get straight to managing your time and stopping the overwhelm. And we’re going to do that. But to do this in a long-term strategic way, I believe it’s a good idea to do three other things as well.
Here’s why I think you need to do these things to have long-term success at prioritizing your time. If you want to prioritize, you need to have a vision for where you’re going. Without vision, how do you know what your priorities are?
In first-world countries, most people have far too many items and try to do too many things. Becoming a minimalist with your stuff and time is essential to eliminating the overwhelm from your life.
Why do you need a life coach? Changing your habits is harder than it should be. If you want to change your life, you have to change your habits, and that requires changing your brain.
A life coach can help you shift your mindset so that you can create a vision for your life, stop the overwhelm, and improve your life.
To learn about creating a vision for your life, minimalism, or life coaching, see the bullet points a few paragraphs up.
- If you’re ready to prioritize your current to-do list, you can start doing this on your own here.
- To make progress more quickly, sign up for a coaching session here.
Your Guide to Planning & Prioritizing Your Time
Prioritizing what’s important and planning will save you massive amounts of time and help reduce the feeling of overwhelm in your life.
If you are feeling unorganized and scattered, then take a little time to apply the lessons that are taught in this article. You’ll also find relevant podcast episodes further down this page.
When you repeatedly implement this step-by-step guide to prioritizing your time, you will make progress.
Remember that progress is better than perfection.
HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast Episodes for You
On the HomeSchool ThinkTank Parenting Podcast, we share two podcast episodes each week.
On Mondays, our episodes are about your mindset. Each Wednesday, it’s all about homeschooling and parenting.
Here are a few podcast episodes that relate to prioritizing your time.
- Prioritizing Your Time: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents
- Plan Your Next Day – Get More Out of Each Day
- Your Homeschool Schedule
- Taking Care of Business
- How to Plan for Three Wins Each Day.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Prioritizing Your Time
Before we get started, be forewarned that it would be easy to get stuck in the beginning steps.
Here’s a suggestion: write down what comes to mind quickly. Don’t get bogged down with details.
When you go through this exercise weekly, you’ll have regular opportunities to reflect, redirect, and refocus.
This is a cyclical process, one that you will repeat over and over again.
Prioritizing your time will get easier and quicker each time you implement the process.
Step One: Reflect, Redirect, & Refocus
Look at how you really spend your time. Start by making a master list of everything you do each week. Include every big and little thing that you can think of.
Organize this list into various sections. Some categories that come to mind are kids, personal, home, marriage, work, social time, errands, and driving time.
Next, take an educated guess about how much time you spend on each activity. If you want a more accurate account of where and how you spend your time, log your time over the course of a week.
What are the thoughts and feelings that come to mind when you look at where your time is going? While you might want to judge yourself, consider being curious instead.
Ask yourself, “Why?”
Why are you spending your time as you do? When you ask, “Why?” you’ll reflect on how you spend your time.
As you reflect, consider which tasks allow you to give the most value. What tasks do you receive the most value from?
Step Two: Become Outcome Aware
Consider the end result of the activities and tasks you currently spend your time on.
Will they benefit you or your family at the end of the day, the week, the month, or the year?
Consider which activities have a REALLY LONG TERM BENEFIT.
Which of the activities will your family still benefit from after three, five, ten, or twenty years?
Do you have aspirations for yourself or your family that you don’t spend time on?
Is there anything that you should be doing each week that you aren’t doing?
The purpose of this exercise is to simply become aware of what will happen if you keep doing what you’ve been doing with your time.
You might find that you need to make adjustments to how you are spending your time if you want different results.
Step Three: Brainstorm Your Goals
Think about what you want out of life. Write down everything that comes to mind.
- What will matter at the end of the month, year, and even ten or twenty years later?
- Your long-term goals for yourself and your family.
- How you can make progress toward your long-term goals over the next year? Write down any ideas that come to mind.
- What small, specific steps can you take toward your long-term goals over the next three months?
- How achieving your goals will impact your life.
Finally, make a plan to track your progress as you strive to reach your goals.
Step Four: List Your Priorities
Make a list of all of the people, projects, hobbies, work, and tasks that are important to you.
- Circle three to five items and people you want to focus on over the upcoming weeks or months.
- Did you add yourself to the list? If you want to prioritize yourself, you’ll want to include yourself.
- From the circled items, make a new list with your highest priority at the top of your list.
Remember to limit your list to five items and people or groups of people, then go to step five.
Do You Have Questions About Homeschooling?
Step Five: Plan to Achieve Your Goals
Start by scheduling your top priority item. Then schedule your number two, three, and so forth.
Since you have kids, you can plan for the unexpected in several ways.
- Allow extra time for nearly everything.
- Plan an extra slot of time to complete tasks that were interrupted due to your parenting responsibilities.
- Break complex tasks that take a lot of time into smaller tasks and steps.
As for the items and people that didn’t make the top five, you’ll have to make some decisions.
- Only add the lower-ranked items after you’ve added your priorities to your calendar.
- Prioritize these items on a different day, week, or month.
- Delegate these tasks to someone else.
- Eliminate the tasks completely.
There are only so many hours in a day, and this process will be difficult, but that’s alright. As you go through this exercise each week, you’ll begin to chip away at the tasks that need to be done. Eventually, you will gain more control over your life.
Warning: You Might Feel More Overwhelmed (Initially)
It’s likely that when you put pen to paper, you’ll feel more overwhelmed. You may realize that there isn’t enough time to do all the things you want and need to do. You may even feel like there isn’t enough time to spend with all the people you care about.
This is a sign that you need to start making decisions that will lead to a life that feels less overwhelming to you. This is why it’s important to have a vision for your life.
When you have a vision for the future that you want, then you’ll begin having the clarity you need to design a more intentional life.
Step Six: Follow Your Plan the Best You Can
Effective prioritization and planning are great, but implementing your plan will get you the results you want.
With that being said, we all know that when you have kids everything doesn’t always go as planned.
The key to planning with kids is having a routine, letting your kids know what to expect in advance, and leaving buffer time around transition times.
If you haven’t been a planner in the past, this will take some effort. Don’t expect miracles the first week. Expect a little frustration, a little progress, and a lot of learning on your part.
Remember to reflect, redirect, and refocus when you take time for your next weekly planning session. You are looking for progress, not perfection. Your plan is a roadmap that will have construction and detours along the way.
How to Actually Follow Your Plan
Creating a plan is just the first step. The next step is to learn to trust yourself and know that when you were planning, you were thinking of your future self and making a plan that was in service to you and your family.
Everyone is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. However, here are some ideas that might help you follow the plan you made for yourself.
- Use a paper or digital calendar to remind you of your plan.
- Write your daily plan on a whiteboard that’s in a highly visual location of your home.
- Understand that you probably won’t want to follow your plan.
- Allow yourself to feel like not following your plan, then follow your plan anyway.
- If you’re trying to create a new habit, do it after a habit that’s already well-established.
- Start slowly.
If you haven’t historically been a planner who prioritizes your time, give yourself grace. If you don’t follow your plan one day, don’t use this as an excuse to give up. Simply make appropriate adjustments and follow your plan the next day.
Circle Back to Step One: Reflect, Redirect, and Refocus
This is a cyclical process. The more frequently you repeat these steps, the easier it will get to prioritize your time.
When you take the time to plan, you are more likely to spend your time in a way that is fulfilling and in a way that helps you fulfill the vision you have for your life.
As You Create Your Next Plan
- Reflect on what works and doesn’t with your plan.
- Redirect or improve where you can.
- Refocus on the upcoming plan.
When you do the things that are most important to you and spend time with the people you care most about, you will feel more fulfilled.
Creating new routines can be difficult, get the support you need and sign up for a coaching session.
How to Get Started with Prioritizing Your Time
While you can re-read this article and think that this all sounds nice, consider actually doing the steps that have been laid out in this article. Here is the very first step you need to take.
- Plan for one hour of solitude and keep this appointment with yourself like you would for an important appointment.
During your one hour of solitude, these are the recommendations that I have for you.
- Leave your laptop closed and power off your phone.
- Have a notebook & pencil handy.
- Set a timer and create the best plan you can in the time you have scheduled for yourself.
- Skip creating your vision plan and learning about minimalism in your first planning session. Plan to complete these steps at another time.
- Click here to go to Step One: Reflect, Redirect, & Refocus
During this planning session, remember to plan for the next planning time. I recommend setting aside a weekly time of solitude to think and plan for each week. If you follow this procedure regularly, it will likely become the most important hour of your entire week.
Review: Step-by-Step Guide to Prioritizing Your Time
In summary, when you are prioritizing your time, remember these six steps:
- Reflect, redirect, and refocus.
- Be outcome aware.
- Brainstorm your goals.
- List your priorities.
- Plan to achieve your goals.
- Follow your plans the best you can.
Essentially, you want to align your tasks and activities with your goals and highest priorities. Eliminate almost everything out of your life that won’t matter in a year. Look at the big picture.
The most important thing is to spend your time in ways that move your life and your family’s life forward in the way that you envision.
Prioritizing by Urgency
Now that you’ve made thoughtful decisions about what is and is not important in your life, you’ll want to prioritize the most important tasks first. If you follow this plan regularly, you’ll eventually have fewer tasks that are urgent. While many things are important, good planning combined with the discipline to follow your plan will lead to fewer urgent tasks.
Prioritizing Your Time by Saying “No”
Finally, there is another concept that bears mentioning as you work on prioritizing your time better.
On any given day, you’re likely to have multiple requests made of you. Rather than picking up a new project or busy work without thought, learn to kindly say “No” or “Let me think about it.”
We’re not just talking about your kids here. We’re talking about family, co-workers, friends, and other well-meaning people. As a homeschooling parent, you may be the first person many people ask for favors. It’s your responsibility to establish healthy boundaries.
When you say “Yes,” to one thing that takes a block of time in your calendar, you are saying “No,” to something else that would fill that block of time.
Are you looking for more ways to motivate yourself and achieve the success you desire? Below, you’ll find helpful ideas and inspirational podcast episodes with simple goal-setting tips that you can use today!
Goal Setting Tips for Achieving the Success You Want
Setting goals is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on track to achieving the success you desire. Whether it’s a homeschool-related or personal goal, these simple goal-setting tips and inspirational podcast episodes are sure to help jumpstart your journey!
Write Down the Feelings You Need to Generate to Follow the Plan You Created for Yourself
Each morning write down three feelings that you need to generate to achieve the results that you want to achieve in your day.
This might seem strange, but you can choose the feelings that you want to create for the day.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have 100% success, but you’ll become keenly aware of how your thoughts create your feelings.
Make sure the feelings you choose align with the results you want from your day.
Consider writing your feelings down on sticky notes and putting them where you will see them several times a day.
Create, Record, & Listen to Your Own Priorities
If you thought it was strange that you might be able to generate your own feelings, you’ll probably find the idea of recording your own voice to be really odd. You can certainly dismiss the idea, or you can give it a try and begin to see the difference it makes.
In the podcast episode below, you can learn more about creating your own affirmations.
Once you’ve written down and completed the steps in the podcast episode, open up the voice recorder app on your phone and record the outcomes you want, your goals, and your priorities.
Listen to your recording twice every single day. If you feel odd about this, pop your ear buds in and nobody else will hear you listening to a recording of yourself!
Start Making Progress
When you take the action steps that we’ve described in this article, you’ll begin making progress toward achieving the goals you’ve set.
As homeschooling parents, it’s important that we set ourselves up for daily success.
When you put the action steps in this article into action, you’ll begin seeing more progress as you strive to achieve the goals that you’ve set for yourself.
Podcast Episodes to Help You Achieve Your Goals
- Taking Action
- Creating a Habit of Gratitude
- Life Coaching for Homeschool Parents
- Thinking Rationally at a High Level
- How to Create Feelings That Help You Achieve Your Goals
Journal Your Thoughts Each Morning
When you wake up each morning, take a few minutes to write down anything that’s on your mind.everything that you want to accomplish in the day. Ideally, you’re referring to your calendar. However, if you didn’t create your weekly plan, then thinking for a few minutes in the morning is better than proceeding through your day without a plan.
Book a Coaching Call
Are you a homeschooling parent who needs help with planning? Can you say “Yes” to any of these questions?
- Are you struggling with making a plan that works?
- Do you create a plan and then forget about it?
- Do you have difficulty saying “No” to the requests of others?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to any of these questions, or you’re struggling with homeschooling, then coaching might be for you.
- Book a one-on-one coaching call.
- Sign up for our coaching program for homeschooling parents.
- Join our email list to access our live Zoom calls and ask questions about homeschooling.
What’s the Purpose of a Calendar?
What’s the purpose of a calendar? The purpose of a calendar is to remind you of the plans you’ve made for yourself and your family. When you plan ahead of time, you are thinking at a higher level and are making decisions that are in your best interest. Use a calendar to remind you of the plans that you’ve made for yourself and your family.
Calendars You Might Like: The Family Wall Calendar
- We like the wire-bound easy hanging feature.
- The large daily blocks are easy to write in.
Our Favorite Daily Planners
- Monthly planning blocks.
- Daily top 3 priorities section.
- Daily schedule.
- Daily to-do list.
- Daily gratitude.
- The smaller size is small enough to carry or fit in your purse but big enough to actually use.
- If you want a planner that has more space for notes, then choose the bigger size.
The Pomodoro Method
In this video, you’ll learn how you and your kids can use the Pomodoro Method to manage time better.
You Might Also Like These Articles & Podcast Episodes
- Are you a mom? Get 45+ ideas to take better care of yourself.
- How to start homeschooling your kids.
- Discover fun math games that your family will love.
- Learn about our support program for homeschooling parents.
- Sign up for the workshop: Homeschool Your Kids with Confidence.
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