It’s not easy to be a parent, an employee, and a student all at the same time. Sometimes, 24 hours just isn’t enough. And you can’t use all those hours just for tasks and errands. You need adequate sleep, too.
Balancing all three is a Herculean task. But there are some strategies you can use to survive being a parent, an employee, and a student.
You can manage your time effectively if you schedule meetings, appointments, errands, and other things.
You can go analog and use a planner. In the monthly spreads, write down all your meetings and deadlines. You can also include your and your kids’ medical and dental appointments, and other important things. The monthly spreads will give you the “big picture” of each month. This will allow you to schedule tasks and errands so that they don’t overlap and you don’t get too overwhelmed.
You can also use the weekly spreads to write down tasks, chores, and other time-bound errands. For example, you can write what time you need to pick up your kids from the daycare center, take them for a medical appointment, and so on.
The good thing about using pen and paper in time management is that you can remember things more easily. This is especially true if you’re a kinesthetic learner. But if you don’t like analog planning, you can always go digital.
There are many free apps you can use to organize your schedule. For example, the Google Calendar app allows you to record schedules by the hour or minute. It even allows you to set reminders. If you have an important meeting, you can set a reminder maybe thirty minutes prior. This will give you ample time to wrap up what you’re doing and prepare for the meeting.
Use the Time Batching Method
When you have to juggle parenting, work, and school, you’re likely to jump between tasks. Unfortunately, switching between tasks lowers your ability to focus and, therefore, makes you less productive. One study found that task switching can take up to 40% of your productive time.
To avoid this issue, consider using the time batching method. This is an effective time-management strategy where you need to group similar tasks. For instance, you can group answering work emails and writing a report since these tasks are mentally similar. This strategy will help you get more things done. You also don’t exhaust your brain too much by switching between mentally different tasks.
Delegate Tasks or Ask for Assistance
There’s only so much you can do in a day. Cramming everything in just 16 hours a day can be dangerous to your health. You might get physically sick and experience burnout. Thus, you should delegate some tasks to others or ask for assistance when you can.
For example, say your partner is less busy than you are. Ask them to do domestic tasks instead so you can cross that off your own list. At work, ask a teammate to help you with a task to finish it sooner. You can also talk to your supervisor and check if you can offload some of your tasks to another teammate or a different team.
Don’t Forget to Rest
It’s easy to get caught up in all the things you need to do. But as mentioned earlier, you can make yourself sick by overexerting yourself every time. You need to make sure that you get adequate rest.
For example, if possible, allot one day when you won’t do anything work-related or school-related. You will only use that day to have quality time with your family. For example, you can watch a movie together, play some games, or do some baking.
You also need to sneak in quality “me time” each day. This break doesn’t have to take long. It can be as short as 10 to 15 minutes so that you can recharge. You can use your break to meditate and do some stretching. If you have a garden at home, check on your plants. You can also just do absolutely nothing. Set a timer, put your phone away, and space out.
Being a parent in itself is already a full-time job. So it’s really no joke to balance it with employment and school. It’s not impossible, but it can be very difficult. But remember that you also shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. With proper time management, willingness to ask for help, and quality breaks, you can definitely succeed in your role as a super parent every day.