Time management: what having children has taught me

I recently became a second time dad and overnight, time management became even more important.

While my kids teach me a lot of things, one of the most vital additions has how to better manage my time – be it work, family, social or personal commitments, here are the top four things my children have taught me about time management:

Turning off notifications: If there is one single thing I have done to better manage time and stay focused it has been turning off that automatic notification for every email. This means I can drop into longer periods of productivity and maintain focus on key tasks in the office – and how did my children teach me this? The desire to make it home for bath time, playtime and story time drives focus throughout the day in order to try and leave the office on time.

Learning to say ‘no’: Ok, this one can be tricky. Whether in the office, at home or socially, I have learnt I can’t just say yes to it all (I tried and quickly found myself overworked, under slept and stressed). Learning what can be constructively deferred, delegated or dropped has allowed to keep focused on adding valuable tasks in the office, balancing family commitments and meeting the odd social obligation – is it a perfect formula? No. There are always periods of intensity, but saying ‘no’ a bit more has helped me balance the load.

Everything ‘as-a-service’: It can be hard to get it all done and we all need a helping hand. I recently needed to a save some money and find a better deal on health insurance – I let an online comparator manage the process, from quotes to transfer, and I was able to do this on my phone while attending to simple domestic duties (that load of washing really needed to be hung out to dry).

Furthermore, we were lucky enough to be given a new household appliance from a friend moving overseas, yet organising a vehicle to pick up, move it and unload it was going to take up a valuable Saturday. The answer? A community driven app allowed me to post the job I needed done, allowed people to bid on the job and I had the service completed from the comfort of my armchair. Sure, I had to spend a nominal amount of cash, but that was worth more than giving up a day out of the weekend.

Injecting Physical Activity: The positive link between physical activity and productivity is well established, yet it can be hard to squeeze in that gym session, run or bike ride with a new or growing family. My kids have taught me that I can involve them in these activities to help make sure I am making time for fitness. Whether it’s going for a run with the pram or doing some cardio while they play at the park, there are many ways you can blend both physical activity and time with the kids – all while instilling some positive role-modelling of staying healthy.

Learning is an ongoing process and my kids will continue to show me ways to better manage my time and maintain productivity across work, family, self and play.

What are your tips to better manage your time?

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7 thoughts on “Time management: what having children has taught me

  1. Thanks for sharing Todd. As a new mum recently returned to work, exercise is falling by the wayside. I’m now looking to bike to work to kill the commute and exercise in one hit – the net impact on my time will be an additional ten minutes each way.

    1. That is great Belinda. An additional ten minutes is negligible in relation to the positive effects this will have on your productivity throughout the day! Again, a brilliant example where we can blend activities to make time for the things that add to our well-being.

  2. Loved the article Todd! As kids are on my horizon soonish and I very much fear not finding time for exercise I really enjoyed your story.

    1. Thanks Simon. I struggled with this at first as well and discovered that as long as you can find some creative ways to do both, you can make it happen!

  3. Thanks for sharing Todd…I have also had to learn to say no more often or renegotiate, and have found out that it is not as difficult or detrimental as it feels when building up to it. However, you have also reminded me that I may need to say yes more often, particularly to exercise!!!! Thank you.

    1. Thanks Catherine and I agree, it can feel more daunting thinking about saying ‘no’ than actually doing it! I believe doing so in a constructive, collaborative manner is key.

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