Time Management!

Cleaning Windows - Dividing up household tasks saves timeBelieve it or not it is time to plan our fall schedules. With school started and summer activities coming to an end schedules are changing. Does your family have a system for getting work done and still have time to participate in all the family activities? Time management for getting jobs done is important. Each family’s system will be different. Some will be very detailed while others will be simple. The plan or system may include a list of jobs, when they need to be done and who will do them. Family members may have certain tasks they prefer to do or the plan may include assigning jobs to certain people.

When making out a plan there are four basic ways to get the household work done:

  1. Do it yourself. While it may make logical sense for the person who has the resources (time, skill, talent, knowledge) to do it, common sense says if one person tries to do it all, overload will result.
  2. Give the job away to other household members. Keys to the successful giving away of a job include:
    • Teach the person how to do the job, including shortcuts.
    • Have the best tools, supplies and equipment for doing the job.
    • Consider what household work a person already does.
    • Realize others may not meet your standards, but if you have truly given up the job, accept your standards no longer apply.
    • Praise people; let them know their work is appreciated.
  3. Hire someone to do the job. Pay a household member or someone outside the household to wash windows or clean the garage.
  4. Don’t do it. Does the task need to be done at the moment? Can it be done later or assigned to someone else.

Now let’s look a specific household work categories and time management tips to get work done.

HOME/YARD/CAR CARE. Set a certain time as house cleaning time for everyone. All family members over the age of three can be responsible for their own bedrooms. Wipe the bathroom sink after each use. Clean the tub or shower before you get out of it. Change filters on the heating/cooling system frequently to cut down on the amount of house dust. Keep multiple sets of cleaning supplies and equipment especially if the house has more than one level. Keep lawn care equipment in top-notch working order. Schedule the next routine car service appointment each time you pick up the car left for servicing.

SHOPPING/MANAGEMENT. Run several errands at the same time. Have a place to collect backpacks, briefcases, papers, money, etc. the night before. Do as much routine shopping (bedding, underwear, footwear, etc.) as possible by telephone or mail. Organize important papers and records in a filing system.

FOOD TIPS. Develop and use a rotating menu system which can include complete meals or just main dishes. Photocopy a master shopping list so you just have to check off needed items. Do only one large shopping trip each month for basics and staples. Get everyone in the habit of rinsing dishes immediately after use.

CLOTHING/LAUNDRY. All family member can help with laundry. Those above the age of three put away their own laundry. Younger children can help fold easy items. Make it a practice to put away coats, boots, etc. as soon as possible when entering the house.

HOUSEHOLD MEMBER CARE. When supervising baths or homework, dove-tail with other activities such as cleaning cabinets, checking supplies, mending, list making, ironing, washing dishes, or doing personal grooming. Use a master calendar to schedule transportation of family members.

Remember all family members live in the home and it is their responsibility to help keep it in order. Regardless of the number of family members, discuss the work needing to be done around the home. Talk about schedules and skills of each member. All family members will have more leisure time and time to enjoy each other if they share the tasks and help to complete them.

For research-based information from Nebraska Extension, check out these Nebraska Extension NebGuides:

Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator
Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County

This article appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper – August 2015

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