by Brittany Spragins
As a working mother, I set out on a quest to find a better method of time management. Trying to balance cooking, cleaning, child rearing, work, time with my husband, and some alone time has proven difficult; especially when the nagging voice in the back of my head tells me to keep pushing for career advancement. I was about to resign myself to the thought that I would have to choose one, either wife and mother, or a career woman, when I stumbled across a book by Laura Vanderkam entitled “I Know How She Does It.”
This book looks at the lives of 143 women who make at least $100,000 a year and have at least 1 child under the age of 18 living at home. The biggest secret for them is their ability to manage time. Ms. Vanderkam explains that when you look at life a week at a time, rather than day by day, you can plan better. For example, most women want the same routine every day, but cannot make time for working out 7 days a week. What about having the same weekly routine where you work out 4 days a week, but different times of the day depending on the schedule of other activities? To enable you to mentally change and accept this life changing structure, she recommends keeping a time log. On it, you have your week broken down into 168 hours and you record your time in 30 minute increments. After a week or two of collecting data, look at your time log and decide if this is how you would like to spend your time. Prioritize the time with the essentials and then plan around that accordingly. She recommends looking for areas that you can combine, like working out and watching TV, or engaging in “functional fitness” where you exercise in your everyday activities like taking a brisk walk to your business meeting instead of driving to it.
As you start to learn your tendencies and consolidate overlapping activities, you can plan a week that will enable you to maximize your time with family, be more productive at work, and still enjoy some time for yourself. Once you have a handle on your average week, start dreaming big to see where you can go with all of your extra time.
Think this sounds interesting? Call Langdon & Company LLP today for additional perspective on how to better manage your time and other planning suggestions. Check out more at Laura Vanderkam’s website http://lauravanderkam.com/.
Brittany ([email protected]) is an staff accountant serving in both our tax and audit departments. She focuses on a variety of specific projects that are beneficial to the firm.