Wednesday, March 04, 2009

WFMW: Time Management Sheet

For this week's edition of Works For Me Wednesday, I have something very simple that has completely saved my sanity. As many of my readers know, I am a highly organized person who likes predictability and having everything in its place. However, after Elias was born, I had a hard time keeping up with everything. I expected that after the first few difficult months, things would start to resettle, I'd get back into a routine, and it would all be fine. But month after month went by, and I just felt like I couldn't keep up. I could go all day feeling like I was running myself ragged, but then realizing that I didn't actually do any of the things I needed to do that day. It was terrible and I was seriously on the verge of an emotional breakdown. Then, about a month or two ago, when Elias was about 8 months old, a friend gave me something that changed my life.

It's called a Time Management Sheet. It's just a sheet of paper with a column for each day of the week and row for each hour of the day, and you just use it to plan what you're going to do with your time. It's really simple, and I'm shocked I didn't think of something like this on my own, considering my deep love for organization and spreadsheets. (Can I still claim to have New-Mommy Brain?!) So I made my own version in Excel, and I'm going to be really vulnerable here by posting it for you (Click to enlarge.):This is what my weeks look like! I just made the chart and typed in all the things that are the same every week. I print out a new one every Saturday evening, and then I write in all the things that are specific to that week. Then each evening, I plan what I'm going to do with any blank spots that remain for the next day. So when I wake up in the morning, my day is already planned! I just leave my sheet out on the counter where I can always check it to make sure I'm on track for the day.

I use this in conjunction with a monthly wall calendar that helps me remember appointments - I check the calendar Saturday evening when I'm writing things in for that week to see if I have anything that needs to be added. And I also keep a running to-do list so that if I have a blank space that I don't know what to do with, I just check my list and cross something off. This not only helps me remember everything that needs to be done, but it also helps me prioritize to know what has to be done now and what can wait.

This has not only saved my sanity, but it really does help me get things done ON TIME. Since I've started using this sheet, my husband has not once woken up in the morning and not had anything to wear to work that day. My baby has not once run out of clean diapers or out of baby food. I have not missed any meetings or appointments. (And I have not once forgotten to watch LOST!) Seriously, I even sleep better at night because I have the peace of knowing that everything is either done or planned to be done soon.

So although it's simple, it REALLY works for me. If anybody would like me to email them the Excel file with the template for this Time Management Sheet, I'd be happy to. Just leave me a comment here with your email address (or send me an email if you already know my address).


Anonymous said...

I love it, what a great idea. So simply but I can see where it would be so helpful! thank you for sharing

Jessica said...

I've actually tried something like that, but found the kids didn't read the time sheet before making demands. ("No, it's not diaper changing time, it's Mommy's laundry folding time.") The interruptions got me so far behind! Sometimes, it was depressing to realize how little control I had over how I spent my time.

How do you fit interruptions in your schedule?

Eos Mom said...

This would help me so much!!! Please email me the file. I just had my second child in September and feeling much like you were. Now that she's five months old I'm ready to get my act together. THANKS!!

shannonhowl @ yahoo (dot) com

Joni said...

I already talked to Jessica on the phone about it, but I thought I'd post a note in case anybody else has the same question... My answer to her question about interruptions is really that I don't have many yet. I don't attempt to get much done during Elias' playtime - most of the blank spots on my schedule are during his naps or independent crib play time. Since he still naps so much/spends so much time in his crib, I really don't have many interruptions. I'm sure as he gets older, though, and spends less time contained, this will be harder to deal with.

Anybody have any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I'd love you to send that to me, Joni- I'm realizing that I will need this ASAP!

ShooShine said...

This is great, even though I don't have a baby I could really use it!! Please email it to me:


Anonymous said...

Hi Joni, I'm a friend of Rachel Hisel's and I read your blog and saw your template. May I have one? Thanks!! -Jaime