10 Strategies for Working Moms to Maximize Time (And Dads)

By Jendayi Harris

Working moms at times get a bad wrap. But more mothers realize they aren't the stay at home type. And good thing, since working moms are proven to manage households efficiently and effectively. Dads feel an incredible responsibility to their families. Dad involvement is proven to effect self esteem, cognitive ability, and behavioral health. Clearly, parents make an impact.


Here are 10 strategies to help to maximize time as a working parent:


1. Schedule 1:1's with each household member like you would your colleagues. 1'1s are set aside time to connect with your key relationships at home and at work. While they don't have to be super long, make sure they aren't missed. Your children need your full attention to connect with you about their thoughts as individuals. I get testimonials about how a 1:1 with the spouse can help manage the business side of the relationship which makes the rest of the relationship more satisfying. This is because the rest of the week you can focus on each others well-being instead of household issues. The dog doesn't need this scheduled time as much, but your household members will sing your praises.


2. Schedule date night with your spouse. Date night doesn't have to mean going out somewhere. It can be dinner at home, just make time to really connect as humans outside of roles and jobs to enjoy romance. A strong marriage, makes other areas of life easier. It's worth the time investment, planning, and commitment. Couples who have 15 or more quality time hours per week, win at marriage. To win at marriage, is to win at keeping your family together.

3. Make a fun calendar. Yes, fun, it's severely underrated. When things are planned we have a 70% likelihood of completing them. Plan a fun event or activity once a month or quarter that you've always wanted to do. Don't worry about money or energy, because prioritizing fun, helps you gain more of both. When it's scheduled, you'll have something to look forward to on weekends rather than the same ol' movie night. Get active, watch a live musical, hike, take a long walk, para-sail, host a dinner party. Be intentional about enjoying your health, family and friends.

4. Work from home at least one day a week. Most people are derailed, simply because they walked into an office. It's distracting to have drive-by interruptions or a full day of meetings. And, who wants to spend valuable weekend time doing laundry? When you pick a work from home day, make it laundry day and take breaks to straighten up. Ideally it's the same day every week. Make this request, you'll feel the difference. Both your laundry and work task lists will thank you.

5. Plan focused work time during the week day. At least once per week, you need a solid 2-4 hours to hammer out project thinking and highly analytical tasks. Grab a conference room on a floor your team won't find you or shut your office door if you're lucky enough to have one. This necessary time block is postponed to early morning or late night if we don't commit to a time during the work day. Make it your uninterrupted focused time. No distractions. No shiny object syndrome. No instant messenger. Turn off email, the internet and your ringer to get' er done.

6. Commit to daily family time. Commit to certain hours that are work free. One Fortune 500 Marketing VP did it this way, she had an agreement with her work peers, team and SVP to be MIA from 5 to 8pm. During this time she and her family had dinner together and caught up on the day's adventures. At 8pm, she could get work things completed Monday through Thursday, complaint free. Fridays and weekends were only interrupted by truly urgent and important matters.

7. Focus on quality time, not quantity of time. Quality goes out the window the second we pick up cell phones to check email or Facebook in the presence of our loved ones or team members. Quality matters. Look them in the eyes, ask how are you and mean it. Get to know people deeper than the task at hand. If you can't listen, or focus, ask yourself why and make corrections. When anyone is scheduled with you, make them feel like the only person in the world. This will help your brain absorb more of what's important for innovative problem solving. Listening is also considered the highest form of loving.

8. Prioritize sleep. Lack of sleep, is the root of all evil - evil attitudes that is. We don't realize how much we take a lack of sleep out on our waistlines or loved ones. Figure out your perfect evening regime that helps you snooze through the night. Brain functionality of a four hour or less sleeper is similar to a drunk person. Sleep isn't an option, it's a priority if you want to maintain sanity through life's demands. Try out various natural sleep aids, get hormones checked out, reduce sugar, shut down the computers/cell phones and television two hours before bedtime, do whatever is necessary to get your sleep working for you. There's solutions out there for babies to sleep better too, ask around, search amazon but don't be helpless.

9. Enjoy one unstructured work free rest day per week. Personally, I honor the Sabbath, and prefer to do no work Friday sun down to Saturday sun up. You need one of these. Even God worked 6 days a week, then rested a day with no TV, cell phones, or Adam and Eve bugging Him, you need downtime too. The world is always busy. Allow yourself at least one day of unstructured work free time per week if at all possible with soccer, tennis or gymnastics activities.

10. Honor yourself with 5-10 minutes of solitude per day. Quit TV, news and anything else that feeds your spirit negatively. Get quiet in drive time. Don't fill your day with noise, because you can't hear your heart or God's whisper to you. Everyone deserves a few minutes of peace and quiet a day. Turn off the noise for a moment to decompress. Stress compounds, usually because you can't hear what you need. If you can't hear the need, you can't meet the need. Honor awareness gained in quiet for inner peace.

Jendayi Harris speaks at Fortune 500 firms seeking to enrich leaders to align teams and time effectively - by clarifying objectives, projects, email, calendar and task systems - in a proven method to win back 14 hours per week per year, keep a zero inbox, create high performance work teams, and increase profitability by 23%. www.mcgheepro.com

Client results matter to Jendayi. She employs Emotional Intelligence, personality assessment [MBIT, DiSc], Counseling Psychology, business and nearly twenty years in corporate to impact the lives of others. She believes productivity is an inside out matter. Clutter, email hording, and disorganization have just as many psychological roots as it does practical application.

She believes the best thing we can do for our families is to take 100% responsibility for our mind, will, emotions and habits.

She believes it's important to embrace humanness and not seek perfection in productivity, but progress. In her opinion, to love God, our self, and others, is the most productive response to our daily insanity.