Getting a handle on time management can be an ongoing challenge, but today there are a vast number of resources and tools available online to help single parents streamline the process. A great place to start is by creating and maintaining a calendar to help keep track of everything important: work schedules, meetings, doctor's appointments, school activities and payment due dates. Free e-mail services such as those offered by Google and Yahoo! offer easy-to-use calendar tools that also give you the option to set up e-mail or text alert reminders to keep you on track.
Getting in the habit of making to-do lists can also save you both time and stress. Whether you prefer to do so electronically or by hand writing a list, outlining your objectives for the day can make it seem more manageable and help you keep your priorities in perspective. Start your list with the most important items you have to complete and round it out with items that you'd like to get to, but won't sweat too much if they end up shifting to the next day.
Don't forget to make scheduling quality time with your family -- and personal time -- a priority as well. Treat this not as an option, but a necessity. This is where tapping into your support network may come into play. Is there a family member willing to provide free childcare so you can set up a lunch date with a friend? Does your employer allow telecommuting, and if not, can you approach your manager about creating a program? Can you establish a carpool group with other parents from your child's school? Seeking out these opportunities, even those that might seem to make only a small difference at first, can prove to be great timesavers in terms of helping you create more time for yourself and your kids.
For lots more information on managing life as a single parent, follow the links below.
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- Noyes, Amy Kolb. Nontoxic Housecleaning. Chelsea Green Publishing. October 2009.
- Morrison, Patty. "Making Family Mealtime Fun and Easy." West Virginia University. 02/03/2010.http://fh.ext.wvu.edu/r/download/23472
- Peters, Dr. Ruth. "What Chores at What Age? A Guide for Parents." Laying Down the Law: The 25 Laws of Parenting to Keep Your Kids on Track, Out of Trouble, and (Pretty Much) Under Control. 03/31/2005.http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/6980924/
- United States Department of Commerce, Economic and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census. "Children with single parents - how they fare."9/2007.https://www.census.gov/prod/3/97pubs/cb-9701.pdf
- United States Department of Commerce, Economic and Statistics Administration, Bureau of the Census. "Single-Parent Households Showed Little Variation Since 1994, Census Bureau Reports." 03/27/2007.http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/families_households/009842.html
- United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "Get Involved: The Importance of Family Mealtime." 02/03/2010.http://family.samhsa.gov/get/mealtime.aspx
- Yochim, Dayana. "Save $100 on Groceries in Three Easy Steps." Motley Fool. 01/05/2010.http://www.fool.com/how-to-invest/personal-finance/savings/2010/01/19/save-100-on-groceries-in-3-easy-steps.aspx