How To Manage Your Time Between Work, Kids And Caring For An Elderly Parent |

How To Manage Your Time Between Work, Kids And Caring For An Elderly Parent

A time-management coach shares simple strategies for making life in the ‘Sandwich Generation’ more manageable.

Posted on

1 April 2019

Family time management

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I’ve got two young children and I also have to look after my elderly mother, as well as working – there just aren’t enough hours in the day. How can I cope better with all my ‘Sandwich Generation’ responsibilities?

Clare Evans, author of Time Management For Dummies (John Wiley, £12.99), has partnered with Skipton Building Society to produce tips for time-stretched members of the Sandwich Generation. She says: “To start, you need to know where the balance is out of kilter. Planning ahead will ensure you have a more balanced approach to helping your family.

“Log your time: Make a note of where you spend your time over the next week or so. For instance, how much time are you spending at work, on childcare, cooking, shopping, cleaning or other?

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“Planning: If you want something to happen, you need to plan for it and not just hope for the best. It’s also important to be efficient – are there errands you can do on your way to and from work or in your lunch hour, instead of having to make a special trip? Write down all the things you need to do in a day or week. Seeing it on paper can help make sense of it and put it into perspective. How and when will you do what’s required?

“Simplify your life: Create meal plans at the beginning of the week, so you know exactly what you need to shop for, what to cook and save time having to pop to the shops on the way to/from work because you don’t have anything in. You can also do your shopping online and get it delivered.

“Flexible working: If you don’t already work flexibly, talk to your employer. Changing your working hours to make it easier to look after family needs can be a real bonus. Working from home saves travel and commuting time, which could allow you to gain an extra hour or so each day.

“Find time for yourself: You need to look after yourself, otherwise you won’t be able to look after everyone else. Plan in ‘me-time’ every day – from a quiet few minutes with your favourite book or a cuppa at the end of the day, or even booking a weekend away.

“Don’t do it all yourself: By spreading the load, you can alleviate stress and get the task done more quickly. Even young children can help out with some of the housework around the house, like cleaning up and putting things away.

“Create a support team: Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this may just be a group of friends who can help cook a meal, give you some of that needed ‘me time’, perhaps even run a few errands for you.”