Book Balance Myth

A layered approach to time management for working mothers in the dental field

Aug. 20, 2013
Taylor's layered system should work well for mothers

We are always searching for that one magical solution to manage our time and help us feel like a good parent, spouse, employer, boss, or friend. We crave one way to perform better and be more efficient.

However, it takes multiple layered techniques to successfully manage time and integrate work, family, and personal time. Think of it like the layers of clothing, adding or subtracting something as needed, while providing options to personally and professionally thrive.

Since we’re never actually “off the clock,” time management layers help guide the constant ticking for greater success and enjoyment. Layers also provide choices, and more choices eliminate frustration, which can lead to a “mommy meltdown,” or even a meltdown for your kids and employer.

The following five time management tips will help mothers manage their time at home and in the office, to help them excel in both places. They are written from my personal and professional experiences and shared in my book, The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success.

My Layer No. 1: Set time limits
Just how do you “make the time” to accomplish everything on your list? Since the list is only effective if the items on it can be realistically completed, assign a time limit for completing each item on your list. Be present in what you’re doing, finish it, and move on. I have my list, and I assign time slots to it. If I have one hour to work on a presentation at work or one hour to clean at home, I do the best I can for that one hour.

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My Layer No. 2: Stay in the moment
When you’re at work in a meeting, be there. When you’re at home with your kids, be there. If you’re in a business meeting, don’t wish to be somewhere else. Be present where you are, and don’t feel guilty about where you’re not.

My Layer No. 3: Create one calendar
I used to keep two calendars – one for home and one for work. But, I was missing work deadlines, my kids’ activities, and other events. So I combined the calendars, which caused me to start talking about my family at work and integrating my two lives. It’s one life and one calendar! And now I don’t miss a thing.

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My Layer No. 4: Watch the clock
It sounds simple, but an awareness of time gives you superpowers! In every meeting, errand, chore, and task, pay attention to how much time “until” and how much time “since.” Many of us use our phone as a clock these days, but a wristwatch helps you manage your time better.

My Layer No. 5: Systemize childcare
When we have childcare in place on certain days for certain hours, we can define that time for work and/or for ourselves. With numerous back-up and contingency plans, we can also secure and systemize the value of childcare and the predictability of planning for that time.

Find your layers, and then integrate them. The right combination will help you manage your time while feeling successful at home, at work, and in life.

Teresa Tayloris a nationally recognized, Fortune 200 executive who brings integrity, focus, vision, and agility to corporate leadership, while advising companies, government agencies, and others on a successful business model. Her book, The Balance Myth: Rethinking Work-Life Success is inspiring women to succeed professionally and personally.