I have to say, single parent life is hectic. As a single parent, I was having difficulties to balance my life between work, my son and myself. It could be chaotic at first, but don’t worry it is possible to do it. I always felt overwhelmed, as if the things I must do every day never ends. I always feel like I do not have any energy left by the end of the day. When I got home, I just want to sleep. But I am a mom, what is sleep? LOL. I have to take care of my child after work. My routine before was uninspiring and boring.
I reevaluate my daily routine, how can I make my life more meaningful. Star with some adjustment here and there, I figure out how to balance everything out. Find good strategies for time management that suitable for your current situation. Do some trials and errors to see how things can fit together perfectly. As for me, this is how I manage my time as a single parent:
- Set priorities and goals
Set your priorities, write a list of your top priority starts from the crucial things to the least insignificant things. What are the things that are likely to be done first, if it is not immediately done, it could bring more trouble for you later on. For example, saving money every month for your child’s education. To do this you must start preparing it long before your child enters school, it can start 2-3 years before. If you did not make it priorities now when the time comes to enroll you will not have enough money to pay for school.
To be able to save money, what are the things you should do. Maybe bring a homemade lunch instead of eating out every day. Set aside some side jobs if you can to earn extra cash.
I often heard about people’s goals, they want to do this or that. Goals are just goals, nothing serious about it. And I was wrong. You do need to have goals in life, to know things you want to achieve, how to reach it and when you will reach it. Having a goal is like having guidance in life which becomes the basis of your actions.
Write down your priorities and goals to remind you whenever you lost your track. I know, you might think “what for? I can just remember it”. By writing it you making it a serious deal, and of course, you need to follow through your list of things you must do to achieve your goals.
- Use spare time wisely
We all have the same 24 hours a day. On weekdays, there are probably 2 to 3 hours of free time in a day. We actually have more free time than we want to admit. Like those time we use that time to watch TV, reading a gossip magazine, or playing a game on a smartphone. Things like scrolling social media can take up to 4 hours a day. Those four hours just go by without even realizing it.
Instead use I try to use the spare time I have for more beneficial things like reading books, join a seminar or do a Zumba class. I am not saying do not watch TV or youtube or play games. It is completely fine if you want to do it. I like watching youtube too. What I mean is do it moderately, do not waste your time by with binge-watching for hours (I am guilty of this too) or delay your sleep for watching that one more episode.
I think scrolling through social media is the biggest temptation to avoid. It is just endless interesting stuff you can see in Social media, everything just come up, one after another. You can try to limit the uses to certain applications in your phone through screen time in iPhone. For example, put an hour limit of Instagram or facebook on-screen time app, and when you are 5 minutes away from your limit, the phone will remind you. This can helps you track how much time you already spend on social media. Be consistent and follow through your screen time limit.
- Plan your day
Have a habitually routine on an everyday basis. From waking up your child, preparing them to school, driving them to school, getting ready for work, having breakfast, etc. Make a consistent routine where your child can follow over and over again which eventually will become a habit.
Write a to-do list on the night before, what are the things that need to be done in the next day and make sure you get all the things you have written done.
For example: on Monday things you must do are:
- Finishing the project agreement
- Analyze weekly report
- Attend meetings
- Read 20 pages of a book
- Helping your child do a school project
- Allocate learning time
Always find time to learn or create something new. Learning something new to develop a new skill set that might help boost your career. I created this blog to practice my writing skill, and to share my experience in life. Who knows someday I can write a book 😊
I allocate special time to learn through workshops, seminars, classes or listening to a podcast. I try to attend at least one seminar or workshop in a month. Find some interesting class that made you feel happy like cooking class, photography class, cold press soap class or online marketing class.
When I stuck in traffic for an hour or so, I listen to a motivational podcast.
I do not know how many years I have not read books. The last time probably, the Eragon series book, which I only read until the second book btw. I have the third one, but never manage to read it. Nowadays, I try to read at least 1 book in a month. I read about 20 pages in a day, when I got more time, I will read more pages.
- Time for your child
When you have 9 to 5 jobs, you will probably be felt exhausted when you get home. As single parents, when you got home you still have to take care of your child. It is a huge responsibility that you need to pay attention to. When you are at home, put down your phone and give your child your time. Give your child the attention that he deserves. Ask him about his day at school while having dinner together, having a decent conversation every single day is a must. Always listen to him attentively, make sure that your child knows that you care.
Have a good conversation to remind your child that even though you are busy working, you will always have time to listen to their story, help them with their homework and calm them when they are having a bad day.
- Me time
The rare me time. It can be the small things you enjoy doing like chat with your BFF, watching a movie, or going karaoke. The thing is, even when I want to watch a movie, and my son is around, I will pause the movie a lot to do something else. There are many times I could not complete a 30 minutes sitcom because my son keeps calling me. Yep, that is mom’s life, LOL.
I can have more time after he sleeps, but by then it will be too late to watch. It might seem hard, but it is possible. When you already used to the routine, I am sure you will figure it out when is the free time opportunity you can steal for a “me time”.
Single parent life might seem tough, but it all depends on your mind. Why think of it as a burden? When you can think of it as a chance to discover yourself. A chance for you to grow as a better and stronger person. All you have to do is to manage your 24 hours daily with things that can help you to achieve more. When it gets too overwhelming, take a step back and breath, then come back again with a solid mind.