Time is one of our most precious resources. However, if you’re the spouse of a service member, you know how tough it can be to manage your time. Between work, family, and taking care of your home alone at times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Throughout my experience as a military wife and life coach, I’ve developed some tips and tricks to help make the process a little easier. They get to the root of the problem to improve time management skills at the core for sustainable change. Try these five actionable time management tips to start making adjustments today that will immediately impact your relationship with time.
5 Time Management Tips for Military Wives
Time management is essential for military wives, especially during your spouse’s deployment. Whether you’re preparing for deployment or are already in the thick of it, these time management tips can help!
1. Manage Your Mindset to Manage Your Time
Time management starts in your mind–by understanding what you currently think about your time and making adjustments to think differently. Based on your thoughts, who has the control and power over your time? You or time?
Time is mathematical and neutral–everyone has the same amount in the day, and it never changes. Yet, our thoughts about time affect what we believe and the results we experience. When you begin to see your time management challenges as thought obstacles instead of external obstacles, you can take steps to change what you think about the time you have, which will change your experience.
2. Take Back Control of Your Time
To manage your time effectively, you must be in control of your time. If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time,” then there’s a good chance that time has the power, not you. When you feel you don’t have enough time in your day to do things that are important to you, there’s a good chance you’re not in control of your time.
The best way to get the power back in your hands is to take authority over your thoughts about time. Change the phrase to “I haven’t made time.” It shows that you control your time and get to decide what takes up space in your schedule. Once you grasp this mindset shift, you can start to make adjustments to prioritize what matters most.
3. Value Yourself to Value Your Time
How do you manage your time and set priorities? It starts by learning to value yourself. Most of us are unfamiliar with being accountable to ourselves. We are amazing at being accountable to outside pressures, deadlines, consequences, and people. If there’s a deadline at work or school, you get the project done. If you promise your kids a trip to the park, you don’t change the plans. If you commit to volunteering once a week, you show up. Learning how to manage your time means applying this type of accountability to yourself as well, yet we readily break commitments to ourselves.
When you value yourself, you begin to value your time. This looks like sticking to your plans, not letting yourself down, and trusting yourself to follow through. Internal motivation is an important part of time management. So keep time commitments with yourself as if they were a promise to another person.
4. Be Okay with B- Work
If you’re a perfectionist, time management can be extremely difficult and frustrating. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to put amazing things out into the world, perfectionism can hold you back from effective time management. The solution? Be okay with B- work. Give yourself permission to put things out into the world (an email, text, meal, video, your home, your appearance, etc.) that is B- and above. This doesn’t mean you don’t give things valiant effort. It means you give yourself permission to call something done and move on even if it isn’t perfect.
Here’s what I tell myself: “I’m always shooting for A+ work, but I completely accept and love anything that gets a B- grade and above.” Why? Because I’m human. And so are you. If you want to free up space and energy to manage your time more effectively, it’s time to start loving your B- effort as much as you love your A+ work.
LISTEN: Episode 3 – B Minus Work vs Perfectionism
5. Focus on Results over Tasks
Getting things done and creating results feels amazing. I mean, who doesn’t love to cross things off a to-do list and feel super productive and capable? Even still, it’s important to make sure you are in control of your to-do lists. I used to look at my weekly schedule and see what made its way onto my list of things to do. Now, I prioritize my weeks based on what I choose to prioritize, not the other way around. I’ve also stopped asking, “What do I need to get done this week?” Now I ask, “What results do I want to create this week?” Turning your to-do list into a results list makes it easier to define what needs to take place to experience the results you desire.
For example, rather than writing “Work on the yard” on your to-do list, write down the results. “Mow the lawn, weed for 10 minutes, and haul away debris on Wednesday, so my yard is clean and clear for the kids’ Thursday morning playdate.” Creating a results list will help you prioritize your time and remind you why you’re doing it.
LISTEN: Episode 79 – Time Management
LISTEN: Episode 45 – The Balanced Life Myth