Time Management for Dads

Dads are busier than ever, but looking at your priorities and where you are spending your time can help you to find ways to automate tasks so you can spend more time on what matters to you.  Here are some tips for Dads to get the most out of their day.

Set your Priorities

This is the most important step.  If we do not know what we want to work towards it all becomes busy work.  To create a list of 3-5 top priorities brain dump everything you want to focus on.  Make a list no matter how small it may seem put it on there.  Now pick your top ten, then 5 then 3.  This is what you want to base your goals and focus.

Just because you narrowed your list doesn’t mean you can’t do tasks related to priorities that didn’t make the cut.  Just focus a majority of your time on your top 3-5.

Another way to determine if you are focusing on your priorities and reduce stress is to do a time audit. Commit to writing down everything you do for a week.  This can be accomplished easily in an Excel spreadsheet.  At the end of the week analyze where you spent your time.  Do any priorities stand out to you?  Are you feeling stress because you are focusing on the wrong things?  Setting your priorities allows you to be intentional about what you fill your days with.

Set up Routines

Routines are the key to productivity and efficiency.  When we set up a routine and maybe even a checklist for more involved tasks it helps us to move on autopilot.  Here are 4 routines every schedule must have:

  • Mornings getting out the door
  • Work Start-Up
  • Work Shut Down
  • Evening

Setting up a routine does not have to be difficult.  You may already have one in place.  Write down what you do naturally for a few days and tweak your natural routine from there.

Time Block

What is time blocking?  When you time block you schedule time on your calendar to perform specific types of tasks.  Is family time a top priority?  Schedule it on your calendar.  Do you work on multiple projects?  Block out time on your calendar for each project and focus only on tasks related to that project.

A couple of blocks that I think should be on everyone’s calendar are time for messages and time for tasks that you keep putting off.  Gretchen Rubin has coined it the power hour.  I have tested this method and can vouch for it wholeheartedly. 

dad juggling kids and trying to stay productive

Defend Your Time

Now that you have set your priorities, worked on your routines, and are time blocking your days we have to protect the time we have created.  It is easy to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way.  It is more difficult to say no for all the right reasons. 

One way to make decision making easier is to create a meta-decision.  A meta decision is an overarching decision that guides smaller decisions.  For example, you may set a meta-decision of only volunteering for your child school if it has to do with soccer or band.  The next time you are asked to volunteer you can easily say yes or no based on your overarching decision.

Eliminate Time Sucks

How many times have you been in a state of flow working on exactly the right thing at the right moment only to have notifications pop up on your screen to distract you and make you lose focus?   I’ve got a secret!  You can turn off those notifications.  On a Windows OS click the notifications/setting panel in the lower right corner of your screen.  Now, click the Focus Assist button.  Notifications silenced!

You can also put your phone on do not disturb.  This is great when you really need to focus and don’t want to be interrupted.  Afraid you’ll miss an important call?  Add the contacts you don’t want to miss communications from to your favorites and they will be able to get through every time.

Multitask

OK, so multitasking is not always the answer and it has been proven to decrease productivity.  There is a right way to multitask though.  Look for spots in your day that are dead spots like waiting in the carpool line or for your next meeting to start.  These are perfect times to sort through emails, catch up on reading, or spending a few minutes in quiet solitude.

Self-care

Taking care of yourself is so important.  Make sure to add time blocks for self-care like going out with the guys or prioritizing sleep.  Taking care of yourself will give you more energy to care for those around you.