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Organising your Work/Life Diary

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 16 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Organising Your Work/life Diary

Juggling work, family and time for yourself can test the patience and time-management skills of even the most organised mum. Many mothers, even ones who work full-time, are solely responsible for drawing up their children's daily schedules and routines as well as their own, even if they employ a live-in nanny or au pair. Being super-organised is really the only way to make it through the day.

But how can you stay organised, when you have so many competing demands on your time? The best way to stay on top of things is to have a diary. Whether it's a paper diary, an online computer list or one that hangs on the wall in the kitchen is up to you. The best idea is to find one that works for you, then stick with it.

Draw up a Timetable for Every Child

Even if you have a diary, it can be incredibly helpful to have your child's or children's daily timetable available at a glance. Does little Lily have ballet every Friday at 4pm? Write it down. Does Milo have football practice on Mondays and gymnastics on Thursdays? Write it down. Then, when it comes to fitting in different activities that crop up during the week, you know what weekly plans are already set in stone. It's a management skill that really works.

Some mums prefer to have a weekly timetable with all the children's weekly activities written down. This enables them to slot in events that crop up, such as a dentist's appointment. It also is helpful to give to nannies and other caregivers who are looking after more than one child, and will be helpful when you have work commitments that potentially conflict.

Decide on a Diary

Once you have a timetable worked out, you can decide on the type of diary that's best for you. Follow our tips to get one most suited to your needs:

  • Do you need to have a diary with you at all times? Some women prefer always having a diary on hand. If you fit into this category, look to see what type of handbag you carry. A small one merits a small diary, if you carry a briefcase a larger one might be more preferable.
  • Have a virtual diary. Some women prefer having an online diary that can be accessed both at home and at work. Benefits of such a diary include being able to change details at a glance, and easy updates. If you need to, you can always print it and carry it with you, then make updates online at a later date. An online diary is also helpful if you send yourself messages from your phone or BlackBerry to your computer.
  • Wall diaries. Whiteboards are often the best option, and one added plus is that daily schedules are visible to both you and the kids. Just don't let little Millie wipe off an important parent-teacher meeting!
  • Buy a specialised diary for mums. If you would rather leave the organisational skills to someone else, there are several companies online which produce diaries made just for mums, with spaces for every child, contact lists for each child's class, summary pages for other pertinent details etc.

All About You

Organising a diary with the family activities all written down will also leave you time for yourself. Does Billy have a three-hour birthday party to attend on Saturday morning? What a great opportunity to get your roots done! Do you have a three-day conference in Madrid next month? This way your husband/nanny will know about your children's activities at a glance when you're away, and you won't risk them missing anything important.

It can be helpful to also list your personal and working commitments down, then ascertain how much you devote to each one during a typical week. This can help you decide if you are getting the work/life balance right, and it you need to make changes. It might also teach you that you need to delegate more, concentrate on yourself more, or even improve the way you do things.

Diaries work when you make sure to include all aspects of your life within them, leaving time for yourself as well as time for the children, household, work and partner. Organising a diary will allow you to see how things are progressing both on the work and home fronts, and also let you look back and decide on any changes that need to be made in future.

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With so many people having smartphones these days, it just makes sense to use the calendar function on that and sync it with your computer. As you’ll always carry the phone, everything will be right there at your fingertips, no matter where you are, with all classes, appointments and more.
Jane - 3-Oct-12 @ 11:25 AM
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