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FCS2143 Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time1 Millie Ferrer2 Overview Only 24-hour Days: If there is one thing single parents can get stressed about, it is lack of time to meet all their responsibilities. Most say they have too little time and too much to do. Learning to manage time is a problem for most people--not just single parents. To have enough time to do the things that are important to us, we need to learn to control and manage our time. Everyone has 24 hours a day; no one can get more. However, we can learn to use these hours more wisely. We can make a promise to ourselves to take control of our time. We can learn to cut out less important activities in order to free up ti me for more important ones. Sometimes events, other people, and our feelings keep us from accomplishing what we want. Everybody has a few of these barriers--barrier s that take up time that we could be using to reach our goals. Let us look at some barriers and see how they relate to you. Put a check in the box that best describes your habits. Then, read "Ways to Change" column in. 1. This document is FCS2143, one in a series of the Family, Youth and Community Sciences Departme nt, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original Publication date: December 1999. Reviewed March 2 003. Reviewed May 2007 by Heidi Radunovich, Assistant Professor, Family, Youth and Community Sciences. Please visit the EDIS Website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu 2. Millie Ferrer, Ph.D. associate professor, Hu man Development,, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Scien ces, University of Florid a, Gainesville, FL 32611. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educ ational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discriminatio n with respect to race, creed, co lor, religion, age, disabilit y, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions, or affiliations. U.S. Department of Agricultur e, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Larry Arrington, Dean
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 2 Table1. Barriers to Clock Control Barriers Always Sometimes Rarely Ways to Change Procrastinationputting off until later what needs to be done now. Give yourself a reward for meeting a deadline. Perfectionismwhen nothing but perfect performance is accepted. Know when to say its good enough. Try for excellence and let others worry about perfection. Fear of Saying No -worrying about how others will react if you say no to doing a task. Learn to say no politely, but firmly, to requests that do not help you meet your goals. You cant do it all. Cluttertoo many unorganized things that reduce effectiveness. Avoid piling things up and/or moving them for no reason. Preoccupation with Pasttoo much concern with former events, good or bad. Stop thinking about the past. Think about the future and work toward it. Other Major Ti me-Wasters: Unrealistic time expectations Spending too much time o the telephone Spending too much time watching TV Not using short blocks of time constructively Breaks that turn into vacations Impatience In overcoming these barriers, you free up time for enjoying life. You also improve the lives of your children as you work toward your life goals. Work on Your Goals It is important that you take time to set goals for yourself as well as for your family. Setting goals will help you focus on what you want to achieve. Having goals can help you avoid wasting time. When you plan what you want for yourself and your children, you will feel more secure about the future and the present. There are different kinds of goals. Some goals (such as taking the family to the beach for a weekend) require that you save money to achieve them. Other goals require time and commitment. For example, you might want your family to be more physically active. Planning how to achieve this goal might mean having the family take walks or ride their bikes or 30 minutes, three times a week--instead of watching TV.
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 3 Goals can be short-term or long-term-be sure to set both kinds. Goals are not set in stone. They can be re-evaluated and changed to fit the demands and events of life. The important thing is for you and your family to have goals written down and posted where they can be seen. Writing them down keeps you on track of what you want to get done. Regularly allow small blocks of time for working toward your goals. Even if it's for 15 or 30 minutes, you will feel you are working toward reaching a goal you value. Pay Your Day or Week While planning takes time at the beginning, it saves much more time in the long run. Without a written plan, many times we go around in circles. Set aside a small part of every day for planning and reviewing your plan. When? You could do it early in the morning before the kids are up--or before you go to bed at night. You will sleep better knowing that the activities you want to do are on the list. You won't have to worry about forgetting them. To plan, make a list of the activities you need to get done during the day or the week--and rank--or prioritize--them. Create a Stuff-to-Do List: 1. _______________ ____________ 2. _______________ ____________ 3. _______________ ____________ 4. _______________ ____________ (See Activity 1) and train yourself to rank your goals: A. must do (very important) B. ought to do (semi-important) C. hope to do (not too important) Do your must do activities during your prime time. This is the time you have a lot of energy. Figure out when that is. Some people have most energy early in the day. Others are more active in the afternoon. St ill others are night owls. Which are you? Whenever possible, spend your prime time using your creative thinking to work on your hardest jobs. Remember, make sure you plan some time during the day (even if it is for 15 minutes at first) to work toward your goal/s. Eliminate time bandits. Many of us spend too much time on C items. Often it's because they are more fun than A items (like paying bills on time). Another time thief is C items pretending to be B items. For example, you might put on your list "clean house thoroughly". Take a look at this. Here's a C trying to be more important than it is. And it will behave like a time-consuming B if you let it. Don't let it.
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 4 Recognize that 1) you don't have to do every cleaning task yourself. 2) You can assign some of the work. Have your child/ren help you. (When you give jobs to children, consider the skills and abilities of each child. Don't expect perfection. Instead, think, "What is more important, having a spotless house or spending time with my children?" ) 3) When you continue these behaviors, you will be teaching children a sense of responsibility. Let them know it is important that they help. Explain to them that when they help out, the family can have more time together doing fun activities. And that, yes, cleaning up the home can have shared, pleasurable moments in it. Do not forget to put on your list any shortterm or one-time activities that will help you reach one of your written goals. For example, if one of your long-term goals is going back to school, you will need to break the goal down into smaller, workable parts. You might put on your to-do list for today the small task of calling two schools for information on a program you are interested in. Be sure to mark it as an A activity Don't forget to put ti me for yourself on your to-do list. This is vital! You need quiet time, time to exercise, time to spend with friends. Your children will benefit when you are relaxed and happy. When the unexpected interrupts your time plan, don't panic. A time plan isn't magic. When it's temporarily on hold, practice laughing at yourself and human nature. Enjoy all the positive things you have achieved, even if it is only one item on the list.. Having a positive attitude is a key for success as a single parent. And, it's a wonderful feeling to cross out items on your to-do list as you complete them. Time Savers There are many ways you can make the most of your time. Read these suggestions-and add your own if you feel like it. Make a decision to try out three to five of these time-savers. Check of f your favorites. Keep a notebook and calendar with you at all times. Use them for listing appointments, tasks to complete, important telephone numbers, and a shopping list. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Don't waste time thinking of all the things that have to be done, or that you have no control over. Tune out interruptions. Focus your energy into the task at hand. Create your own quiet zone. Use waiting time wisely. Accomplish small chores while you wait. Read, write letters, make that shopping list. Teach yourself to look at waiting time as a gift of time rather than a waste of time. Start your day by getting up a halfhour early a few days a week. Schedule appointments on the same day. For example: schedule dental
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 5 check-ups and annual physicals so the entire family can go together. Batch meal preparation. Make extra meals on weekends and freeze them for the week ahead. Take advantage of specials on products and services. Occasionally meals purchased at carry-out restaurants can serve as a special treat for the family. And can also save a lot of time in the kitchen. Post a list of main dishes as a reminder of what's planned for each night of the week. Make a special place to put reminders and notes. Make a list of emergency and important phone numbers and post them in that spot --or near the phone. Buy clothes that don't need ironing. Get everyone low-maintenance haircuts. Start working early enough to avoid a last-minute rush. New things take longer than we think they do. If you have ot her ideas put them here: __________________ ______________ __________________ ______________ __________________ ______________ __________________ ______________ __________________ ______________ (For further details see Activity II) Whats Next? If you are still having a hard time managing your time, you will need to take a harder look at where your time is going now. (For further details, see Activity III) Keep a log for several days of how you spend your time. Find out exactly where your time goes. This time log will provide a record of both job and leisure activities. Plan how you're going to use your time more skillfully. List those things you will stop doing to make room for the things you will start doing to help meet your family goals. In addition, your county Cooperative Extens ion office can give you more information on time management. There are many publications and packaged programs that are available to you. If the Cooperative Extension office doesn't have the information you need, someone there will help you find the necessary resources. Contact your local Cooperative Extension office for educational help. They are listed in the white pages of the telephone book. Reference List Barkas, J.L. 1984. Creative Time Management. Prentice-Hall. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. 151 pp. Bradshaw, Eva. 1996. Life Time. How Can You Find More Time to Relax. Vol. V:(3). Ohio State Univ. Exten. Columbus. Mackenzie, R. A., and K. C. Waldo. 1981. About Time. McGraw-Hill, NY, NY. 242 pp. Paynter, Mary Ann. 1988. Parenting on Your Own: When There's Not
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 6 Enough Time. N. Cent. Reg. Exten. Urbana, IL. Pub. 282d. Temke, Mary W. 1997. Single Parenting: Not Enough Hours in the Day? Univ. New Hamp. Coop. Exten. Serv. Durham, NH. Walker, Katey. 1986. Making the Most of Your Time. Fla. Coop. Exten. Serv., IFAS, Univ. Fla., Gainesville. HFS 7003. Walker, Katey and Nayda I. Torres. 1995. Time Management for Busy People. Fla. Coop. Exten. Serv., IFAS, Univ. Fla., Gainesville. HE 7043. *Success and the Single Parent uses he his, or him to represent children of both genders.
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 7 Activity I Things to do: List the things that need to be done today. Remember to write in the box whether the task is A, B, or C in terms of priority. Rank Your Goals Daily and/or Weekly A. Must do (important) B. Ought to do (semi-important) C. Hope to do (not too important) 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) PRACTICE IN THE SPACES BELOW. CARRY As and Bs TO TOP
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 8 Activity II Post me! My personal list of time-savers. After I use each of the time-savers, I check it off and pat myself on the back for a job well done! 1._________________________________________________________________ 2._________________________________________________________________ 3._________________________________________________________________ 4._________________________________________________________________ 5._________________________________________________________________ 6._________________________________________________________________ 7._________________________________________________________________ 8._________________________________________________________________ 9._________________________________________________________________ 10.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 11.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 12.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 13.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 14.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 15.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 16.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 17.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 18.________________ ______________________________________ __________ 19.________________ ______________________________________ __________
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 9 Activity III Post me! Where My Valuable Time Goes: Write down the events of a typical day on this chart. Keep this list where you will see it so you can write down events as they happen. TIME of DAY What am I Doing? 6:00AM_________________________________________________________________________________ 7:00AM_________________________________________________________________________________ 8:00AM_________________________________________________________________________________ 9:00AM_________________________________________________________________________________ 10:00AM________________________________________________________________________________ 11:00AM________________________________________________________________________________ 12:00PM________________________________________________________________________________ 1:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 2:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 3:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 4:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 5:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 6:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 7:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 8:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 9:00PM_________________________________________________________________________________ 10:00PM________________________________________________________________________________ Look at the way you spent your day. Is it typical? Y N Are you pleased? If youre not pleased, write here the One hour you werent satisfied with: How would you have liked to spend that hour? What changes can you make next time so you can spend that hour the way youd like?
Success and the Single Parent: A Flash of Time Page 10 My Notes and Observations: