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Who's got tips on time management?

I'm struggling here and I can't seem to figure out how to get a grip.  I started a new job in September (I'm a first year teacher) and since then, I can't seem to balance or get done half the things I need to get done- at work, around the house, going out and seeing friends, etc.  I waver in between cramming a lot of stuff into each day, every day, and being tired and grumpy that I still haven't done everything I need to do, and just looking at all I'm supposed to be doing and just crashing and not doing anything.  

Like right now.  We have laundry we had to put off all week in order to finish stuff for work, so now it's all sitting on the couch waiting to be folded, and we haven't packed for vacation.  And we're leaving tomorrow.  And here I am, typing on the Nest and feeling overwhelmed while the minutes tick by.  I hate feeling like my life is a stopwatch but whenever I try to pace myself I get behind.  

Any tips? Please? 

Re: Who's got tips on time management?

  • I am also a first year teacher! It is so hard to find time to do everything.I teach 2nd grade so I might have different things to do than you do.

    Here are some of the things I do and I have found it really helps. 

    - I do 20 minutes of house work each night. I set the timer and clean a whole room. 

    -I do one load of wash a day. I put it in the washer in the morning in the dryer as soon as i get home and then try to fold it before bed.

    - On Saturdays I try to set the timer for one hour and get everything scrubbed that I couldn't during the week.

    - I make list of the things that have to get done that day at school and then finish it as soon as I can. Sometimes I have extra time and I get extra things done. 

    -I cut stuff out while I watch TV at night and try to get others to help (for me that DH) 

     - As soon as we are told to do something at school I try to get it done. That way I don't have to rush to get 20 things done at the last minute. 

    These are some of the things that help keep me sane. I spend about 2 hours before school and after school at school to help me get things done. The big thing for me is to not let things pile up. Once it does it's hard to catch up. Maintenance is key. 

    I hope this helps! Remember our first and second year is the hardest after that you have a better handle on what your doing. 



  • Ask your husband to help.
  • We don't leave laundry for the weekend.  We do one (sometimes twoor more) a few times a week. 

    What types of things do you have to do for work?  I can throw a load in the washer and then do something else for 30 minutes.  Toss it in the dryer and there's another 30 to 45 minutes to do something. 

    Does your H help? 

    Also, we sort of pick up as we go: I wipe the bathroom sink down every morning after I'm done getting ready for work.  Towels are always hung right up.  Same with coats, they get hung up as we come in the door.   Don't leave all the dishes til the end when your cooking.  Clean as you go.

     If you do all that, you'll only really have to set aside time to vacume and dust.

  • image bostonjen:

     Same with coats, they get hung up as we come in the door. 

    I wish I could get H to hang up his coat. We live in a small apartment where our living room and kitchen are basically in the same living area. Every inch of space counts...and with his coats hanging on the back of our kitchen chairs...ugh...

    But definitely, clean as you go! It really helps.

  • Good suggestions- I especially like the ones about doing 20 minutes or just one load of wash per day.  I tend to start with a to-do list and it has a snowball effect- I'll do one thing and then notice something else and start on that and then remember the list and do some of that- it's like that "If you give a mouse a cookie" book.  I'll get a bunch of things I've been meaning to do half-done but nothing all the way done.

    To answer a couple questions- The things I have to do for work are primarily paperwork- I teach a special education preschool class, so there's a lot of paperwork for each child. I'm actually generally able to get my planning done at school, unless I'm planning a special activity.  I also do a fair amount of research, which eats up a lot of time- mostly finding different resources/ materials/ strategies/ programs to help with a particular student.  I could probably find a way to streamline the researching- maybe set a timer for 20 min/ an hour like one of you suggested for chores?

    As far as housework- my husband and I divide things fairly and he's more efficient than I am in general.  He also works pretty long hours, but has had the same job for 5 years so he has more of a routine- he gets home around the same time each day, leaves around the same time each day, and he stays "on task" a lot better than I do- when he does something, he just does it and gets it done.  When I start to do something, something else occurs to me and then something else and then none of it gets all the way done.  Maybe I should stop trying to multi-task or just not multi-task so much.

    Thanks all! 

  • Here's what I've found to work from me, both when I was newly married and working full-time, and then after DS was born:

     -Do at least one load of laundry a day.

    -Fold the laundry in the bedroom, on your bed. Besides the fact that it most likely will all need to be put away in there, you'll HAVE to move it to go to bed, whereas you'll be tempted to leave it on your couch.

     -Do the dishes later at night, right before bed. Electricity is cheaper to use late at night, so besides being economical, if you are like me you are in a much better mood to wake up to a clean kitchen.

    -I ditto the timer idea...if you need to, start small--15 min a day.

    -If you are just watching TV--use that time to organize mail, pay bills, or--my favorite--fold laundry.

    I recommend getting as much done as possible DURING the're already busy working, you might as well get the work around the house done, or most of it--this leaves your weekend free to relax.

    Hope this helps!

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  • My advice is to commit to following through with what needs to be done. This has always been my biggest problem. I start 5 things and don't finish any of them.

    On busy days, I make myself a to-do list and write it down on paper. I don't necessarily write what time I'm going to do everything but I try to prioritize so I don't overwhelm myself. I know how OCD that sounds, but making these lists just makes me feel better as I can see how everything will get done.

    When I go through things on my list, I make sure I follow through with every single thing I'm doing. I also agree that it helps to do laundry throughout the week, even if it's just 1 or 2 loads. What helps for me is to put clothes in the  right before I leave for work. I put them in the dryer shortly after I get home from work and they are ready to be folded right after dinner. PP had a great suggestion- bring them to your bedroom and dump them on your bed. You will def fold them up this way.  

    To continue with my OCD-ness, I also make a weekly cleaning schedule and meal schedule. I put these on little Sunday-Monday fridge notepads that I got at Michael's. The cleaning schedule is nothing major, just things like dusting, picking up certain rooms, vacuuming, ect. On the weekdays I try to cook at least 2 meals in the crockpot... I will put everything in there the nght before and put the dish in the fridge, and then my husband will put it in the crockpot and turn it on low before he leaves for work.



  • Some more suggestions:

    Does your washer have a "delay start" button? If so, put the clothes and soap in at night, delay the start for 8 hours and everything will be washed by the morning. Each morning, throw the wet clothes into the dryer and you will have washed and dried clothes every day when you come home. 

    If you watch TV at night, make it a point to get stuff done during commercials. Even a 30 minute program usually has 8 full minutes of commercials during it. This should be enough time for you and your H to fold all of the day's laundry and do other miscellaneous things that might need to be done.

    If you're usually too tired to cook when you return from work, try putting dinner in a crock pot each morning and it will be ready by the time you get home. You could also try doing some of the prep work on the weekend to make your weeknight prep easier. Some dishes freeze easily and stay delicious when warmed up.

    Assign a day for each weekly chore. Make Monday bathroom cleaning day, Tuesday mopping the floors, etc. The alternative is to do all of this work with your H in one block on the weekend--whichever works for you. 

    image image
  • Have you thought of hiring help for some specialty tasks like housecleaning from time to time? You know, to balance for a bit?

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
  • image livinitup:

    Have you thought of hiring help for some specialty tasks like housecleaning from time to time? You know, to balance for a bit?

    You know, we've talked about it a little bit but never priced it out- maybe I'll check into it a little more when we get back from vacation.  

    And I'm definitely going to pull out my crockpot more often.  We usually throw something in there once a week but there's no reason we can't use it more than that.  

  • Here are my personal tricks I learned as someone who lived alone while I did my student teaching.

    1-Buy a Crock Pot. The make making food quick, clean up easy, and you don't have to cook when you're tired.

    2-Make big casseroles on the weekend. They don't take a lot of effort or make a big mess. Also you can have left overs during the week which saves more time on cooking and cleaning. I also recommend freezing leftovers so you can pull them out whenever you're feeling tired. has some great easy recipes on it.

    As far as the other cleaning goes I think you've received some great advice. 

  • image MrsGinger:
    image livinitup:

    Have you thought of hiring help for some specialty tasks like housecleaning from time to time? You know, to balance for a bit?

    You know, we've talked about it a little bit but never priced it out- maybe I'll check into it a little more when we get back from vacation.  

    And I'm definitely going to pull out my crockpot more often.  We usually throw something in there once a week but there's no reason we can't use it more than that.  


    Well I guess there goes my advice lol. A good slow cooker cook book will help you get inspired and use it more. I love mine. 

  • For us what works is I clean all rooms in the house and do laundry on Sunday.  I know seems like a lot, but I don't have time to do a big clean up or do laundry during the week.  Also, Sunday night I cook the meals for the week, so when we get home from work and finish up our outside chores we can just come in after a long day then just eat without having to worry who will make dinner. 
  • WahooWahoo member
    Ancient Membership 2500 Comments 5 Love Its Combo Breaker

    Don't over-extend your "to do" list.  Write down five things.  After the number five for some reason,

    Set the timer and clean for 20 minutes (or 10 or 15 or 30).  When the timer goes off, stop.

    Clean only one room per day (aside from cleaning up after yourself when you make dinner).  Kitchen one day, living room one day, etc.  Or if its easier to do one type of chore (vaccuming, dusting).

    Avoid interruptions - the phone can ring and you can call back later.  etc.

    Learn to say no!

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • image Wahoo:

    Don't over-extend your "to do" list. 

    Avoid interruptions - the phone can ring and you can call back later.  etc.

    Learn to say no!


    also i know its small, but when i comes to laundry, i dont fold our socks and underwear regularly, i have a small laundry basket, when i remove laundry from the dryer, socks and underpants go in there. (also i wash everything together on cold, except towels). we have a clothes bar above the w/d so hanging clothes get hung, pants get half folded as i put them in the baskets.

    when the underwear basket is full or when i feel like it, i seperate the items into the correct drawers, sometimes i fold them sometimes i dont. all of my socks match eachother same with his. no need to match them up, just grab 2 and go.

    i save time with dishwashing by letting the dishes soak in water until im ready to wash them. no scrubbing.

    once a week, use paper plates.

    i 2nd the casserole idea. making a big one is about the same effort as a small one, when you put away the leftovers, portion them into lunch or dinner sized container, or ziplock bags.

    when i worked outside the home, one thing that cut down on dishes for me, was taking  for lunch at work, in ziplocks instead of tupperware, keeping a plate, real silverware and glass bowl at work. i never wanted to have dirty dishes at work, so i got in the habit of washing them at the end of lunch and putting them back in my desk,. i wasnt taking home many dirty dishes this way. (this is greener than paper plates and plastic forks or microwaving in plastic)

    i also saved myself hassle packing lunches by keeping soups, tunasalad kits, snackpacks and other shelf stable items in my desk. if i didnt have time or didnt feel like packing a lunch,(or if i forgot it at home) i still had some healthy affordable choices,


    also dont sweat the small stuff.


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  • Here is my biggest time saver:  Whenever you cook, quadruple the recipe and freeze.  Then  you are only washing the dishes and prepping once--and you'll have 3 ready meals stocked in your freezer for when things get hectic.  I also pack lunches on sunday nights once for the entire week. 

    I shop only 2x per month.  I spend a few minutes planning out meals (I base it on coupons and what is on sale to save $).

    Make several medical/dental appointments on the same day.

    Partner with a friend/neighbor for carpooling & babysitting.

    This is a little thing, but store grabage bags in the bottom of each trash can so you're not going back and forth.

    Have cleaning supplies in a bucket to carry with you.  Have one for each floor.

    Have a set routine of what chores to do each day--and delegate responsibilities to other family members too.

    Keep a tray inside the door for your keys, purse, sunglasses etc. so you avoid last minute wastes of time looking for them (this helps me a lot!)

    I bring junk drawers to the couch to clean out while I watch TV.  I fold laundry there too. 

  • Great tips here:

    Organizers help with the chaos too.  Take inventory of where the clutter spots are in your home and shop accordingly for a way to corral stuff. 

    You can make a master shopping list of all items you buy regularly in the computer and print out several copies.  Check off what you need when you run out and your list is made.  That makes it easy for me to hand the list to DH so he can do the shopping while I stay home and do extra things like windows.


  • I doubt anyone's still checking the thread at this point, but if you are- thanks for all the suggestions! I really appreciate it, I'm definitely going to put them to use.  
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