Time management is an important topic to everyone, especially moms with multiple roles to fill in limited time periods. We want to save time and do things efficiently, but at the same time be the most cost-effective.
Many things that save us money also end up using a lot of our time. Cooking from scratch takes more time than throwing a Hamburger Helper on the stove. Making things instead of buying them in finished form (baby wipes, household cleaners, etc.) takes more time than just throwing them into the cart during our weekly shopping.
Teaching our children the skills of how to do things for themselves instead of just doing it quickly ourselves takes extra time also. That, by the way, is my number one priority when it comes to acceptable time expenditure.
As mothers, teaching our children to become capable persons is one of our main responsibilities in life. An added benefit to taking the time to teach your child how to do a task today is that he or she will be able to do it in the future, freeing up your time for things that only you can do! It’s all one big circle!
So how do you decide what is okay for you? Do you spend the extra $3 a box to buy premade baby wipes at the store, or spend 30 minutes making up 2 batches at home for pennies?
How Valuable Is Your Time?
What it comes down to is setting the time/money priorities that are right for you and your family. What is most important that you have time for each day? Below is an example to get you started on evaluating your time/money priorities:
Is it a must for you to read 3 books to your child each night after you get home from work?
Is it a must for you to spend time doing something fun with your child to help them learn each night after work?
The first priority is very specific; the second is more general. If the wording on your priority matched the first question, you’d better buy tomorrow’s PTA meeting cookies at the grocery store so you can have time tonight to read 3 books with your son! Making sure you fill that priority is definitely worth the $4.99 for premade cookies.
However, if your priority more closely matched the 2nd question, you are more flexible in how your time is spent with your child. Spending an hour teaching your son to make cookies tonight for the PTA meeting tomorrow is cheaper than buying them premade. This activity also allows you to spend time with your son, teach him a skill he will use in the future and have fun together!
Either way, you get your cookies, and you spend time with your son, filling both of your needs. The only difference is that you get there in the way that best meets your family’s time/money priorities.
Schedule a time to sit down with your spouse/significant other and go over what your most important priorities as a family are for your time and money. Being deliberate with our time allows us to make sure we get what is most important to us out of life. As Tony Robbins says, we all have the same amount of time; that is the only thing that is equal to all people. The difference is how we decide to use it.
We originally published "How Valuable is Our Time" on Home Ever After on August 24, 2009. Image credit stock.xchng.