Wouldn’t it be great if everything always went as planned? Enterprise level organizations seem to get it right. They plan out bold visions, take action, and multiply success. Effective time management skills are a driver for achievement.
Things work out differently on the family level. Many don’t run their homes like businesses. The team isn’t made of paid employees. People are far more irreplaceable at home than in the workplace. And sometimes those irreplaceable people experience extreme challenges. When the person you depend on is suddenly thrown into chaos, some of it is bound to rub off on you; there’s no way you’ll be left completely unaffected.
Consider the case of an expectant mother who never thought her new baby would come as anything other than full-term. She plans as many new mothers do, building the layette, designing the nursery, and perhaps even lining up a few babysitters. She could not foresee the demands and challenges that arose as a result of her child being born too soon.
Having a preemie is not the only challenge that can make effective time management more difficult for families but it is a good example. Often, families have to learn a completely new lifestyle when their premature infant finally gets clearance to go home from the NICU. The health challenges preemies experience can result in a rigorous and demanding home schedule. Many new preemie parents find keeping pace to be a real struggle.
Never give up
Family struggles can make the ability to set and follow a schedule seem like an elusive dream. Just when you think you’ll be on point, another unexpected hurdle appears to throw you off track. And the emotional impact can make focus difficult to muster when you do find time to dedicate to a task. These effects can trickle through the entire family, transforming even the most well-oiled machine to a rusty old axle.
The frustration of consistently having your time management efforts torn apart by chaos can be depressing. Creating a schedule can seem pointless. Compound these effects with those of important tasks going undone and a sense of hopelessness may arise. Though the struggle is worthwhile when you are helping a loved one through a difficult time, the knock to your productivity can seem devastating.
Never ever give up hope that you can reclaim mastery of both personal and household time management and productivity. You will find that your persistence leads to evolution. You’ll gain experience and character as you work through hard times. As you grow stronger, you’ll feel the burden become lighter. And the good spirit of your dedication will have a beneficial influence on all those under your roof.
Practice makes perfect
Practice, practice, practice -sometimes we’d rather not hear that bit of advice. We think to ourselves, “please don’t let me have to go back to the drawing board yet again”. But what better way to show your dedication to hope and persistence for achievement than to put forth consistent effort? When you and your family face steep challenges, approaching the rough parts of life as lessons meant to improve your abilities can help to reduce stress and keep you moving forward.
Even if you were a very organized person before the waves of life struck and threw you off balance, it’s now time to approach personal and family time management as a skill you are working to acquire. Separate the chaos of the day from the act of planning, thereby alleviating any fear of the unknown. It goes like this: You plan out a day, things don’t go right. The next day, plan again. Celebrate your successes and meditate over what didn’t play out as hoped.
As much as possible, make your goal to succeed in the planning session itself. Set aside a time every day to get at least this one thing done. Over time you will see that your strong devotion to doing this one thing at an established time will have a positive influence over how the rest of the day goes. It doesn’t matter at this point whether other family members cooperate. Give them and yourself time to adjust as you work towards a brighter future for all.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
People experience and respond to stress in different ways. Everyone has a coping mechanism. Differences in coping mechanisms can sometimes cause friction within a family. Somehow you all must get on the same sheet of music. The first milestone to restoring a smooth-running household is to strengthen communication.
When one of your own is going through a challenge, now is the time when forgiveness must be paramount. Freedom is safety. If a person in your family fears self-expression with other members it can easily have a negative impact on communication. Issues that are brought to the table are more readily dealt with than those that are hidden. Over time you may find that unexpected turns of events become fewer, allowing your plans to stick.
This is time management for families in the real world
In an ideal world everything is perfect, predictable, and yields to your plans. Projects go as projected. Nobody ever shows up late. All the work gets done in the time allotted to it. No key task or commitment goes undone. But this is the real world. It’s a world in which imperfection is a key part of perfection. It’s a world of learning more than of mastery and the things we think we know are often proved invalid. We live in a beautiful world.
So much of the hardship felt by families who are going through hard times is centered on the unavoidable stall in organization and productivity that results from their situation versus the situation itself. Many preemies, like our own Miracle Kaleb, get to live far beyond the NICU, becoming remarkable human beings. When Kaleb was first born, Rosie and Marcus, his parents, were forced into an adjustment period. Today, they are founders of The Gift of Life and Rosie is a successful author in addition to Mrs. Windermere International. Kaleb is a healthy young boy with a dynamic and admirable personality of his own.
If your family is going through a struggle and time seems hectic, know that we at The Gift of Life have your back and that you can make it through. Even with all their many idiosyncrasies, unpredictability, and challenges, families are the center of love on the face of the earth. With time, practice, and patience, yours can come to run smoothly again.