Time Management Hacks For The Working Military Spouse

Keating Bartlett

Life as a military spouse can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.  Add in children or your education or even a full-time career and life can get even more complicated.  It can be hard to manage everything you have going on in your life, which is why it’s essential to teach yourself better time-management skills.  This will allow you to do everything you need to do with minimal stress while also allowing you to have a bit more time for yourself and your family at the end of the day.

Find a good planner.  I’m not sure how some people manage to get through their day without a good planner.  My planner is my lifeline.  It consists of all of my to do lists for school, work and my home life.  It keeps track of my schedule and all important dates as well as when bills are due.  It’s a little sad that I’m so dependent upon my planner, but in a lot of cases, it’s been a huge lifesaver.  Having a planner can keep your entire life organized and all important information and dates in a single place.  If you find yourself losing focus and forgetting to do things or when bills and tasks are due, then a planner would most likely help you out a lot.  It makes it much less stressful to get everything done.

Prioritize.  This goes for your to do list as well as your life in general.  It’s important to have your priorities in check.  First there’s your to do list.  Wake up in the morning and set your priorities for the day.  Look at your to do list and choose your top five tasks for that day and work on them in order of what’s most important.  Once these five tasks are done, then you can move onto everything else you want to have done that day.

Next, it’s important to prioritize your overall life.  That way when two things end up overlapping, it’s a little easier to choose which one to do because you already know which one is more important to you.  Does your job come before family?  Does family come before work?  What about your spouse, friends and family?  Where do they all fit in?  For example, I know that my marriage will always be my top priority.  No matter what.  You need to be able to identify what’s YOUR top priority. Then make sure that comes first.
 
Create a schedule...and stick to it.  Setting a schedule and sticking with it can be challenging for some people, but it’s so vital to helping you get through your day and being productive.  Divide up your time so that you’re able to get everything on your to do list done.  Make sure this schedule is realistic too.  Set aside time for breaks or errands and meals.  Having some type of consistency can really help you have a more productive week.

Meal plan.  For working spouses, meal planning can be a huge time saver.  Especially during the busier weeks.  First and foremost, you have to plan out ahead of time what meals you want to be eating that week.  This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Next, pick a day (typically Sundays for me) and spend the day/afternoon pre-cooking every meal for that week so that it’s ready to go when you need it.  It sounds time-consuming, but by doing it this way, you never have to come home from a long day of work and cook a huge meal.  Nor do you have to choose to order pizza or Chinese food on those nights either.  There’s nothing worse than coming home exhausted and then having to figure out dinner for the family.  And on extra busy days, you can always grab it out of the fridge and take it with you on the go.  This is extremely handy when you have kids (or even your spouse) who play sports after school.

Learn how to say ‘no’.  For many military spouses, this can be a challenging one.  But sometimes it’s just necessary.  Extra stress can have a huge impact on your health so it’s so important to know your boundaries and allow yourself time to focus on yourself and the things that you want to do.  It’s impossible to do absolutely everything and it’s even more impossible to do it all flawlessly.  No one is perfect, so don’t stress over it.  If you simply do not have room in your schedule to add in more tasks and events, then don’t do it.  When your sleep is suffering, maybe you have a bit too much going on.  It’s okay to put yourself first. It’s more than okay – it’s necessary to take care of you too.

Time-management skills like these are essential to any working military spouse or even those who simply just have a lot going on in their lives.  Skills like these will not only help you minimize stress and get things done, but they will help you to become a more balanced individual so that you have more time for yourself and your family.  With these skills, you can take on anything!

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