Top 7 Time Management Tips for Caregivers

Have you ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated, unaccomplished … and you still have so much to do? Taking care of yourself, your children, your parents, your spouse, church duties, and more can be completely overwhelming.

Would you like to learn how to manage your time better, so you can get the most important things done with less stress? If you are frustrated with all of your unmet responsibilities and are still open to learning how to manage your time in a better way, this article is for you.

Here are seven top time management tips for caregivers:

1. Schedule “me” time first. You may think that this is selfish or impractical. However, it is not selfish, because one of the main reasons for taking care of yourself is so you can take care of others.

Nor is it impractical. What is impractical is to think that you can keep neglecting your self-care and yet care for others. Just like you must stop to put gas in the car and change the oil, or you will be stranded on the side of the road, you have to take care of yourself, or you will not be able to care for anyone.

Our lists of “me” time activities will vary. But I suggest you make sure have personal time with God, time for sleep, physical activity, and doing something that you enjoy.

2. Plan ahead with a prioritized list and schedule. “Plan your work, and work your plan” is a great idea to keep in mind. You should have some goals and plans in mind and on paper. Every day you should work from a prioritized list and schedule.

You can make the list and schedule in the evening, so you can wake up with a plan. Or you can do it first thing in the morning.

I suggest that you make a list of things you have in mind for the day. Prioritize your list by putting an “A” next to the things that must be done, “B” next to things that would be nice to do, and “C” next to things that can deleted, delegated, or delayed.

Now, put all of the “A” items on your schedule for the day and put the “B” items where they fit in, if they fit in. And if there is a “C” item that you were going to delay but you can get it done, get it done.

3. Get organized. The last thing you need to do is spend 15 minutes looking for a document that is buried in a pile of papers on your table. Aim to take at least 20 minutes a day or whatever works for you to make sure “there is a place for everything, and everything is in its place.” You feel better when your house, work area, and life are organized.

4. Combine activities. If you are going out to pick up some items from the grocery store, try to do your banking, dry cleaning, and the like all in the same trip. It is usually a waste of time, energy, and gas to make several trips on the same day.

Try putting cloths in the washer and washing the dishes, as you wait on the cloths to wash. Try straightening up, while the clothes are drying. I hope you get the idea. Try to combine activities where you can.

5. Learn that good enough is good enough. Perfectionism is a dangerous trap. It is rare that we get things perfect. If we do, it is rare to keep things perfect. And if we do, we are normally so exhausted that we cannot enjoy it.

Fight through all of your inner voices (e.g., what your mother or father told you, what you think people would say, etc.) and fear of being criticized and do the best that you can with the time and energy that you have and move on.

Often, doing three jobs 80% as well as they could be done is better than doing one job 100% correct and the others are not dealt with at all.

There are obvious exceptions to this rule. For example, the dosage of medicine has to be 100% accurate. You should try to get to 100% of your doctor visits.

6. Focus, instead of doing too much multitasking. Our minds do their best work, when we focus on one thing at a time. Even when we combine activities (see tip #4), we should focus on one activity at any given time.

Multitasking tends to produce inferior results, when compared to focusing on one thing at a time. And multitasking tends to create unnecessary stress in your mind.

7. Expect and manage the unplanned. No matter how well you plan, something will come up that is unplanned. Emergencies don’t schedule appointments. Often the people around you don’t know what your plans are, and unfortunately, some don’t care what your plans are.

When something unplanned happens, you should make a judgment call about changing your plans for the day. Sometimes you should and sometimes you should not.

If you or your loved one is having a medical emergency, you have to change your plans. If a person simply wants to chat with you, you may have to schedule another time.

Making these type of calls with be harder for some than others. However, the more you give in to the unplanned, the less you will have for the planned activities of your day and goals for your life.

So there you have my seven top time management tips for caregivers. I pray that you would not simply read the article, but make sure you use the material in your life. It is not God’s will for you to feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and unaccomplished.

Jesus came that we might have life and that more abundantly (see Jn. 10:10). The fruit of the Spirit includes peace and joy (see Gal. 5:22). We should seek God’s wisdom, courage and energy to do that one thing that He is calling us to do in the given moment (see Phil. 3:12-14).

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