There just aren’t enough hours in the day! Running an early learning or daycare center involves long, demanding days with lots of unique challenges. Further complicating your time management is that you can’t plan for many of the issues that may arise on a given day, making it even harder to budget your time.
Devising a schedule and sticking to it can be daunting, but don’t let perfection be the enemy of progress. You can still do things to manage your workday and open more pockets of productivity to get stuff done.
- Set aside specific times for emails
- Limit social media
- Avoid multitasking
- Keep a time log
- “Me Time”
Set Aside Specific Time for Emails
Perhaps the biggest “time suck” in anyone’s day is emails. As an owner, you probably get at least a hundred emails a day. If you’re not careful you could spend hours reading and responding to emails.
Setting aside specific time for emails will help you focus on other things throughout the day. Don’t keep your phone on your hip and look at every email that comes pinging in. Structuring your email viewing (and writing) will help you be a better steward of your own time.
Limit Social Media
A huge part of running a daycare or early learning center is engaging your followers and families on social media. You might also be in the habit of monitoring your competition or other successful centers to look for ideas. Social media can be as time-consuming as it is important for your center. You’ve got to manage your time and avoid “going down the rabbit hole” on social media.
We all do it. It sometimes feels more productive to juggle multiple tasks, but it’s usually the opposite. Multitasking makes us less efficient and can also lower the quality of the work we’re doing. Focus on one thing at a time, do it well, and then move on to the next task.
Do the most important things first. It seems rather straightforward, right? When our task list gets too long, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin. Ask yourself these questions: What is the most time-sensitive? What will offer the “biggest win” for me and my team? What can wait until later? Viewing your task list through these lenses will help you manage your time more effectively.
Can someone else do it just as well as you, or better? Does one of your employees have a little more time on their hands to tackle a task or project for you? A vital component of being a leader is delegating tasks to your team. Empower your staff to manage your center for you and with you. Invest the time upfront to train your staff on tasks that you can delegate, which will give you back more time in the long run.
Keep a Time Log
If you’re constantly battling the clock and running out of time, try keeping a time log. Having a tangible record of where your time is going will help you identify opportunities to be more efficient. You might be surprised by how much time certain tasks require or find that you are wasting time in areas you didn’t even realize.
Sometimes you’ve got to be a little selfish! Build one or two slots into your schedule where you don’t take any meetings or calls. The best time of day to do this will vary from person to person and business to business. You may feel the most productive in the morning and need to block off an hour of time to get your day going strong. Or, you might prefer the afternoon (perhaps when many of your kids are having quiet time) to reserve a chunk of time for personal productivity. Figure out the best window for “me time” and make it happen.