Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"I Don't Know How You Do It With 9 Kids" - A Few of My Life Hacks

"I Don't Know How You Do It With 9 Kids!"

If I had a penny for every time I've heard this (and it really started back when I had 5 kids), I'd be uber rich. And, yet, somehow, I don't know how I do it, either. I just do the best I can each day.

Sometimes, I feel like a failure. I just can't accomplish everything I want to.

Sometimes, I feel like all I do is solve little people problems all day. But, the truth is, I'm not just a SAHM, but also a WAHM.

So, on top of taking care of every last need of all nine kids (and a husband), I'm also filling out the miscellaneous paperwork that comes along with kids, scheduling and attending appointments, organizing dresser drawers and closets, keeping up with clothing needs - they grow so fast! Etc., etc., etc...

And then, I have to figure out how to squeeze my work into the 24 hours that we are alloted each day. And sleep...and showering...and eating...and brushing my teeth...


Back in the days of my professional business management career, when I actually left the house to work...oh, how much easier those days were! Anyway, back in those days, I learned - and actually taught at management seminars - tons of techniques for managing employees.

Funny thing is, a lot of these techniques also work in the home.

For example, delegation.

With three teenagers now, plus a 10 year old, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old, there are responsible kids who can be delegated to. But, delegation is not the key to getting things done, and getting them done right.

After all, kids, like employees, will often "forget" they were delegated to, or even better yet, mess up the task they were delegated.

(Do you ever feel like you would have been better off doing it yourself?)

It's what you do after the delegation that either makes or breaks the technique. You have to "follow up".

Even before that, though, especially with children and teens (but it is also recomended for employees), the Explain, Demonstrate, Have them Do technique works like a champ.

Let me explain the "Follow Up" technique and the EDHD technique really quick. The Explain, Demonstrate, Have them Do is simple.

Let's use laundry as an example.

First, explain how to sort the clothes, how much laundry detergent and softener to use and where to put them, which settings to put the washer on, etc (Explain). Then, you physically show them how to do it (demonstrate). The next round of laundry, be there with them as they physically do it themself, but let them show you how to do it (have them do).

This technique has, time and time again, saved me so much hassle!

Normally, we do what?

We tell the child how to do something and expect them to remember everything we said. When we show them and then MAKE THEM DO IT, it ingrains the process into their brains.

What do you remember better?

Seriously, if we are training managers to use this technique for adults, why wouldn't we use it with our kids? Well, I do, and that's one of the reasons that I can "Do It With 9 Kids".

Time Management

Anyone who knows me has probably heard me say, "If only I had another 24 hours each day". Well, unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Although, I do enjoy that one day per year that we get to "turn the clocks back" and get an extra hour.

Sadly, most years, I've used that hour to catch up on must-needed sleep on a lazy Sunday morning. (Because it always falls on a SUNDAY!)

Time Management is another management technique that I've had to bring to the homefront. There is no choice in the matter, I have to manage my time, as well as manage schedules for ten other people. Meals, naptimes, bath times, work time, play time...as you know, it's endless.

Pinpoint and Control Your Time Drains

I know what my "time drains" are...social media, email, children bickering, and yes, even chores not being done. This is a big one for me, because most time drains can be controlled, reduced, and some can even be completely eliminated.

Control or Reduce Time Drains

With some things, like the kids bickering, there's nothing you can do some days. (Besides hiding in the closet.) For other things, there is a possibility that taking a little time researching could lead to an app or an online tool that will help you reduce or control your time drains.

Back in the day, I used to keep appointment cards for doctors in my wallet or purse. The problem with that is: 9 times out of 10, I'm going to look for that card and not find it where I put it. That was back when I was a new mom with only 3 children, mobile phones were a little different. Ya know?

For several years now, I've put everything from children's doctors appointments to library deadlines to upcoming events to work deadlines into my calendar on my trusty Note 3. 0. Even reminders to fax some kind of paperwork or print out a receipt can all be quickly entered into my calendar, using VOICE DICTATION!

Besides my calendar, voice dictation has become my best friend. Checking email, Facebook messages, comments, Instagram posts, checking the weather, setting a reminder, even writing blog posts and articles.

And, now, it's time to do some research. Google apps that help save time. In whatever way you may need it. I recently discovered a new time management tool that can be helpful for moms, but also helps out bloggers site owners, social media managers, and the list is endless.

I talked about it the other day. IFTTT is the best! (If you click on the link, it'll take you to my article.) Trust me when I say about 20 minutes time investment just saved me about 2 to 3 hours of work per day and made it all automated. As far as blogging and work is concerned, I'm in love. I haven't really found many ways it can make my life with my family more conducive, but I'm still looking! (There is an app linked to the IFTTT site. I think it's called Do Button.)

Phone calls and email are definite time drains...and I treat them both the same. I answer the phone and email only when I'm not too busy to deal with them. If the phone rings and I'm cooking and the kids are climbing the walls and doing the tribal hungry dance, I won't answer. I'll call back later, but unless it's an emergency (thank you, caller ID), it can wait 15 minutes.

Do you have an answering machine? Learn how to use it. :) And don't let those silly questions, "where were you when I called earlier?" make you feel guilty. Just say, "Oh, I'm sorry, I was tied up! So, how ARE you?"

Same with email...I check it when I have time to respond, or at least skim and delete the junk and mark the others to get back to later.

What sucks your time? Figure it out, find a solution.

Control and reduce those time drains, figure out how to manage your time better, and delegate correctly with EDHD.

Sure, there's still not enough time in a day.

After all, I'm still a mom of 9.

But, I spend less time doing things that are frustrating, like telling a kid how to do something over and over again or searching for that paperwork that I had to fill out - (oh, yeah, I wrote in my notes on my calendar where I put that!). Or even menial tasks, like changing my Twitter and Instagram (and LinkedIn...and so on...) profile pic when my Facebook profile pic changes.

I'd love to hear your life hacks! (Share them in the comments!)

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