How time management skills helped me during a difficult and trying period

Recently I was faced with several priorities. The most crucial is caring for my 91+ years old mother who had a fall and had to be hospitalized for a hip replacement surgery. For anyone who is a caregiver, it is a 24 hour job with breaks only when one gets the opportunity to take them. In addition, I had a number of projects on my plate. A few I had to put on the back burner. Adding to the chaos, a basement construction, preparing for a family function and providing for guests at my home all added to the long list of demands for my time.

I could not have managed without tapping into my ability to multi-task and managing time effectively.  These skills helped me to work through my list of priorities, delegating tasks and arranging for assistance where possible.

My first and most important priority was and still is providing care for my mother. During her short stay at the hospital, I met many dedicated hospital staff who seemed to be running off their feet providing care for post-surgery patients. I spent many hours at the hospital ensuring that I am close to my mother should she need me, overnighting in the quiet room, being present at breakfast, lunch and dinner time to personally feed her meals and to ensure she was clean and comfortable. She was discharged four days after surgery and is now recovering at home.

The following time management tips helped me get through this busy and chaotic period of my life:

  1. Willing to face the challenge positively – I embraced the changes and worked toward completing next step actions to get me to a better place.
  2. Staying calm – though challenging at times, I remained calm and assertive, managing my emotions with hospital delays and portraying a solid support to clients and family members.
  3. Planning and prioritizing – one of my key strengths is to plan ahead and give myself a head start on future projects. This benefited me and allowed me time to deal with this crisis. In addition, I made a list of daily priorities and communicated with my stakeholders on deadlines, extending those that can be extended and cancelling some events that could not be changed.
  4. Manage distractions and interruptions – I returned emails and calls twice daily and turned off non-business related social network notifications. In addition, I postponed family communication where necessary regarding my mother´s progress to a more suitable time.
  5. Work long hours – I worked late into the night and early in the mornings putting in my personal contribution in order to get the results I wanted for my clients and my family.
  6. Flexibility – staying ahead of deadlines helped me maintain flexibility in my schedule and allowed me to meet volunteer and family commitments.
  7. Time for self – overall while there was less time for me to relax, I ensured that I got sufficient sleep so that I can tackle the next day.

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