When an Empty Nest Blessed follower messaged me a few weeks ago asking me to share some time management tips for empty nesters, I decided it would be an excellent topic for a post! While I certainly don’t have it all together, I do manage my business, an employee or two, and our household! (With varying degrees of success on any given day!😂)
So today, I’m sharing the time management tips I use in my empty nest in the hope that maybe it will be a blessing to you in some way!
Time Management and the Empty Nest
When the kids were in the nest, their schedules provided structure for yours. From mealtimes to weekend schedules, it was all dictated by their activities and commitments. Now that the kids have flown the nest, finding structure and accomplishing the things you need to do might be more of a challenge than you thought it would! You probably thought you’d have more time on your hands than you do! The truth is, we tend to fill up the time we have!
Ever heard of “Parkinson’s Law?” It’s the adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. The term was first coined in 1955 by Cyril Northcote Parkinson. He wrote a humorous essay for The Economist in which he shared the story of a woman whose only task in a day is to send a postcard. Sounds quick and easy, right? But the woman spends an hour finding the card, another half hour looking for her glasses, 90 minutes writing the card, 20 minutes deciding whether or not to take an umbrella along on her walk to the mailbox…and on and on until her day is filled!
Anyone relate? 🙋♀️😂
Fleece-Lined Sweatshirt (See all colors HERE) | Cotton Cashmere Black Joggers (49% off right now) | Sole Bliss Pink Star Sneakers (Use code ENB15 for 15% off) | Black Drop Earrings | Delicate Diamond Heart Necklace (My Valentine’s gift from Bob this year!) | Diamond Initial Pendant Necklace
Time Management Tips for Empty Nesters
Some people are naturally organized, and some people are not! The truth is, I think most of us fall somewhere in the middle. So if you don’t feel like you’ve got your life together, don’t get discouraged. You’re not alone!
Tip #1: Know Your Natural Tendencies and Embrace Them
Bob likes routine. Every day, he does the same thing at the same time. I need flexibility and variety in my schedule to stay engaged and keep my creative juices flowing. This has made our marriage, um, interesting, at times! I get kind of bored with his version of daily life, and he gets kind of rattled by the dynamic version of mine!
Over the years, we’ve learned to appreciate the value of each other’s styles. I love that Bob is dependable and steady, and it’s helped me see the value of consistency. Likewise, Bob’s come to appreciate that I am spontaneous, which means I think outside the box. It can be helpful when it comes to creative problem-solving. Our styles are complementary.
Whichever time management tendencies you have, embrace them and see their value. Then take a look at the different time management styles of those you surround yourself with and seek to learn from them.
Tip #2: Focus on Good Decision Making
Throughout our day, we’re faced with a million little decisions! From what to wear to what to have for dinner (and lots in between), decision-making plays a crucial role in time management for empty nesters.
Decision Making & Opportunity Cost
Have you heard of opportunity cost? It’s an economic term that is key for investors, but you can apply it to all decision-making. Opportunity cost is the potential loss from a missed opportunity—the result of choosing one alternative and forgoing another. Sometimes it can be challenging to make a decision to do something we want to do — simply because of what we might give up when we choose it and let the other options go.
- Most decisions aren’t black or white. Most are shades of gray! That’s helpful to remember if you’re paralyzed by fear of making the “wrong” decision.
- Very few decisions in life are truly irreversible. If you’re struggling to make a decision, try telling yourself that _________________ is the best decision “right now,” but you can probably change your mind if circumstances change.
- Remember the HALT acronym: Don’t make any decisions when you’re
Tip #3: The Right Tools Can Help
Time management tools can help you manage your time. I’ve tried different time management tools throughout the years, and this awesome Hourly Schedule Notepad from Joy Creative Shop is what I’m using now! I’ve also used their Cleerely Stated – To do Today Notepad, which has spaces for a verse of the day, things you’re praying about, truths to remember, and even what to let go. It’s a good one!
If you’re a simple to-do list girl, I get it! Joy Creative Shop has adorable to-do lists in all shapes and sizes and even a line for men. There are also some FREE printables on the Joy Creative Shop site that you might find helpful.
I used to use a paper planner, but now I find it more helpful to keep my calendar on my phone and write out a new to-do list every day. I found that having a paper planner actually made me feel more overwhelmed than just taking one day at a time.
That said, if you are a fan of paper planners, I would recommend Emily Ley Planners.
- For Daily Planners, click HERE.
- For Weekly Planners, click HERE.
- For Monthly Planners, click HERE.
- Planning a wedding? For Wedding Planners, click HERE.
- For Teacher Planners, click HERE.
- For FREE printables, click HERE.
Tip #4: Take One Day at a Time
Bob’s favorite saying about the empty nest is: “We can go where we want, when we want, and stay as long as we want!” (To which I always answer, “Empty Nest Blessed!”) While that isn’t literally true, of course (we do have jobs and obligations!), I think one of the luxuries of the empty nest is not having a bunch of little people dictating your schedule.😀
While planners and schedules are great, it’s important to remember that reality will always look different, and it’s essential to give your schedule margin so you can be flexible and adjust and improvise as needed. That daily schedule I shared with you above — in reality, I didn’t get to Target, I didn’t stay exactly on time, and I didn’t have dinner ready when Bob got home (among others)! Remember that planners and schedules can be helpful tools, but they’re just tools! Real-life will always look different.
Tip #5: Finish Strong
Anyone can start strong, but not everyone finishes strong. It takes resilience and grit to finish well. So when it comes to time management, be sure to:
- Only start something like a fitness regimen, a volunteer commitment, or a new job if you know that you can see it through to the end. If necessary, make smaller commitments that are more do-able for you.
- Keep your schedule realistic for you personally and be sure to leave margin so you don’t get frustrated or discouraged.
- Don’t compare what you do in a day, a week, a month, or a year to others. You may have restrictions or commitments that they don’t have.
Tip #6: Live Your Purpose
You can’t do it all, and you can’t be everything to everyone! It’s essential to refine your focus, narrow down your purpose, and concentrate on where you can thrive and make a difference. The key is to find the intersection of your passion and your skills.
If you’re struggling to find your purpose in the empty nest, it’s okay! A lot of people do. I’ve written and spoken on this topic quite a bit. Here are some resources that can help.
- A Step-by-Step Plan for Finding Your Purpose in the Empty Nest
- Still Struggling With the Empty Nest? | Tips to Help Get Your Groove Back
- My Five Favorite Things About Life as an Empty Nester
Time Management in MY Empty Nest
I didn’t start Empty Nest Blessed until I became an empty nester! Before that, I was a full-time stay-at-home mom. I love what I do, but learning to balance my job with my personal life has been a challenge! One thing that helps me be efficient and use my work time wisely is your feedback. What topics do you want to see more? Where do you most enjoy seeing me? Instagram? Facebook? Pinterest? Here on the blog?
Leave me a comment on this post and share your thoughts on ENB, okay? Thanks to my generous friends at Joy Creative Shop, every person who comments will be entered to win one of three Hourly Schedule Notepads. (That’s the helpful scheduling tool I’m using right now!) I’ll announce the winners in my weekend post.
What are your best time management tips? I’d love to know. Please share with our community — your comment could be a real blessing to someone else!