Does it seem like there’s never enough time in the day to get it all done? We know the feeling. The job of a childcare director is a constant juggling act of business needs, staff and parent management, and caring for the children at your center. Here are three time management tips to help you stop playing catch up and start getting ahead:1. Write clearly-defined goals.
Don’t underestimate the power of having goals that are well-defined and written down. Specifying and committing to your goals gives you a target and the guidance you need to shape your priorities. To get you started, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a framework for key elements of a time-management plan. Goals can be short‑term (think monthly or quarterly), mid‑term (usually something you’d like to achieve within a year), or long‑term. This last one can be a dream for the next five years, so think big!
The most helpful goals are written as SMART goals, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time‑bound. Check out our previous post for help writing SMART goals.
Once you have your goals, break them each down into a list of steps needed to reach the finish line. Day-to-day tasks, like answering emails, ordering childcare supplies, and paying bills, can be added to this list so you can plan your days with purpose.
2. Resist the urge to multi-task.
Multi-tasking seems like a great way to save time, right? Unfortunately, according to research it may do just the opposite! Trying to focus on more than one task at a time slows you down, and you’ll likely see a decrease in the quality of your work. Researchers have even found that multi‑tasking can lower IQ—yikes.
But how does a busy childcare center director avoid multi-tasking? It seems inevitable when your attention is constantly being pulled from running a business, to managing center staff, to interacting with the children entrusted to your care. Here are a few ideas:
- One commonly cited interruption is email, so set aside specific times in the day to read and respond to email, rather than jumping to your computer or checking your phone the second you hear that notification sound.
- Center directors can set aside a small part of the day—even 30 minutes—that is a “no‑interruptions” time to get projects done. Delegate the answering of phones, or other potential sources of distraction, to center staff for a brief amount of time every day and watch how much you can get done.
- Put down the pencil and paper, and use a software management tool that can streamline and automate tasks! Even better…
A software management solution like Smartcare, which is designed for the specific needs of a childcare business, can be your most effective time management strategy yet. Download our “Cutting Through the Clutter” infographic to learn how smart management software can save a childcare center director’s time, energy and money, freeing you to provide the best possible care to the children at your center.