Strategies for managing time and stress

There are some general principles that you can use to help manage your time, and managing your time well will reduce the stress of the demands of work and family life.

• Use time wisely. Prioritize! Figure out what must be done and when, and work out a plan and a sequence for those tasks. A good plan can take a lot of the anxiety out of ever-growing chores and make them seem much more manageable.

• Communicate your priorities. Figure out who needs to know what your plan is. Does your husband know that you have a late meeting on Wednesday night or that your shift starts an hour early? Do you know that he's going to the dry cleaners tomorrow morning?

• Talk about the week in advance. Good communications about logistics can save a lot of time and effort in the long run.

• Keep lists and calendars. Write down everything and make sure that everyone in the family checks those lists and writes on the calendars. That way, everyone knows what should be done and when, and what his or her responsibilities are.

• Figure out what you're doing that you don't have to do. Analyze the chores you do and eliminate those that aren't really necessary. Do you go to the grocery store nearly every day? If you plan the week's meals carefully, keep a running list, and learn to live with being out of something now and then, a once-a-week shopping trip might be enough. Many working parents have discovered that some household chores simply won't get done the way they used to, and that's OK.

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