24/7: A Resource For Working Parents

The Working Parent Time Crunch: How you think about time is as important as how you manage it

Time is precious for working parents — there is so much to do and only so many hours in the day.  Improving your time-management practices might help. If that’s what you need, you’ll be able to find lots of advice on the web.

But consider this. A parent’s experience of “not enough time” is not only about time management. It’s also about the way you think and feel about time. 

Here are some questions that may help you reflect on the emotional and psychological factors that affect your experience of “not enough time” as a working parent.


Also Recommended:  How To Create Quality Time With Your Kids When There Is So Little Time By Psychologist Dr. Robin Alter


Is excess stress affecting your experience of time?

Sure, time management can be stressful for working parents. But when we’re operating under the influence chronic excess stress, any challenging experience can seem more difficult and negative. If you can learn how to understand, address and recover from excess stress, you may feel less time-stressed, even if your time demands don’t change very much. For more information on how to assess and address your excess stress, click here

Are you creating stress for yourself by how you think about time and how you manage it?

• Might your goals and expectations for time management be unrealistic?

• Are you creating distress comparing yourself to other people who appear to be better time managers than you?

• Are you a perfectionist about time? If you create a list of ten things to accomplish on a weekend, and get nine of them done, that’s pretty good. But if you’re a perfectionist you might still feel it’s not good enough!

Is your experience of time affected by differing cultural norms and expectations?

Various cultures have different expectations around time. This can happen between different ethnic cultures, but also different workplaces and different families. If your time issues are affected by cultural expectations, is there any way you can address that?

Can you compartmentalize your challenges around time?

Take a look your biggest challenges around time. Which parts can you control and which ones are beyond your control? Try to devote your energy to influencing the areas you have control over.


Remember:   The road to positive change often starts with one small, but successful step.


Are you fully aware of how you spend your time?

In the end, how we spend our time is a reflection of what we value. Most of us have an internal compass or awareness about which tasks and activities are most important. But sometimes we get so caught up in just getting though the day that we forget to listen to that internal compass. Try keeping a time diary for a couple of days. That might show you that you are spending a lot of time on tasks and activities that, when you stop and reflect, aren’t really that important or valuable to you.

Prioritize family time and time for yourself

Sometimes we think that doing something fun — either for ourselves, or with our kids — is something you do when the “important” business of life stuff is done. But enjoyable activities are actually among our most important priorities. It’s not just because our children need our time. It’s good for us as parents! A recent study (Musick 2014) found that parents reported feeling greater subjective well-being in when they were with their children than they did when they were doing activities without their children.


Enjoyable activities and good times with our children give us positive energy that helps us be better, happier parents and people.

Thank you to Workplace Strategies for Mental Health for their support of 24/7: A resource for working parents.