Whether you’re a WAHM (Work at Home Mom) or employed outside of the home, being a good manager of your time is paramount. You want to be able to plan out your day effectively to accomplish what needs to be done. This is necessary to ensure no important details fall through the proverbial cracks.

If you work outside of the home you’re probably armed with a day planner or agenda of some kind. You know when you need to be in meetings or when the best time is to make phone calls. You know when your co-workers need you the most, and when you can take your lunch break and run quick errands.

As a parent, you probably have everyone’s activities and appointments marked on a calendar in a public location. This permits planning around soccer practice and orthodontist appointments. Your routine is set chores and errands. You know when is best for planning outside activities. You know when the kids get home from school and when the baby needs her nap.

If your office is in your home, time management takes on a whole new meaning. Not only do the previous tasks apply, you now need to use some time management skills to find that perfect balance between work and household tasks, caring for children, maintaining a relationship with your partner – and at some point in the mix you need to take care of yourself.

By considering some effective time management skills, you can have them lead you through your day. You will have the knowledge you need to keep you from forgetting children at soccer practice and showing up for a dentist appointment two hours earlier than needed. Here are some tips:

Set a schedule – By creating a schedule you have the most important item already taken care of. Knowing in a glance what you need to accomplish is the most important thing you can do to keep track of your family while remaining as productive as possible.

Choose office hours, and spread the word – This is a great way to prevent family and friends from wanting your time when it’s not ideal for you. Let them know they are important to you, but outside of your office hours is best for you.

Schedule your day with the kids in mind – When your children are young enough to be taking naps, this becomes your prime work period. Chores such as dishes or sweeping the floors can be done when little ones are awake. Get as much work done as possible during naptime. Learn to multitask by throwing a load of clothes in the dryer or getting supper started too.

Schedule regular breaks and spend some time with the children – It is important not only for your children but for you as well. Go for a walk, or sit and play at the sandbox with little ones. Show them that although you work from home, they are still most important.

Write a to-do list – Put the most urgent items at the top of the list and work down from there. The important business work will be done first, and cleaning your closet can be done another day.

Take time for yourself. You’re still only one person. Life happens whether your work is done or not. Run yourself a bath, grab a good book or just sit with your husband for a bit. After all he’s the one you are going to receive the most help and encouragement from, so these little gestures will let him know how much you appreciate it.