My sister gave me this great analogy about time management. I love it so much and think it’s so useful I want to share it with you…
Your day is like your closet.
A full, stuffed, messy closet is frustrating, overwhelming, and often leads to achieving the opposite of looking fantastic.
A clean, organized, streamlined closet is a joy to look at every morning and leads to us looking fabulous!
So it is with your day…
A full, stuffed, messy day that has no organization, purpose, or priorities will lead to you not looking your best.
It will result in important things getting shoved to the back and forgotten.
It will lead to favorite people getting wrinkled, stepped on, and set aside in a rush.
It will not make you a better you.
It will cause you to damage yourself and others.
An organized, purposeful day will undoubtedly give you joy and energy.
It will make you feel effective. Which will cause you to BE effective!
You will be on time. You will remember important events.
You will help others.
You will be a blessing to your PEOPLE.
[dropcaps]T[/dropcaps]ime…most of us wish we had a little more, or were making better use of what we’ve got right?
Our kids grow up fast, time passes. We’re trying to find ways to live happy, joyful and full lives, but there’s so much we want to fit in. We want to play. We want to learn. We want to enjoy each minute!
Like me, you’re probably looking for time management tips for moms, and ways we can easily adopt time management strategies to keep up with everything. While, I’m not an expert, I think I’ve gotten to a pretty good place when it comes to this difficult topic and found a few strategies that can be adopted by everyone.
As I was thinking about the topic of time management, I realized there are so many things that take up my time–
1. I am a mother.
2. I own a business.
3. I blog full time.
5. I am the oldest of 10, my Husband is one of 6 children. Our house is FULL!
6. I have hobbies.
7. We eat real food at normal times on a schedule.
8. My house is clean sometimes (mostly).
9. We are healthy (sometimes).
10. We are happy!
Yes, some days I feel frazzled, and stressed, but overall I can say I’ve done a fairly decent job of juggling my jobs of full-time mom, full-time blogger, decent wife and sibling. I also manage to have hobbies, do fun stuff, be health, and (occasionally) find time to read!
To do something well, it always helps to understand the reasons “Why”. Why should you manage your time (aside from just being able to relax and not feel like a stress ball all the time)?
1. To Have More time with Your Loved Ones
Time management isn’t just so you can jam more stuff into your schedule, achieve more, and work harder. You should manage your time so you can have more time to hang out with the people that make you happy! You want more time to spend with your kids, your spouse, your fam!
2. You’ll have more time for play!
This playtime should be spent with your peeps. That’s the point. We never look back on our lives and wish we had spent more time cleaning the bathroom. We look back and think–“I wish I’d done more of the things I enjoy and love. Figure out what sort of play feeds your soul–is it fun outdoors, being active? Is it game night with your kids? Better time management lets you fit in those important, awesome activities.
3. You can be a better version of yourself!
None of us like to be “mean stressed out mom,”–ugh! Similarly, being bored, or feeling discontent is a surefire way to dampen our mood and spirit. When we manage our time wisely, and have control of our schedules we don’t feel as stressed, or bored. We feel on top of our game, like we’re rockin’ it! Be the rockstar you know you can be!
Some Solid Tips to Manage Your time:
1. Find Your “Why”
Understanding the three things listed above will help you get a handle on your time. We might feel like, “Gosh, my schedule is full, but I wish I had more time to do MORE work, or fit in MORE jobs…” But, do you REALLY want to do more work? We really want more time to do the things we find fulfilling. Maybe you find your work super fulfilling and if that’s the case, then sure, make it your “why”.
For many of us, though, work is a means to an end, and that end is our “why”. We work because we want to have more resources for our kids and spouse. We clean, and organize and cook because we want to have a nicer space and life to spend time with our families, to do more fun activities. Keep your focus on your “why” and you will find greater motivation and joy in what you’re doing.
2. Understand Your Unique Schedule and Limits
There is no magic “tip or trick” to time management (I know, you thought that I had a genius answer–I don’t, sorry!). Sometimes it’s just that we’ve taken on too many tasks, or we keep wanting more and more. Maybe we’re comparing ourselves to others, and seeing all the things they achieve and do, and it makes us feel inadequate.
Guess what–you are your own person with your own unique schedule. You have your own limits and needs in your family. You have priorities that might be different from mine, from your neighbor and from your Facebook friends. There’s no set formula that says, “this is what you need to achieve in a day.”
Instead, look at your unique schedule and limits. Look at what you can do, and what you NEED to do in the course of your day. Don’t set out to achieve the same things as the next guy or gal. You do you!
3. Prioritize, and Stop Doing Things You Dislike
Just like #2, prioritizing is key to time management strategies. Now, I’m not saying you’re never going to have to clean windows, or the litter box, or take out the trash again. Some things have to be done, whether we like them or not.
What I am saying is that we have to prioritize the things that are most important each day. Take the biggest goal for the day, and make that your top priority. If you want to organize your closet, pay your bills, or get some work done, make that Priority Number One–that’s your HAVE to do. After that, add the other things you’d “like” to do.
Then you’ll be left with those other things–the things you do out of obligation, or a sense of duty, or whatever. Scratch those guys off the list! Maybe you don’t love making big dinners, but feel like it’s your “job”. Find a few shortcut meals you like and don’t mind heating up or making, and stop beating yourself up about it. Your family will be just fine, even if you eat spaghetti every Monday and tacos every Tuesday, and even if none of it turns out Pinterest-worthy. You’ll be happier and they’ll be happier. P.S. I use HelloFresh each week to cut out this chore. Loovvee it!
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Try HelloFresh to cut out the dinnertime chore:
I use HelloFresh to help me with half of the meals each week. It’s been a lifesaver!
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4. Make Time for Yourself
In almost every time management article, there’s always a “self-care” element. You know why? Because taking care of yourself is one of the top time management tips for busy moms. We often overlook our own needs–a well-balanced meal, plenty of sleep, drinking enough water and getting exercise. When we don’t feel our best, we can’t perform at our best. We’re tired, cranky, and hangry.
Taking time for self-care is really important when it comes to managing our time. This includes having time to do the things that feel like rewards. If you love to read (like me!) or if you are crafty, or love baking, do it! You don’t have to produce perfect items, or sell your crafts on Etsy, or frost Martha-Stewart-worthy cupcakes…just do what you love for the sheer joy of it! Do it because it fulfills you, and speaks to your soul! Do it because it will make you happier, and if you’re happy and healthy, you’ll feel on top of your game.
5. Get the “Have to Dos” Out of the Way First
There are always things we have to take care of–the car needs to get the oil changed, the dog needs to go to the vet, or we need to do some work. Whatever your “have to do” items are, tackle them first. Make them your first priority, even if it’s something you’d rather not do.
If you do your most dreaded job first, everything else will seem like a piece of cake afterward. Plus, you’ll often feel so victorious and successful that you’ll be ready to cross off a few of the less stressful tasks after that. Even if you feel like your “big ugly job” took all your energy for the day–think of what you achieved!
6. Write it Down
If you are hoping to accomplish more in your day, block out time on your schedule and write it down. When you write down your priorities and block out your time, you get a clear visual of what your day looks like. You can see pockets where you can “fill in” and you can see the times when you need to be focused and work.
There’s no set pattern for everyone (see tip #2). We all have unique schedules and priorities, so what works for me, might not work for you. When you write down your goals for the day, and look at the time you can set aside to achieve those goals, you start to have a picture of your unique time management needs.
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Living Well Spending Less Planner
Many of you have asked what I use as a daily planner. Is it electronic or paper? Paper, baby! I love this one from Ruth Soukup because it keeps my main tasks at the front of mind and helps me prioritize. It also includes budgeting, menu, goals, and self-care. If you are looking for a great planner…this is the one to try!
Let’s work on getting our “time” closets in shape… shall we?
[li]If you’re looking for more tips to organizing your time at work (especially if you work from home) here’s a great article with tips and tricks.[/li]
[li]If you are looking for help managing the dinner time rush check out these great apps and tools.[/li]
[li]If you are looking for help managing the daily chaos THIS ARTICLE might help.[/li]