Hello lovelies! You know what’s really, really hard as a busy mom? Time management. The phrase “there aren’t enough hours in a day” is so cliche, but it’s cliche because it’s SO TRUE. Balancing the duties of motherhood with trying to run a home, keep our own identities, and not go crazy is not an easy task– especially in today’s world there it’s so easy to be busy all the time. That’s why I’m super excited to share today’s post with you! Becca Day is a time management specialist from Homemakers in Action who helps “undomesticated” homemakers balance the various responsibilities of life. She’s sharing her best time management tips for busy moms with us! If you feel like you’re constantly running out of time in your day, check out these time management tips below.
I get asked all the time “How do you manage it all?” My standard response to this questions is “I don’t know!”– but the truth is there are specific strategies that I have implemented in my life to combat the ‘too much to do and not enough time to do it in’ dilemma. I’ve had no choice but to learn these techniques. I run a blog, a YouTube channel AND a podcast, all while working a part-time job and balancing a baby on my hip! Some days I’ve felt like I want to just give up and stop trying to do so much, but the truth is if you really want something, and you’re really passionate about it, then you WILL find ways to get it done, no matter how busy you are.
So here is the real answer to that much-asked question. Here are the techniques I use to manage it all:
(By the way, if you want to start making the most of your time today, I have a Time Management Toolkit that you can nab for FREE here!)
I spent a stupidly long time messing about with different planning systems. I am quite a creative person, so it made sense to me that I should do a bullet journal or one of those pretty planners with all the washi tape and stickers and whatnot. But every single time I tried to start one of those types of planners, I’d find that I was spending so much time making it look pretty that it wasn’t actually improving my productivity at all– in fact, it was doing the opposite! Also, because it all took so much time, I’d find that I’d stick with it for a couple of weeks, miss a couple of days, and then I’d give up altogether.
I had to come to the realization that maybe those pretty planners just aren’t for me. I started experimenting with more basic systems, both digital and paper, and I have finally come up with a system that actually HELPS me to get stuff done. It’s not attractive – it is literally just a combination of my Google Calendar and a notepad for my daily to-do lists – but it works for me. Everyone has different styles and different ways of absorbing information, so try a few different methods and figure out which one is actually going to work for you.
Yes, I know. You hear people banging on about morning routines all the time. But you know why everyone keeps banging on about them? Because they help SO much! What you do in the morning can be the difference between a productive day and a putting-out-fires-survival-mode type of day. When you spend the first hour or so of your day intentionally, you are setting yourself up for success.
Now, I don’t want you to go and do a Google search for ‘productive morning routine’ and try to copy it. As I said with the planners, everyone is different. For one person, getting a good workout first thing in the morning is the main thing that gets them in the right mindset. But for another person (i.e. me!) the thought of getting up and doing a workout actually makes me not want to get out of bed. For me, the lure of a steaming cup of coffee and getting some work done before my daughter gets up is my jam. Which leads me onto…
You have to have an incentive to be productive. Whatever you have on your to-do list, you have to really want it. For things that you’re really passionate about, like a business or a hobby, that can come quite naturally, but for things like chores, it can be a different story. So how can we make ourselves want to wash the dishes and do laundry?
Well, firstly we need to remember why we’re doing these chores. Why do you want a clean house? My guess is so that you can raise your family in a beautiful, healthy environment. So remember that next time you feel like you don’t want to do the housework. The second way we can make ourselves want to do these pesky tasks is to give ourselves an incentive. How many times have you said to your kids “If you’re good while we walk around the store you can have a snack?” Apply this bribery technique to yourself. Tell yourself that if you’re good and you get everything done on your to-do list, you can have a treat, like maybe a good binge on Netflix!
I always recommend to my readers to keep their to-do lists short, ideally under 5 tasks. If you set yourself 20 tasks to do in one day, it is highly likely you are not going to be able to achieve all of them, which will result in you feeling defeated at the end of the day. However, if you set yourself just a few tasks you are way more likely to succeed, which will result in you feeling like you’re Super Woman when you go to bed. Be kind to yourself and don’t set unrealistic expectations.
Okay, maybe not completely empty, but I try to keep my calendar as clear as I possibly can. Think of your calendar as sacred space. You should only be adding things that are either absolutely essential (like doctors’ appointments and parents’ evenings) or that you are truly passionate about. If someone asks you to do something and you feel sort of ‘meh’ about it, then just politely say no. Remember, every time you say yes to something you are saying no to something else!