Do you constantly feel like you’re running through the day and never quite getting done what you need to get done? Do you end up at the end of the day running out of steam with a whole huge list of things to get done?
We all have times in our day when we’re full of energy and ready to tackle our task list, and then we have other times when we need to take a little breather and focus on things that don’t require a lot of thinking. Times when we need tasks that can be accomplished in 5 or 10 minutes. Usually these are times when our kids are around, and we need to keep one eye on them while working on our tasks.
My Schedule Then and Now
When my kids were younger, I had a framework, schedule, for the day. Mealtimes and naptimes were the fixed pegs in my day. I also like to have things cleaned up in my home by 4 pm to allow time to focus on dinner. I also realized that I needed to do errands early in the day since I’m a morning person.
Now, with my kids in school all day, my schedule revolves around school drop off, school pick up, homework time, scouting and sports. I do cleaning tasks when the kids are home, and the bulk of my blogging while they’re in school. I usually run errands in the morning once or twice a week after I drop the kids off at school. I workout and run 3 days a week after the school drop off, too.
Taking Back Control of Your Day
If you want to take back control of your day and not feeling ever whelmed, you need to create a routine or schedule for your day based on your unique needs. First, a word about routines and schedules: some moms need a schedule – specific times when they do things. Other moms do better with a routine – a checklist of tasks to get done at certain times in the day. Other moms, like me, combine routine and schedules to manage our day.
Block Off Your Kid Time on Your Daily Schedule
Block off your kid time first on your schedule since they take priority when they’re home. If you have kids at home all day with no other adults around, make that clear on your schedule. Knowing you are the sole adult during the day helps you form reasonable expectations for your day. For those of us with elementary-age and up kids, we’ll be blocking off before school and after school.
Block Off Your Alone Time
Next, block off your time when the kids are not home. If you have ones home all day, block off the time when your husband can take over childcare. Make sure you note work time, whether you work outside the home or at home like me.
I also suggest marking off time to connect with your spouse. Even if it’s 10 minutes, it’s 10 minutes invested in your relationship daily that adds up over time.
Write Down Meal Times
Rated meal times on your calendar this way you know that during a certain time. You can be in the kitchen preparing the meal getting the kids to help you setting the table and any other food related tasks
Schedule Your Exercise Time
Getting enough daily exercise should be a priority in your day. Your schedule needs to reflect this. As moms, we put off exercise because we think we have to do it a certain way. We don’t. Focus on getting a variety of exercise in your day. Taking your kids for a walk to the bus stop counts as exercise. Doing a walk around the neighborhood with your husband after dinner counts. Parking farther away from the grocery store counts.
Be creative with your exercise time. You may be in a season where you need to break up your workouts into shorter increments during the day. For example, you could do a 10 minute walk in the morning, do 10 minutes of stretching, sit ups, and weights mid-morning, and run up and down the stairs for 10 minutes before dinner. Just make sure you include this time on your daily schedule, and use reminders to help you stick to your plan.
Finding a Rhythm that Works for You
Once you’ve done this exercise, you will realize you have productive, energized times during the day and times when you need to focus on quick, mindless tasks. Embrace those times.
Embrace the times when you’re getting sick. I always know when I’m getting sick before the symptoms show up. I have difficulty multitasking, and loud noises really bother me. I’ve learned to recognize the early signs, and relax as much as I can along with taking my oil of oregano.
Tips for Managing Your Time
- I get up an hour before the kids to do blogging tasks. Before I went full-time with blogging, I used this time for exercising.
- Stay off the computer when the kids are around. Anytime, I tried to do blogging with the kids needing help and supervision, it was so stressful. I only get on the computer during kid time to check email for soccer and scouting.
- Use a timer. I learned this tip from the FlyLady. I can do anything for 15 minutes.
- Ask for help. If you can manage it, hiring a babysitter to take care of your kids while you’re doing intense tasks is wonderful. If not, see if you can find a mother’s helper in your neighborhood, ask relatives for help, offer to help out a friend if they can help you, and talk to your husband about what he can do. If you have limited options, you will need to get creative.
- Make checklists for yourself. I have daily cleaning tasks, weekly ones, and monthly ones. Having a list to check off keeps me on track when the day flows reasonably well, and helps me prioritize when the day is stressful and busy.
- Figure out your stressful times. For me, spending the day out can be stressful if I don’t have a plan for dinner and set reasonable expectations for my day.
- Tackle the tough stuff first. Have a dreaded phone call on your list? Get it done first, and get it out of the way. You’ll feel relieved and relaxed and better prepared to handle other stresses.
Planning for Successful Goals
- Time for Re-Assessment
- Changing Your Strategy is not Failure
- Planning and Visualization Lead to Better Food Habits
- Vision/Inspiration Board