Six Keys to Managing Time For the Busy Mom

 
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I think a lot of people struggle with time management—there’s so much to do and just not enough hours in the day. Although time is somewhat of an illusion, it becomes concrete when our days and lives are managed by deadlines and schedules. We have to be at a certain place at a certain time or else get fire, miss important things, you get my point. And, well we all know that time is limited. We get one shot here one earth, so it’s important to manage our time as best we can.

It is no secret that I do a lot—like a lot. I am not tooting my own horn, but I have come to be somewhat of a guru when it comes to time management and productivity. I have been able to stay on top of things for years and have learned a thing or two along the way.

Here is what I do now:

  • Workout 5-6 times a week for 30-45 minutes

  • Drop E off at school M-F

  • Work full time from 7:30 – 5 M-F

  • Blog 3-4 times a week

  • Run an online fitness business which requires daily posts in my fit groups and continuous recruitment of new clients and team members

  • Teach dance Saturday from 10am-11:30 am

  • Teach twirling Saturday from 11:45-12:30

  • Volunteer with Junior League

  • Devotional and quiet prayer time

  • Day-to-day tasks – cooking, dishes, emails, things for E, content planning, social media posts, cleaning, dog-walking, family time

I know this lifestyle may not be for everyone and some of you may think I do too much. But, at the end of the day it works for my family and me, and as long as they are feeling loved and fulfilled, I will continue to sprinkle in these other tasks.

Here’s how I manage it all:

Fill Two Needs With One Deed

Optimize your time by combining certain tasks. I do not necessarily mean multi-tasking because that may can often prove counterproductive. However, if there are a couple of things that can be done simultaneously without problem, then smash those things together!

These are my real life examples:

·     I teach E’s dance class on Saturdays (this allows me time with my daughter doing something we both love)

·     If I run outside, I take E in the jogging stroller or invite my husband along

·     While I fold laundry (day to day tasks) I pray and listen to audio books or make it a game with E

·     While I meal plan and prep, I include E. She loves getting to pick out meals and help me look to see what we need to add to the grocery list.

·     I use my lunch time to work my side hustle; schedule pins on Tailwind; start blog posts, check in on my fit groups, plan social media posts

Over the years and as my life changes, I’ve been able to optimize my time more. Combining these things usually makes life more enjoyable anyway.

Develop Self-Discipline

Self-discipline takes effort and time to develop. It’s not always easy, but so necessary if you want to accomplish loads of things that are important to you.  I think people tend to get motivation, willpower, and discipline confused.

Motivation and willpower are not permanent fixes, per se. How many times do you get super motivated to work out or wake up early but when it comes to it you don’t show up at the gym or you hit the snooze button?

Self-discipline, well it comes from within and it regulates your behavior to get stuff done, even when you don’t feel like it. Those moments when you really don’t feel like doing something, but you make yourself do it anyway, those are moments of growth. You’ll become more driven, more dedicated, you’ll develop habits and confidence in yourself.

Make Commitments

If you struggle with self-discipline, a good way to improve that is to make commitments that will make you more likely do whatever it is you need to do.

For example:

  • If you book a trainer you have to go workout, otherwise you pay for nothing.

  • If you’re a blogger/freelance worker you can set deadlines and even make them public to your readers or to whoever it may be. You’ll be way more motivated to complete something if other people are expecting it from you. You’ll gain discipline in no time.

  • Tell your kid you promise to do something, you will, why? They will remind you 100 times a day until you do it.

Get Into A Routine and Schedule Tasks

It should come as no surprise to you that I am a total Type A. I thrive off routine, planning, lists, schedules, and predictability. Call it monotonous, but it works for me because I know what to expect (for the most part). This doesn’t work for everyone because we’re all different, but it’s definitely what has allowed me to do more each day. I wake up at the same time, workout, leave by a certain time, plan my day, write to-do lists, etc. It’s those little details of each day that lead to big changes in your life.

Something I started doing recently that has been working really well is scheduling certain tasks for specific days. I have 1-2 hours every day to work on my side hustle, so I schedule the tasks that I want to do for those each day. I get distracted very easily and I’m the type of person to be working on multiple things at one time. Before scheduling like this I would write for a bit, then invite people, then work Pinterest, I was all over the freaking place and I really didn’t get anything accomplished.

Now, I don’t allow myself to work on anything EXCEPT those tasks for the day and I’ve been WAY more productive and consistent. This style of scheduling can be applied to anything in your life…cleaning, school work, clients, etc.

Similarly, routines set you up for success.

For example, waking up early and on time will allow you to squeeze in things that you enjoy during the first couple hours of your day (meditating, reading, getting ready without rushing, slowly sipping your coffee). Or going to the gym right after work removes the temptation to relax at home. These routines build habits and you’ll only get better at them!

Sacrifices

Let’s be real here, life will never be 100% balanced. As you place focus on a specific project or area of your life, another will like receive less attention and perhaps suffer. I

As Gary Keller wrote in The One Thing, “Extraordinary results require focused attention and time. Time on one thing means time away from another. This makes balance impossible.”

For me, I don’t spend much time watching TV shows or going out with friends. Why? I would rather be blogging or working on things for my fit group ladies or let’s be honest, doing some art project with E or drinking coffee after dinner with my hubs. So, TV is something I willingly sacrifice, I’ve come to accept, and actually prefer. I have a few shows I truly love and I am often found watching them while I work on other things.

It’s simple, if you want to lose weight you’re going to spend more time planning meals and less time eating out.

If you want to run your own business you may have to give up watching TV all the time or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

If you want to travel the world, you’ll probably sacrifice money spent out with friends so you can save for those trips!

What sacrifices are you willing to make to get what you want? That’s the important question here.

If It Takes Less Than Five Minutes, Do It

This simple rule has been a life changer for me. If I notice I am procrastinating on something I think to myself, “No that’ll take a couple minutes, just do it.” And then I do it.

Some examples:

  • washing the dishes right after using them

  • taking the trash out

  • making the bed

  • lay out your work/gym clothes for the next morning

  • picking up things around the house

These tasks may seem so minuscule and unimportant, but living by this rule just makes life easier so that when you are running late one morning and you’re about to pour your coffee into your travel mug you won’t just then realize that it’s sitting in your growing pile of dirty dishes from yesterday.

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Time is so darn valuable and precious. Manage your time how YOU want to live your life. Juggling all areas of life is a challenge, but it will pay off in the long run!