This can cause us to feel overwhelmed, or like we are failing in one or several areas of life. These are not good feelings! How do we combat this?
- Acknowledge that it can't all be done. Let go of that perfectionist mindset, recognize reality, and give yourself some grace.
- Create routines and schedules (more on this below). If you have designated times to do certain tasks, it is much easier to focus on the assigned task than to worry about what isn't getting done, or spinning your wheels trying to figure out where to start.
- Create lists. I suggest making one large brain dump list (I have a notebook for this) and then separate that into other lists, or into your schedule (Home, Work, To Do, Long Term, Projects, Meal Planning, Groceries, etc.), along with prioritizing. The biggest lie I told myself for awhile was that I didn't need to write things down! When I was younger, I didn't have to. I am way too old for that now. I have to write it down while I'm thinking of it.
- If you don't happen to get to a task for whatever billion reasons, that's okay! I repeat many of my tasks each week, so if I can't do it one day this week, I can get to it next week. My plan is to do laundry every single day. At least one load from start to finish. If there is one day that I can't get to it (or don't feel like it), it's not completely out of control, because I am ahead of the game, instead of trying to play catch up.
If you work on these things, you will have more time to spend with your family and on the infamous "Me Time".
How do we create routines and schedules?
- Make a list of the hours in the day. Determine the hours you are available to do certain tasks. For example, I cannot do any home tasks while I am work. So I can't schedule "clean the bathroom" during the work day.
- Make a list of longer term goals you need to track or want to work on. Oil change in the cars, dentist, decorate the office, purge kitchen cabinets. Enter these items into your planner or your phone when they need to happen (dentist - every 6 months, oil change every 3 months, purge the kitchen in March, etc.)
- Make a list of the repetitive (read: NEVER MOTHER EFFING ENDING) work. This will be your laundry, dishes, meal planning, bill pay, cleaning, etc. You can also include recurring weekly activities like youth group, dance class, soccer practice, etc. Assign the repetitive tasks to each 30 minute increment where applicable. Here is a sample:
6:30am Shower and get dressed
7am Load the car and say good bye (this can often take longer than getting ready!)
7:30am Drop off boys at school
8am-5pm Work (errands, reading, blogging, social media, "me time", done at lunch)
5:30pm Drive home
6pm Make dinner
6:30pm Clean up dinner and prep lunch for the next day
7pm Homework and extracurricular activities
7:30pm Bath and brush teeth
8pm Stories and bedtime
8:30pm Repetitive tasks (laundry, dishes, cleaning, Daily Zone, tidy house, etc.) - assign one or two things to each day. Not all of this work will be done in 30 minutes in one day!
9pm Husband Face Time - if he's home. We have no electronics and have an actual face to face conversation! If he's not home because of work, then I get an extra 30 minutes to myself! I can use that time for more chores, or for ME time.
9:30pm ME time (social media, tv, reading, writing, etc.)
10pm Choose work clothes for the next day and bedtime!
One thing that I used to do that I recently changed was when I did repetitive tasks. Things like folding laundry, picking up the house, dishes, etc. were what I tried to do when I first got home from work. I don't like mess, so I thought it was best to do right away. HA. Life just laughed at me and threw three kids and a husband in my face. I tried to fold laundry, but the kids messed it up. I tried to do the dishes, but they whined at my feet. This is not functional multi-tasking. Then I tried sitting with them, but I was always very irritable, because all I could focus on was the mess on the coffee table, instead of listening to my son tell me about his day. Then a light bulb went off one day - plan to do these chores AFTER they are in bed. Duh. Sure, it gives me less time to myself. But knowing in my head that I was planning to do it later eliminated the irritation, and allowed me to relax and focus on my family. Which is what I truly wanted. Guess what? The dishes are still always waiting for me after everyone is in bed! They're so sweet like that.
Now it doesn't take as long to do those chores, since I am doing them in peace. And I can have the TV going on, or have a conversation with my husband. Functional multi-tasking.
I hope some of these tips help you with your time management!