We all know how hectic life can be! Whether it’s preparing for your child’s class bake sale, dentist appointments or work deadlines, there are always lots of extras for moms to manage. Moms are often the driving force behind the effective management of the household. I have seen a number of articles lately that have highlighted the mental load of motherhood and it’s challenging effects. So how can we manage this mental load? Is it possible? Although I think there will always be a certain amount of strain from home management that comes hand in hand with the joys of motherhood, if we are intentional about prioritizing through time management things begin to feel more manageable. Having a ‘system’ for the little everyday bits that when combined can become overwhelming, frees up our headspace to be present and enjoy our family life in the moment.
Time management is an essential life skill. In addition to finding time management hacks that make you more feel more successful as a mom, it is also a great skill to model for your children and teens. It will be an essential skill for their academic and career success.
Like with many skills, it’s important that your find what works for you. We have a finite number of hours during the day, so you want to make sure you are intentional about the way you manage these hours. There is no one size fits all answer that will ensure that you get everything done, however starting by looking at planning your time from a monthly, weekly and daily perspective is a great way to get going.
Use a monthly calendar for each month of the school year. Input important events such as doctor’s appointments, parent teacher conferences, soccer tournaments, business trips etc. Input these important items into your monthly calendar as you learn of them. In my household we have a large flip wall calendar where all members of the family can see and add items to it.
Monthly calendars help you and the members of your family to keep the big picture in mind. They are also a key tool when it comes to your weekly planning.
Planning weekly is the next step to time management success. It’s important that you know what you have in the week ahead so that you can manage your time appropriately. There are several dimensions to weekly planning. Begin by looking at your monthly calendar and decide whether there are any items that need to be transferred to your weekly calendar. Perhaps your niece has a birthday. The buying of her present may need to be scheduled into your weekly calendar. Maybe you have an upcoming business trip, and this week you need to ensure you schedule time to buy a new ‘fierce boss lady suit’ for the occasion. Schedule in anything that you need to do to make your week run smoothly at home and work. As you are planning your weekly calendar, devote some time to weekly meal planning. Do this before your weekly trip to the grocery store to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store during the week, or overspending.
Although I love to use a large paper calendar for monthly planning, I find that I do well using my electronic calendar linked to my email for weekly planning. Not only does this allow me to integrate my work appointments, but also makes daily planning easier.
Once your monthly and weekly calendars are established, you will want to start thinking about your daily calendar. I like to think of daily planning like a to-do list or a brain dump. Start your day by writing down everything that you need to check off your list for the day. I like paper for this one. I think when you can make a physical checkmark or scratch something off your list, there is a great feeling of satisfaction. I use a day planner book for this one and often leave it on my desk at work. Although I do my daily brain dump in the morning, some moms prefer to do it the evening before so that they reduce the amount of time thinking about what they need to do the next day. Once it’s dumped out of your mind, you can go to bed with a clearer idea of the way you will successfully navigate the next day.
Motherhood can be overwhelming. The feeling of being overwhelmed can have a serious effect on productivity, your mood, and the overall family dynamic. Take a few minutes each week and each day to be proactive and intentional about managing your time. I can’t promise perfection, but I can promise more success in your day and the freeing up of some headspace to allow you to be more present and aware in your day-to-day moments with your family.
This post was originally posted on TrainingLifeOnline where Yolande is a Curator.
Shifting Perspectives is a weekly conversation with Yolande. Yolande, a Canadian of Caribbean descent, now calls the Turks and Caicos Islands home and in this podcast challenges Caribbean woman worldwide to fuel themselves with diversity in the way they think, the way they work, the way they parent and the way they live.