When you are a mom and have to orchestrate not only your own daily life, but also remember all those little things, from your husband’s clean shirt to your children’s school supplies and extracurricular activities—not to mention your in-laws’ birthdays—you can start to feel like your brain needs external storage.
Like it or not, time management is a must—especially for a working mom like you, who has to juggle career and family. Time is a non-renewable resource, and you always have too many things to get done—but when you look at other moms, they always seem to have it all under control. How do they do it? The answer to tackling more is by striking a balance between productivity and self-care.
Let’s look into each of the following 7 examples of effective methods to achieve greater results as a busy working mom.
1. Have a planner, a command board, and set multiple reminders
Try to see the forest instead of the trees. Look at the whole year, then each month, week, and day when you plan. By doing this you can manage time and events more effectively without recurring errors like overlapping schedules, or forgetting to add an important day to the planner.
Create a command board for all your family members to reference each day, in order to improve communication and minimize errors.
Set as many reminders on your phone as you need to—let your phone become your personal assistant, to remind you when the PT meeting is, or when you should change your engine oil.
Tackle your schedule by prioritizing according to urgency, in order to increase productivity. This way you can prevent procrastination or accumulating a backlog of work to do later.
2. Tackling chores in bulk
There are many ways to save your time by doing things in one go, rather than tackling them individually here and there. Cooking, laundry, cleaning and grocery shopping, for example, are indispensable parts of your daily life that can be done less frequently than you think. These necessary tasks can take up long hours each week, but by reducing the frequency of these chores you can save a lot of time.
There is so much information online about bulk cooking that can inspire your whole family to spend a couple of hours on weekend food preparation ahead of time. Also, rather than washing half a load of laundry multiple times a week, have extra sets of essential wardrobe items to get through the week and minimize the frequency of your laundry. Limit grocery runs by checking inventory and planning meals ahead of time.
3. Automatize online payments and use delivery services
Automatization can be a powerful tool to tick repetitive tasks off your list. Set bill payments to be automatically withdrawn from your bank account. Order groceries online and have them delivered to your door, to avoid the hassle of trudging through the crowded store with young kids in tow. With a subscription to a monthly service, you can take things like formula, diapers, and toilet paper off your mind. The list goes on, but you get the point—a fairly simple idea with endless possibilities, that will potentially save you many hours.
4. Sharing chores
According to the article, Sharing chores a key to good marriage, say majority of married adults by Pew Research Center, research showed that the importance of sharing chores was rated higher among married couples than adequate income or having children.
If you and your partner have never worked out any agreement concerning chore sharing, it is time for you to talk about the workload, and manage only the portion that is fair to you.
Delegating chores should be as obvious as eating and sleeping. After all, house chores do not last a day, but stay with us forever. With some of the responsibility shared by others, that much of your time and mental capacity is freed up for other things.
5. Master self-care and self-development
The importance of self-care and self-development cannot be overstated as a mom. Always put your own oxygen mask on first before serving your family—if you lose your health, there’s no way you’ll be able to take care of anyone.
Taking care of yourself should be part of your daily routine, although it’s easier said than done, at times. You might think you cannot afford that 5 minutes of your day to sit down with a cup of tea and open a book you’ve been meaning to check out since last month. What about the facial mask you got for your birthday last year, but after a longing stare each night, you always wind up reaching for the bottle of gargle instead?
As hard as it might be for you to take a few minutes to recharge each day, once you push yourself to do it, the payback will be a much-needed energy boost. Remember, taking care of yourself is your right and a must. Never let yourself feel guilty that you’re caring for yourself at times, instead of others.
6. Avoid burnout like the plague
Even those moms who always seem to be running around getting so much done every day know their limits. When they feel their limit approaching, they are not afraid of admitting that they need a break.
Stepping away from all the responsibility, however much it might pile up at the moment, is well worth it. It’s better to take a break now and recharge, rather than later—when no amount of reprieve will recover enough of your energy for you to keep up.
Consider the flipside—pushing yourself further, when you’re already feeling overwhelmed with mental and physical exhaustion, merely for the sake of everything being done perfectly. But you’re not Hercules—you will fall short when the fatigue catches up with you. It’s better to take a break when you need it and manage life in smooth waves, than to rev yourself to high peaks, only to crash & burn.
7. Positive mindset
I won’t go so far as to lecture about “The law of attraction”, but having the mindset that you’re already doing more than enough and steadily improving will get you farther ahead than beating yourself up by thinking you’ll never be good enough, or your goals are simply impossible.
If you focus on the negativity in others and yourself, it can work as a toxic cycle, which will jeopardize not only your relationships with the people around you, but also your overall well-being. Negative thoughts are a bottomless pit that grows like a snowball.
If you catch yourself in a negative thought, shift gears immediately. Turn your thoughts to the things you are grateful for and what makes you happy. Aim your mental state toward the bright side and see how much your productivity increases, as you minimize the time you waste brooding over the negativity.
Meditation can be an effective way to regain control and calm your thoughts, by emptying your mind of negativity and filling it with more positive thoughts. Just five minutes of meditation a day can be enough to regain control and refocus your thoughts.
If you wish you could get more things done as a working mom, plan a year at a time—not just a day or a week—to manage your time more efficiently. For those repeatedly occurring chores, try to manage them in bulk to limit the frequency of the chores. Use your phone’s calendar and alarms to set reminders of upcoming events, to free your head. Automate bill payments and set up recurring orders for household products, so they get regularly delivered to your door. If you are still in charge of most of the chores, share the load with your partner and children. But most importantly, make time to take care of yourself each day, to avoid burnout and keep your mind in a positive state. It’s only by maintaining your own physical and mental health that you can boost your productivity and get it all done.
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