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If you anything like me, you look for time-management tips wherever you can find them. People ask me all the time how I have a professional career, juggle parenting two kids under 6 and have a successful blog – well, it’s hard sometimes. Luckily, I have a lot of time-management tips that keep my life running as smoothly as I possibly can. To be clear, by no means am I Super Mom, and I am far from perfect. Don’t let my social media fool you. I often remind people that social media and blogging is only a small, curated snapshot of my everyday realities. I don’t show you all the days I’m breaking down in tears because of stress or all the times I get upset with my kids when I probably shouldn’t.
Here’s the thing, we’re all really busy and we are trying our best. I happen to be pretty good at organizing because my parents instilled really strong organizational techniques into my life since I was really little. I’m lucky that way, but I’m sharing these 11 organization tips for busy moms, like me, so hopefully, your life can be a little easier.
11 Simple Time-Management Tips for Busy Moms
1. Use the Right Calendar
Are you a paper calendar person? Are you a Google calendar person? Maybe you like the old school Outlook calendar? I actually use all of the above. My Outlook calendar is for work (my day job), my Google calendar is for my blog and we have a separate Google calendar for our family activities. I also have a wipe board calendar that I sometimes use to remember important events, dates I’ll be traveling, etc.
I like having e-calendars on my phone so I get notifications directly from Outlook and Google. These work well for me, but you might be more of a planner person, and a paper calendar that you carry with you might be more your speed. That works too! Just find what calendar works best for you to help keep all of your events and to-dos organized.
2. Invest in Good Technology
3. Create Routines for Everything
As much as possible, I try to automate our lives. Having two kids under 6, a full-time job, and a full-time blog means I really have to cram in every second of the day. Routines really help, especially with the kids. We have a very strict bedtime routine, wakeup routine, meal routines, and go-to-school/leave-school routines. I’m not saying that these routines don’t sometimes get off-track, but I try my best to keep them the same because it definitely saves time and kids do very well with schedules and routine.
As an example of one of our routines. When we get home after school, the kids immediately take off their shoes and coat and put them in their cubbies. Then I start making their dinner while they play upstairs in their playroom. Once their dinner is ready and while they are eating, I make their lunch for the next school day. It’s a small thing, but having their lunch done the night before means I’m never rushing in the morning.
4. Schedule Weekly (or daily) Planning Sessions
One major way I stay organized is by scheduling time to plan and schedule. I know it might sound funny, but, for example, I take about 5 minutes every morning when I get to work to think through my to-do list. Most of the time, I don’t actually write a list, but I just think through the tasks I need to accomplish that day. I do the same thing for my blog. Each night (or at least a few times a week) after work, I’ll sit down and look at my spreadsheet with all of our upcoming sponsored posts and my editorial calendar to make sure I remember what is due, what I need to work on, and what my priorities are for the week. Although it can sometimes get a bit obsessive, I do find that regularly checking in on my to-dos for the day and week really helps me stay organized.
5. Do Meal Prep on Sundays
6. Be Selective about Your Children’s Activities
I totally feel your pain to be super mom. I often feel like a failure and like I’m not good enough like I should be a better mom. However, I also know I’m trying my hardest and that it’s ok if my kids can’t do everything I wish they could. In a perfect world, they would do every sport and every extra-curricular, but that can actually be very overwhelming for both the children and the parents. Instead, just select one or two activities each week that your child really enjoys.
As a recent example, we signed our son up for rec basketball. Although it’s a great time for him to get some exercise, he’s just not that into it. Maybe it’s his age, or maybe he just doesn’t like basketball that much. Either way, we won’t invest the time or money in basketball again this year because it just isn’t worth it. If he expresses interest in basketball another time, then we’ll try again, but for now, there’s no reason to stress ourselves out for something he’s just not that into.
7. Learn to Say No
This is probably the hardest ones for moms. I totally get the pressure to be the best, to be “Insta-perfect”, to be super mom, but it’s ok to let some things go. This is a hard one for me, but I’m working on it. I really do hate saying no to my kids, but I’ve learned that I just can’t do it all, not all the time, at least. My kids can’t go to every birthday party, they can’t be in every sport, I can’t take them to every activity every free minute. I also can’t go to every work trip or work conference – I have to learn to prioritize. I read somewhere that you should make your decisions on whether it would matter if you looked back on it in 5 years. Would it really matter? I know that’s easier said than done, but if you need to find a way to prioritize, that might just be a little question you can ask yourself.
8. Outsource and Delegate
After having kids, I figured out I just can’t do everything myself. Although I sometimes wish I could, I’m slowly learning to let go and ask for help more often. One thing that always falls to the bottom of the to-do list is thorough house cleanings. About two years ago, we hired a house cleaner to come every three weeks. That way, we get a deep clean just when the house needs it. We can just focus on keeping the house tidy in the weeks between. We also often hire landscapers a couple times a year for the big yard overhauls. These are just little ways we’ve learned to outsource and delegate to make sure everything can get done. We’ve also started relying more on online shopping as a way to get everything accomplished without having to run to the store several times a week. I’m actually in the process of testing all the different online grocery options to see if that is a useful way to check one major item off my list every week.
Another little way I’m able to get more done is by finding services that help my family. An example is that my gym has a ‘kids club’ so I can work out while they watch the kids. The hours are super convenient and they love playing at the facility, so it works out really well. I also try to find local drop off daycare services so that if I really need a little extra time on the weekends, I have a place to take them where I know they are safe.
9. Get a Jump on the Day
I wake up around 5:30 or 5:45 most days. I know my kids will be up by 6:30, so I have a precious hour or 45 minutes to get several things accomplished. If I have extra time, I’ll check my blog emails from the day before or prep a post for the day. If I’m a little shy on time, I’ll just use it to get ready. I love having the time to take a nice long shower, put on my makeup and get dressed for work. It makes life a whole lot easier if I’m already ready before the kids get up so I can get them ready and out the door for school.
10. Make Sleep a Priority
Since I get up so early, getting a good night’s sleep is very important to me. Being so busy, sleep really is extra important. I try to go to sleep by 9pm (I know some of you will think I’m nuts). Personally, I find the whole ‘early to bed, early to rise’ thing really works for me. Of course, everyone is different. Since my kids will be up early no matter what, I find this routine works for me. Getting 8 – 9 hours of sleep means I’m going to be refreshed at the start of each day.
11. Find a Support System and Ask for Help
A lot of people ask me how I have a full-time professional career, have a successful blog, AND have two kids under 6. I’ll say, it’s not easy, and it’s not always pretty. But I’m very lucky to have a strong support system in my husband. You know my website? He manages that. You know my Pinterest boards? He helps me organize those. You know my gorgeous photography? Yep, that’s him too. He’s more than 50% of what Posh in Progress has become and I’m lucky to have him. I know a lot of my blogger friends are jealous that I have a built-in photographer. That’s definitely the secret to my blog!
If you have friends and family in the town where you live, you should definitely ask them for help. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of friends or family in the area, so I have to hire help. But if you are lucky enough to have people nearby, ask them for help or come up with trades. For example, maybe your friend can watch your kids for a day and then you can watch theirs another weekend. It’s a great way to squeeze in some ‘me time’ and also get more accomplished. Plus, I bet your kids will love the playdates.
These are just 11 of the time-management tips for busy moms that I use to keep my life organized. I promise you, I’m never perfect, I’m constantly juggling, but I’m also doing the best I can. Slowly, I’m learning it is OK to just try my best and it really is OK not to be perfect. We all need to cut ourselves a little break and remember we are doing great. I hope these tips can help you feel better about life as a busy mom. What organization tricks do you use that I didn’t mention?