As a new mom, I know how difficult it can be to juggle kids and everyday tasks. It used to be all about me, my priorities, my plans. Children come along and shift all priorities in a way that only a parent can truly understand. Being a mom is the most important role in my life, but I still have other roles to play: as a blogger, a wife, a businesswoman, sister, daughter, friend. It can be overwhelming trying to manage everything but I've found a few fool-proof time management methods that help reduce stress.
Don't Take on Too Much
“No” is an important word to learn. Women have a tendency to say “Yes” to everything. It's just our nature. We want to be super-woman and we believe we can accomplish it all. We can't. We need to realize what's truly important and commit to not spreading ourselves too thin.
Schedule Your Day
I have a devoted chunk of time every morning during which I blog. It's my time to myself, when I focus on writing without any interruptions. Yes, Some Boy does occasionally interrupt, but for the most part I successfully plan around his naptime so that I get at least half an hour straight. It's important to have a schedule so that you get into a comfortable pattern and don't get easily distracted.
Take Time for You
If you feel like you're getting overwhelmed with bills, work, and household tasks, take a moment to just step away and breathe. Get your hair done. Get a manicure. It feels counter-intuitive to not try to tackle everything when there's so much, but clearing your head can do wonders for your productivity.
Keep a List
Avoid going to the grocery store multiple times a week or running back and forth between your house and the car when you're trying to leave the house. A simple post-it-note on the door or refrigerator can save hours of unnecessary time wasted.
Keep a Devoted Family Night
Whether it's a night out with your husband or a day at the park with the kids, time with the family helps keep you sane and serves as a reminder of why you work so hard.
Planning your meals out a week ahead of time can save tons of money and preparation time (not to mention excess trips to the grocery store!). It will also help you eat more healthfully, which helps you feel better and less run down.
If things really start to pile up on you, don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. When Some Boy first came along, I had a ton of assistance. Sometimes you just can't do it alone, and you shouldn't have to. You'd be surprised how willing neighbors and even coworkers can be to lend a helping hand.
There are a number of little gadgets I've invested in that have been a life-saver. I have a coffee put that I can schedule to grind the beans and start a fresh pot every morning at 6am. I have a slow-cooker that makes it so I can have meals at the ready after a busy day. Some people have self-operating vacuums. If it helps buy you more time, it's more than worth the money.
Don't scrimp on sleep. Lack of sleep will wear you out and you'll get exhausted and sick more easily. Make sleep a priority to keep your body running right.
Take time to keep your house clean and organized. Just taking time to pick up clutter 15 minutes every day will make a huge difference, and a clean house keeps your mind clearer and gives you more time for the things that really matter, like friends and family.
Did becoming a parent dramatically affect your normal routine, and how did you deal with it? What are your time-saving tips?
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.