Catchy title? Maybe? Or perhaps it made you think why on Earth would I take advice from someone who doesn’t have her crap together?
Truth be told, I wouldn’t consider myself a hot mess all the time. Perhaps my mind is more of a hot mess- so much going through it that I can’t keep it all together. As a mom of 4, I often feel like I am treading water. Sometimes, very rarely, do I feel like I am floating on my back sipping on some lemonade. Other times I feel like I am drowning- like, please don’t hand me another thing to carry. Those golden times when I feel like I could tread, sometimes enjoy my time floating is when I have taken the time plan. Steven Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”
I know I’m not perfect at remembering every deadline, what meals we are having every night, we may be a little late to some activities….oh to be a semi hot mess on the inside and be semi put together outwardly. People ask me how I function with 4 kids, run a business and stay sane. This is how.
- You need to have the right tools.
- Planner: Having the right planner is crucial to your sanity. Some may scoff at a paper planner but I cannot survive without it. I like digital but paper saves me. Writing things down on paper helps me remember better. Having a planner that meshes my mom life with my business life has been really helpful. I use this one sent to me by Plum Street Prints. Having an hourly day to day schedule, a section for business collaborations, meal planning, a weekly list + a section for home to-dos helps keep all the ideas and things I have to do as a Mom and business owner in order. I like the hourly scheduling because it compartmentalizes all the to-dos. I love the weekly and monthly inspirational quotes- they keep me motivated!
- If you use apps on your phone, this or this is a good list of helpful schedulers.
- Post-its: I use these to add into my planner…and to stick to everything else. I kind of need reminders everywhere. I also like writing on post-its because it isn’t permanent and I can move it around. With blogging and playdates sometimes I have to switch things around.
- Pens and pencils: Color coding may be going a little overboard but when I am managing 4+ schedules color coding things makes it easy to glance over and see who has what today and things don’t just mesh together.
- Printables: Along with the planner, I have a monthly printable, chore chart and menu planner on the fridge. I use my planner for my daily use but the printables are for everyone to see. You can download these free printables I designed: menu planner printable and blank cleaning schedule printable. You can fill in which chores you want to do that day. That helps me with knowing what needs to be cleaned that day and what has already been done daily, weekly and monthly.
- Go through things right away. If I don’t everything piles up! When my kids get home we go through their paperwork. I have a folder for things to keep like their special artwork, a drawer in the cabinet for their homework and a drawer for things I have to take care of. I write down deadlines and pencil in special activity days on the calendar on the fridge.
- Repetition. Repetition is vital- especially if your mind has been altered by children. You know what I am talking about. I used to be pretty sharp and remember everything but I really believe pregnancy warped my brain cells. So I write things down a coupe of times in different places. I put it on my phone with reminders, I write it in my planner and I write it on the main calendar on the fridge. I figure if I write it down many times it will help me remember it better. It seems to be working.
- Set up a routine. I pick one day a week where I sit down and plan two weeks of our meals. Mostly every night I take a few minutes to plan the next day. When I don’t, I don’t regulate my time very well. I run my errands/order online groceries the same days. Setting up a routine helps keep things running. We know when things will be completed and what to plan around.
- Lists. Make lists about lists. If you can’t tell, I really like lists. They keep me organized and my goals attainable. I stay away from general tasks like clean house. I like to make realistic small tasks such as scrub sink, clean out fridge, etc. Especially for bigger projects for my blog I make a list of what I have to buy, to photograph, to write, etc. Compartmentalizing my tasks makes the progress measurable and attainable for me. Key word- attainable. Don’t make these crazy goals that you know can’t be accomplished in one day. I make small goals that will help you accomplish the big ones. Plus I really like to cross things off my lists so making those small goals helps me check them off quicker.
- Have a clean workspace. If my main living area is messy, I can’t function. I feel like everything is messy and therefore find it difficult to know where to start. If you ever come to my house you may find that the main area is mostly clutter free. Just don’t look in my bedroom! Or office- they say creatives are messy, hahah! I work in the dining room because it isn’t as dark as my office so I like to keep it tidy.
- Say no. This is a big one. If you are already over scheduled, busy or barely surviving, just say no. It’s ok to say no sometimes. If I can’t do something and give it my 100% then I don’t want to do it at all. I also don’t want to resent that or the person. It isn’t fair to them or to me. And when I say no to some things I am saying yes to sanity, more time with family and some tranquility.
- Schedule time for nothing. Sounds silly but sometimes I just want to have nothing going on. I don’t do it often but I want to give myself a break and not think about work or all the things due for the kids. I just want to relive Jim and Pam’s love story and veg out on Netflix. Or perhaps I want to take a nap. Maybe paint for the sake of painting. Giving and giving and giving is a recipe for a burnout. Take a few minutes for you to do nothing or do something for you. Close that planner and just be you.
I took this time management class a little bit ago and so many of the principles have stuck with me. I loved it and know it has helped me organize my time better. The truth is, there is so much I want to do that I love that I want that to take priority of my time. I don’t want my time to rule me. With so much responsibility to my family I need to make sure that that takes precedence and then the other stuff. It is like the rock and sand example. First put in the big rocks (big projects, top priorities) and then let the sand filter through (the little things that don’t necessarily need to be done right away.)
So, for example, my son has a soccer game right after ballet but kids haven’t had their snack yet. What do I take care of first? The stacked up dishes in the sink? How about their bowls from this morning that they left on the counter? I leave that and grab some snacks and rush to their activities. Because sometimes you just have to let things go. And it’s ok to not have everything perfect. That’s the life of a mother. My kids know I am not a perfect Mom but we work together and try not to make it a big deal when something doesn’t go as planned. Imperfections make us human. Just carry on and do the best you can. I hope these tips can be of some use to someone or perhaps you want to share something that helps you. We mamas have to help each other out!