How do you get so much done in a day Jo? How do you design your day so you have time to homeschool, run your own business and cook all your meals from scratch and have time for hobbies?
This is a question I get a LOT!
And the answer is simple, you need to design your day – I don’t just roll with it and hope it all turns out fine. Because I KNOW it won’t, well sometimes it will but most of the time I will be left scrambling.
So I spend some time working out how I want my day to FEEL and Then decide what I need to do to make that happen.
Although by nature I am far more a play-it-by ear type of chick, it didn’t take me long to realize that that way of running of the day actually led me to be stressed out and frazzled rather than cool and laid back – which is the image I had in my head.
Now, I’m not saying you need to plan everything down to the last minute but it certainly helps to have some kind of daily schedule and routine. This isn’t a read and forgets it type of post, this is a take action and make that shiz happen type of post so…
Grab yourself a pen and paper and start answering these questions so that you can start to design your day for success…
- What time do you get up?
- What time do you eat breakfast?
- What time does your child(ren) take a nap?
- What time do you eat lunch?
- What time do you eat dinner?
- What time do you start the bath & bed routine?
- Are there any times during the day that you have a set schedule (baby signing class, music lesson…)
Now block these off in your day and how long each thing takes – include travel time for classes etc.
All you have to do is fit the things that you need to do into the space that is left. easy right?
Because most people underestimate the amount of time and over-schedule their days. Being more intentional with your time (extra tips here) will make a big difference.
Are You Being Time Efficient?
I can talk about productivity hacks all day but let’s start with the foundation.
The most efficient way to deal with your jobs/kids/activities is to block like-minded things together. If you have to go to the post office and the supermarket, it makes sense to do them both while you are out of the house.
The same goes for jobs around the house, what can you batch together to be more efficient with your time?
Finished taking a shower? Give it a quick clean before you get out.
Chopping veg for lunch? Why not chop the dinner veg at the same time.
Once you start planning ahead you will start to see patterns and ways to make things a bit more streamlined.
Sometimes stepping back a bit and re-evaluating what you are doing can make a huge difference.
I personally like to block 30 minutes each morning for house jobs, cleaning, laundry etc. This works for me but I know others prefer to do it all in one block once a week. Don’t be afraid to try different ways until you find what works for you.
Take Into Account The Ebb and Flow of As you Design Your Day
The next step is to think of your kids routine, which parts of the day are they more lively and need to play big?
When are they tired and need quiet time?
Use your answers to block off ‘activity’ times. For many of the moms I work with, going to the park in the morning works well then doing some quiet time activities at home in afternoon suits their child’s needs – but that isn’t for everyone.
If you have more than one child and one naps but the other doesn’t then planning quiet time for the older child whilst the younger one naps make good sense.
One thing to remember is that as you child gets older their patterns change, so don’t get too comfortable in one routine, you might find after 3 months or so you need to jiggle it again.
This all sounds like sensible common sense but you would be amazed at the number of moms I have worked with who have never even thought about designing their day to suit their own and their families needs.
We often just fall into a routine without much thought at all. And then wonder why we are stressed and lacking in time! Don’t beat yourself up about it if you fall into this category, it really is a common mistake.
How To Fit In Work Around The Kids
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Every family has different needs and a different dynamic. A family with 3 pre-school aged kids and 2 dogs is going to be completely different from a family of a tween and pet free.
Helping your kids to become independent will certainly help free up some time for you (you can find tips here on how to get started on that). I also advise learning how to “follow the child” because if you can meet your child’s needs when they need them, half the battle is over!
Take a note of what they are interested in – when you are out and about and at home what are they fascinated by?
Is it watching bugs, leaves and petals, jumping in puddles, pouring water over and over? Are they loving books, language, numbers? Keep a copy of my Montessori Inspired Activities book handy so you can put something together quickly.
By making a mental note of what is capturing their imagination right now, you can pick out activities that they will love doing. And when you find something they are interested in rather than something that looks cool on Pinterest, you will have a child that is engaged and happy and needing less of your attention.
Schooling At Home
If they are needing to do school work from home, then set a routine.
We homeschool and I talk about how to make that work here. It all comes down to routine and expectations. I know it’s tough if you are not used to doing both and zoom-school isn’t easy at the best of times. But if your child is of school-age then sitting down and talking about things makes it easier for everyone.
Get the schedule out and have them help you design your day. If they feel like they have some input and some element of control they will feel better about the whole situation too.
As for your work, flexibility is key. Depending on what you do of course. Again, this might mean taking a step back and re-evaluating what you have been doing and why it hasn’t been working.
If it isn’t working start asking yourself:
- What isn’t working? Get specific.
- What can I change?
- What is set in stone? Is it REALLY set in stone?
- As a family, what can we change to make things work better?
If you need more help with this, sometimes an outsider can see the path clearly! Then book in for a Pick My Brain session. Past clients have told me that they just couldn’t see the wood for the trees and having me ask the right questions and help them reframe the situation was exactly what they needed to make the changes necessary.
Don’t Forget Play Time When You Create Your Perfect Day
And I’m not talking about the kids here.
YOU need playtime too. If you need to schedule in your playtime as you design your day then so be it but don’t put yourself on the backburner for the sake of everyone else. That’s not fair and it’s not healthy.
We all need to spend some time doing the things that we love. Whether that is running around a muddy park or knitting jumpers for penguins. It makes a difference to your mental health, your stress levels and your relationship with your family.
A happy mom makes for a happy home.