Ever feel like you have lost control over your schedule or like life is just an endless list of to-dos, errands, and obligations? It’s far too easy for the important stuff to get lost in the shuffle. As a working mama of two young girls I have found that the best way to get my life back on track and feeling more balanced, is by carefully designing and planning how I spend my time each month. Here are a few strategies that have been working for me:
Schedule the Important Stuff First
Start by writing down all of the things you value and wish you had time for. My list included dates with my husband, dinners with girlfriends, family movie night, yoga and spin classes, and time to be creative. Next, map out a clear weekly or monthly plan and honor these values by scheduling them into your calendar. Make sure to include blocks of time to rest and recharge, especially if you are introverted by nature. My days are packed from the moment I wake up, but I make sure I have a little time to read and relax each night once my girls are in bed.
Set a Clear Time Limit for Social Media and Emailing
Emailing and social media can be addictive if you let them. Try batching your screen time in set chunks per day. Also try picking a regular time to detox from all things digital. In our home there are no phones or computers allowed at meals, and we do our best to unplug by 9 p.m. at the latest. I also remove our phones and computers from the bedroom, so there’s no temptation to stay plugged in and distracted!
Book Your Priorities as Repeat Events
It takes time and mental energy to set up plans each week. Instead of winging it, schedule your priorities as regular standing dates. Instead of looking for workout classes each week, pick a class you like (i.e Tuesday yoga with Kyle at 7 p.m.) and schedule it as a standing weekly appointment. My husband and I went months without a date night out until we joined a babysitting collective and signed up for childcare every other Saturday evening. Likewise, I was craving more quality time with my girls, so now we have a standing family movie night every Friday. When you plan and schedule ahead of time, then all you have to do is show up and honor your calendar. This little life hack has changed my life.
Let go of Perfection
A sweet mama at my daughter’s school once told me that she feels like you either have your house in order or your cooking, but not both. As someone who excels at cleaning and organizing, but struggles to cook and plan meals, this came as a great relief. So I can pick up a pizza and not be a bad mom? Awesome! Now, instead of beating myself up for not being more proficient in the kitchen, I simply plan to pick up takeout a few nights a week or order pre-prepared meals. Conversely, if you don’t excel in the cleaning department, let yourself live with some dust bunnies on the floor or invest in a housecleaning service a few times a month. Embrace the concept of good enough and give yourself permission not to be perfect.
Thoughtfully planning how you want to spend your time will take commitment on your part but is well worth the time and energy. I invite you to think of three things that you would love more of in your life and take time to plan them, and map them out on your calendar. Once you’ve done the planning, it’s all as good as done!