The biggest complaint I hear from moms is they have no time.
No time to prepare healthy meals, let alone eat them. No time to clean the house. No time to seduce their partners. And certainly time to focus on exercise or wellness.
I get this. As I type, I’m looking around a messy kitchen. I see bottles in the sink and dust bunnies on the floor. I’ve literally had to trade the time I have for getting the house together for the time I’m spending working. I can’t help but feel like sometimes I’m short changing one for the other.
However, this mentality only gets you so far.
Take a minute and think of a person who really inspires you. A musician, a politician, a writer… Now think of their accomplishments. There is no way they would have become as influential and inspirational as they are without proper time management.
The truth is, there are only 24 hours in one day.
We all have the exact same 24 hours as Tina Fey, Brené Brown and Beyoncé (all moms BTW). Sure, they have an entourage and they have lots of money so they can pay people to take care of the things that suck the time away from their passions.
But think about it, they all had their beginnings.
Beyoncé Knowles was once a girl with a dream from Houston, Texas. She had school, a family, a summer job, friends, and tons of things tugging at her time. But still, she managed to become a household name, a doting mom and wife, and headline Super Bowl concerts. Whether you love her or hate her as an artist, you have to admit, she sure learned to capitalize on her 24 hours each day.
So before you go on perpetuating the biggest lie of all -- moms have no time – check out these three reasons you feel strapped and what to do so you feel like you actually got something done.
3 Real Reasons You Have “No Time”
PROBLEM #1 You don’t know how long things actually take
A lot of times moms look at all of the stuff we have to do and we shirk back into the corner. There’s just too much and there’s no way we’ll get a handle on it. We “don’t have time.”
But what’s really going on is we don’t have an accurate picture of how long our to-do’s actually take.
We look at the day’s tasks and see we have to take the baby to the doctor, clean the house, and get dinner together. So we convince ourselves there’s absolutely no way we’ll have time for date night.
The trap we fall into is putting off something important to us because we think it will take over our time and keep us from the rest of our mommy priorities. The problem with this approach, though, is we’re never going to have a space in our days large enough to do everything all at once.
Though there really is no getting around this fact, a simple solution that will help you decide how to allocate your time is to organizing our tasks by the amount of time they take.
I swear I just heard you say “well duh,” to your computer, but hear me out.
Matching like tasks together will help you see how many things you have that you can knock out quickly, those take a bit of time, and those you need to plan around.
So think about grouping five minute to-do’s with other five minute-ers. The same with 10 minute, 30 minute, and hour-long tasks.
Once you know exactly how long something takes, you’ll be able to arrange your time accordingly and see you really can fit more in than you thought. Once you decide you have an hour to spend on the house, look to your list and pick a 60 minute task. Or, go for the combo and choose three 20-minute-ers!
PROBLEM #2 You haven’t organized your to-do list
Sometimes moms will write a to-do list that's just a jumble of tasks. It looks something like this:
- iron dress shirt for meeting
- buy stickers for craft project
- blend baby food
- sanitize toys
- wash hubby’s gym clothes
- return recalled cat food
- try to do one thing for me
There is no rhyme or reason to the list and it’s overwhelming just looking at it. It’s no wonder a list like this can make us feel like we’ll never get everything done.
Once we operate from a place of overwhelm, it becomes a matter of surviving the day. The unfortunate thing that ends up happening during days like this is we start to scrap everything we think is unnecessary. Like being in a sinking ship, we toss out anything that’s not gonna help us float.
The key to finding the time to accomplish things is to avoid operating from overwhelm in the first place. If we can cultivate a calm approach to our obligations each morning, we are much more likely to sail through our to-do lists and feel like there is room for it all.
This sounds glorious, but impossible. But one solution that will get you light-years close to achieving this is to simply organize your to-do list.
There are a ton of different ways to do this, but one of the most efficient is to collect tasks into categories like:
Once you have the categorical break down, you can see what your main demands are for the day.
If you have three errands to run, group them together and do them all at once. Run the errand furthest away first and work your way back to the house. If you have multiple housekeeping chores to do, set aside the chunk of time to tackle all of them together.
PROBLEM #3 You haven’t designated your priorities.
No matter how well we schedule or organize our time, there are still bound to be days we simply will not get everything done.
Emergencies happen. Play dates are cancelled.
Whenever these things pop up, we have to flex and adapt and shift our time.
There is no shame to not accomplishing everything for the day and there is no use getting down on ourselves.
However, even on our most stressful days, there is a way to still feel as though we’ve accomplished something.
To do this, we can figure out what events in our day are non-negotiable.
This is some of the most fun work I do with my mom clients and I always make sure one of their non-negotiables relates directly to their goals and dreams.
For example, if you designate 3 priorities daily you can feel very productive and proud of yourself no matter what else happens with the rest of your time.
You can choose the size of the tasks and define exactly what your priorities are so you call the shots and know exactly when you’ve met your non-negotiables for the day. An awesome thing about this approach is if you find you have some extra time after knocking out your non-negotiables, anything else you get done is just icing on the cake.
When writing out your list for the day, leave a space at the top for your 3 non-negotiables. Highlight them or put stars by them – whatever is going to designate these responsibilities as “must do.” Depending on your style you can knock them out first, or save your biggest chunks of time to dedicate to your priority tasks.
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