The number one thing I’ve struggled with as a mom to little ones, a wife, and an entrepreneur is prioritizing time. We often have a million things on our to-do list around the house, a kajillion activities we’d like to do with the kids, designing & building plans surrounding my husband’s office, and I’ve got a fun social media gig that lights my fire. All of these opportunities pull on my heartstrings nearly each hour of the day. Have you ever felt like that? As if you’re juggling things and trying to figure out how to stay focused on each project when there are text messages and to-do’s screaming at you from every direction? It’s exhausting, and I hear you. So, this year we sat down and tackled each of our stumbling blocks head on and I’d love to share the goals we’re working through.
Goals for Prioritizing Time
- CONSISTENT DAILY SCHEDULE–“TIMERS”. I’ve always kept a monthly schedule, maybe a weekly one, but never a daily schedule. In all transparency, I can be quite the workaholic. I could spend 15 hours a day working if I have multiple pending deadlines. But, I cannot escape the imbalance that always accompanies a life not well spent on the things that truly matter (physical and spiritual time, quality family time, etc..) So, to create a consistent daily schedule where I can accomplish everything I want to, even with the need for a lot of flexibility, I created “Daily Timers”. I wrote a list of my important to-do’s that I wanted to accomplish every single day. Then, I assigned each to-do with an amount of time it would take to complete it (knowing that I’ll get to consistently work on that item every work day). Now, here’s the key. I prioritize the schedule of “Daily Timers” with most vital things first. Most times, I’d rather check off my to-do list starting with the things that are easiest for me, like sifting through emails. It’s natural to gravitate towards to-do’s that are necessary, but oftentimes not always the most vital things that need to be done. One of my top most requested blog posts has been to share my daily schedule. I’ll share my 5-day work schedule that allows me to pursue both of my passions in mothering and working. It’s changed a ton over time, but this is what I’m currently trying on: 1. POSTING: This should take up to 1 hour and may not always be needed if I don’t have a post to go live that day. But if I do, it’s 1st on the list. 2. SPIRITUAL: I’ve assigned 30 minutes each day to quiet reflection and meditation. Sometimes this looks like reading from my scriptures or maybe it’s listening to an inspiring message from a conference talk or podcast. Whatever is needed for that day, it’s high priority because of the healthy and calm mindset it gives me. I review my personal goals and feel reminded of the person I want to be. 3. EXERCISE: I assigned 1 hour to get prepped, workout, and shower/get ready for the day. I used to teach fitness classes at local gyms nearly every day. But after we moved and I stopped teaching, I allowed my drive to get work done or work on the house crush my motivation to workout. It’s natural for “self care” to be put on the back-burner when other things seem more important. 4: FINANCES: 20 minutes. I’ve never liked this part of work, but thankfully Hubby helps a lot with this. There’s budgets to keep up with, my small business accounting, bills to be paid, etc. Right now can be a SUPER busy time with tax season, but since TaxAct makes it so fast to file returns online, it doesn’t have to take much time at all! And it’s either free for simple returns or very inexpensive if yours are more complicated like mine, and you can even get a refund bonus of up to $100 by applying some of your refund to gift cards at places you shop at all the time. Pretty cool! I’d much rather spend the extra time with my family instead of figuring out taxes on my own. TaxAct rocks at meeting this need. 5. CREATIVE: This creative time is the fun part of my job that I love! I allow up to an hour of brainstorming projects I have coming up and how to feature them to my blog + social pages. I plan locations, outfits, etc.. Just as a decorator designs a cake or an artist chooses her palettes, I love to plan my photos down to the very last detail. Including lollipops for my kiddos, lol! It’s incredibly fun for me! A while ago, my son asked his daddy “Can we take a picture today?!” After my husband asked him why he wanted to do that my son responded, “Because I want candy and to see you act crazy behind the camera!” haha, I’m so grateful that my kiddos absolutely love to be involved in my work. I truly lucked out! 5: 6: EMAILS: 1 hour total. I split this into two separate times of the day so I can respond to people who’ve reached out. A few months ago, I had over 12k emails in my inbox. It was out of control. First, I archived every email older than 6 months. Those people didn’t want to hear from me anyways. I created relevant folders in my email and tossed all the emails from the inbox to each folder. Now that my inbox is emptied each week, it has become my to-do list. Since I roll in 40-ish emails every day, I often have detailed drafts available to personalize and send to cut down on time. 7: WRITING: 1.5 hours. Writing takes quite a bit of focus for me and so quiet, uninterrupted time is SO important. This includes creating blog content, instagram captions, and engaging on instagram with all my insta-friends.
- QUALITY FAMILY TIME. The most exciting benefit of being intentional with my time that I outlined earlier in “CONSISTENT DAILY SCHEDULE” is that I now have time for THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. For me, this is family time. That’s why my husband and I work so hard. It’s for our family. I don’t want to loose myself in providing an amazing life for my family and forget that what I really want is to have the best quality experiences with them. We try to limit the extra activities so we have time in the evenings and on weekends for family time. We try to consistently plan short family getaways/activities to have sweet experiences with the kids. A rule we have is NO work between 5:30-7:00pm during the week. This time block is our family dinner/bed time. We eat at 5:30 and clean-up together. The kids will clear the table, unload the dishwasher, wipe the counters, and help sweep the floors. Only because it is consistent have they learned how to do these easy chores! Dinner time is honestly fairly loud and chaotic, but I know that as they grow older things will become a bit more calm. The kids will be used to this family dinner routine, and hopefully they’ll look forward to the uninterrupted time together. We get ready for the next day by picking out school clothes, spend time reading scriptures as a family, sneak in more reading or a family game, and then kids in bed by 7. Yes, my to-do list and other people who need answers & responses is still screaming at me but because I have a schedule that will provide time for each of those things, I can rest assured that all will be taken care of for that day.
- PHONE + LAPTOP RULES. This one was another BIG one. Aaron and I sat down together and decided we’d need to commit to be very disciplined to meet these new rules. The first rule was “No Devices Outside of The Office and Bedroom”. This rule helped in so many ways. When we kept our phones and computers in our bedroom, this helped create boundaries for working. It showed our kids that when we were in the kitchen or the living room, we were all in. We were available for them. But when we were in our bedroom or office, that was our “work time”. Most importantly, a boundary was created for us and the distractions from our devices were not allowed when we were outside of our workspace. One exception to this rule is when I snap Instagram stories. I love sharing what life looks like in our home on a daily basis, so I’ll usually save the videos and post them during dedicated work time. We’re definitely not perfect, but this is what we’re trying and are loving what it’s doing for our family! We also want to include a new rule to have all devices off by 8pm. Not there quite yet, but as I’m more intentional about the use of my time, I can definitely make 8pm work to be completely offline, decompress and simply enjoy the evening with my hubby.
- DAILY SELF CARE. My goal is to spend at least an hour every day taking care of my physical, emotional, and spiritual self. This has been one of the most rewarding areas in my life to start changing. I have been that mother that was really engaged and loving. Who was all in, enjoying every moment of motherhood. I had tender experiences, wishing the bliss could last forever. I have been her, all of her. She is the woman I dream of for my children. But I have also been the woman who could not handle one more whining complaint, listen to any more nagging questions, or clean up one more mess. A mother who has felt so tired or anxious, I thought I would shatter to pieces. I have been all of her too, every bit of her. Have you been everything in between too? I think we all have. And it feels like a lonely road sometimes. We weren’t meant to sprint this journey without a timeout. Rest is my superhero. And that recharge only happens when I can clear my mind from the daily stresses. For me, it starts with being mindful of my present reality. I have a home that is kept at comfortable temperature. I have food in the pantry. I have a family I couldn’t have dreamed up if I wanted. I’m constantly surrounded by little people who love me and will forgive me at the drop of a hat. My life in the exact moment is always pretty darn good. If I can avoid the trap of thinking of issues and fears in the future or in the past, then I can feel grounded without anxiety. Focusing on exercising my strong body, reading & listening to uplifting & inspiring information, and keeping a heart of gratitude and abundance for all the good in my life is a pretty great place to shift my mind when the stresses of life want to takeover. Daily self care is pretty fantastic.