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I know how crazy and overwhelming it is to be a Mom.
I am sharing my time management tips with you because I want to help you streamline everyday life.
- Tips to help you meal plan faster
- 10 ways to help you manage your budget in less time
- 10 Tips to help you manage your time more effectively
- 10 Things you can teach your kids so they can help you
- Tips to stay motivated to get things done
How to Organize Your Life When You Are Completely Overwhelmed
I remember feeling so overwhelmed as a new Momma of 2 boys. I was working 32+ hours per week and I struggled to get out of bed to face the day. I remember this feeling so well. I would get up as late as I could and rush around to get everyone ready. I would make it to work on time, but I would often forget my lap top, power cord or something else I needed for the day. I remember feeling like I could not get my act together.
After feeling crappy about myself for most of the work day, I would try to figure out what the heck we were going to have for dinner each night. This went on for months…. It was emotionally draining to repeat this cycle day after day.
I would wake up each morning hoping I could pull my life together. I felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I felt depressed, sad and often wondered if this was all God had for me here. Was I supposed to walk around feeling this way? Was I supposed to wonder why I was here and did God really have a purpose for me on this earth other than to feel like a complete failure? I didn’t think being a mom was supposed to be like this. I didn’t think that I was supposed to feel so overwhelmed Every. Single. Day.
Greg and I had just started talking about paying off debt and the thing that really stuck with me was that if we got some debt paid off, I could be home more. That was the final straw for me. Greg had talked to me about watching my spending but when he started to tell me that I could stay home more with the kids if we paid off debt, that changed everything. I knew I had to make that happen because that seemed like the only choice.
If I wanted to be home with my kids more, I needed to spend less and ultimately it would mean I wouldn’t have to work as hard. Slowly, after we started budgeting, the other areas of my life seemed to improve too. Budgeting meant I had to watch our food budget, our entertainment budget, my clothing budget, and I had to find ways to motivate myself to stick to the budget.
Everything seemed to fall into place and it was all because we started a budget.
I started thinking about the things that were so overwhelming to me and I came up with a list of things that I think other moms face too. Our lives went from what felt like complete chaos to a much more controlled atmosphere by starting a budget and creating systems. I am going to outline below the areas in which I think moms struggle the most and help you organize your life in these areas. I have a bunch of printables that will help you get your life under control in these areas too so if you feel like you would like to have a bit more control over everyday life stresses, I gotcha covered.
Here is the what I came up with for the things that stressed me out the most:
- I had no time for myself.
- I didn’t feel like I could dream. I felt lost in everyday motherhood and I felt like I lost myself in the process.
- I felt like I was living without purpose. I wanted to know that I was making a difference.
- I was rushing around every morning and often got up right when my kids did.
- I wasn’t meal planning and felt stressed out about meal times.
- My husband and I wanted to pay off debt, but I had no clue how to do it. I was a spender and he was the saver.
- I wanted to work less and be home with my kids more. I didn’t know how to make this possible.
- I wanted to have a clean house, but didn’t want to clean daily ( and I hate cleaning)
These are all the areas where systems will help you feel in control. I am going to break each one of these down and go into what I did as it may help you too.
If you are totally overwhelmed, check out the Take Action workbook and figure out which are of your life is most stressful right now. It helps you target what stresses you out the most so you can start taking action.
Create Time for You
I realized that once I became a mom, I really didn’t have time by myself and I lost my ability to dream and set goals. This sent me into a depression. I have always been big on setting and achieving goals and not having anything to look forward to made me somewhat depressed. I didn’t want to get out of bed every morning. I found personal development books through trying the whole MLM business thing and I really feel that the purpose of that MLM thing was to get me out of bed every morning and to help me find a bit of myself again.
Maybe MLM isn’t for you and that’s ok, it wasn’t for me either, but I figured out that I love writing and I love reading personal development books. Here is a list of 10 of my favorite motivational books. This helped me get out of my funk and I found the Miracle Morning. The Miracle Morning allowed me to create time for myself and dream again. It was something that changed my attitude.
It changed the way I looked at the day ahead and I started feeling less depressed. The mornings soon became my time to dream and set goals for what I wanted my life to look like. I started getting up an hour before my kids to journal, meditate, pray, visualize, and set affirmations. All these things helped me get out of the depression I was feeling.
This is still something I do every morning to have time by myself. I spend a lot more time blogging and writing now because I love it, but I also do a little miracle morning routine to help me make the most of my day. My husband and I started investing in real estate in 2012 and this actually became one of my passions. I really enjoy learning about real estate investing and I can honestly say that I help my husband out with looking for deals, remodeling and understanding the money part of blogging.
I realized that this is a passion and I looked forward to getting up each morning and learnng more about how I could help in our business.
This is what I do each morning now:
I get up one hour before my kids so I am usually up at 5 AM. We leave the house at 8:40 each morning so I have plenty of time to myself and plenty of time to stick to my systematic routine of breakfast and getting the kids and myself ready (I’ll go into that a bit later.)
For my hour by myself, I spend 5-10 minutes meditating and praying, 5 minutes doing yoga, 10 minutes reading, 5 minutes writing in my journal, 5 minutes visualizing and saying affirmations to myself. It adds up to about 35 minutes. That is the time I use to mentally prepare for the day. It is also the time I have to set my intentions and think about my goals for the day.
After that, I spend time on my blog which is something I love to do. I love to write so when I start my day doing something I love to do, I have a better outlook. For you, maybe it is running, reading more, working on business. Whatever it is, spend some time each day doing something you love to do. If you have little babies that go to bed early at night, maybe night time is the time you can create space for you. Think about when you can get 20-30 minutes of time by yourself to fit in something you enjoy doing. This will help you stay positive and focused and fill up your cup before you give to others.
Finding My Purpose
As Moms, I think we lose sight of our purpose after we have kids. I think we lose a bit of ourselves with pouring so much out into our families. I think that we give so much of ourselves to everyone else that it gets easier to find our identity in our families and then we start to question who we are without our kids and to do lists.
Finding your purpose is a journey for sure. Don’t misunderstand me, being a mom is your purpose. God gave you those babies to bring up and mother and they are such a sweet gift. I understand this now, but to be honest, there were times of resentment for my kids. Before kids, I had tons of goals and after having them, my goals clearly took a back seat. It wasn’t that God didn’t have a purpose for me, but I think that my purpose changed a bit with having kids. I struggled to figure out what gifts God had given me. What did He want me to do here?
That was the question I kept asking myself and I think that is the right question. I started to find my identity, courage and strength when I surrendered my life to God. I now feel like I have a clear purpose in this life. I will have to write about how I knew I was surrendered another time- It is a crazy story. My purpose is living for God and loving on people here in whatever fashion I can. My gifts are writing, encouraging others, helping moms find calm in the chaos so they can find their purpose.
Those are the gifts God has given me. It took me quite some time to figure that out. I went through this period of internal struggle after reading the book Nothing to Prove and taking a course at our church regarding the book. The struggle was necessary for me to find myself again.
If you are wondering what your purpose is, I want you to take some time and write down what you are good at. What gifts have you been given? Are you good at motivating people? Are you good at writing? Are you good at listening? Are you good at eating well and exercise? What gifts do you have and how do you think you can use them to help others? I would encourage you to also start reading some books like Nothing to Prove and Restless.
They have changed my spiritual life and they will change yours too. The big lesson I learned is that my purpose is to help others in some capacity. My life is not “me” centered like I thought it was. My life is supposed to be devoted to helping and serving others and ultimately that makes me extremely happy.
Creating a Morning Routine to Organize Your Life
Momma, a morning routine will seriously change your life.
First, you get to have time all by yourself before the kids get up. That is your “you time.” Beyond that, there are things you can do every morning. This is my morning routine with my kids to keep everything running smoothly.
7 AM: I take a shower
7:10: I do my makeup
7:30: Wake up kids and get breakfast (most of the time my 3 year old is already awake)
7:40: Pack lunches (I usually throw leftovers in a tupperware container from dinner the night before and that is lunch. I just load it into lunch boxes in the morning.)
8:00: Get kids dressed and brush teeth 8:10: I do my hair for the day – I straighten my hair mostly with a straightening brush or wear curlers to bed so it takes about 5-10 minutes to do my hair in the morning
8:20: I get dressed.
8:40: We leave the house for school. This is the routine we do every single day.
There is no guessing what will come next. The kids know what we do each morning and that helps for less fit throwing and makes things work smoothly throughout the morning.
I usually get my kids outfits out the night before so if my husband is home, he gets them dressed.
Breakfast is usually very simple here: Fruit, yogurt or toast. Sometimes I make oatmeal, but nonetheless, there are very few choices for breakfast to keep it very simple.
You can use the meal planning routine I use if breakfast stresses you out. Think about ways to speed up your morning routine so you don’t feel pressure every morning.
Think about what makes sense for your morning routine. When do you normally get up? Do you get up before the kids? Do you plan your day or create a to do list at the beginning of each day? Do you feel focused each day and feel like you can accomplish what you need to each day? If not, think about how you can get up a little before the kids to create a to do list. Then, start creating systems to get them up and out the door. Experiment with different things.
Use the following time blocking worksheet to map out your day.
This really stressed me out until I found a plan that worked for me. Since I started this plan, I can literally plan a months worth of meals in less than 15 minutes. It is amazing. I have had other women tell me how much it has helped them too.
Kim said “I love using this meal planning idea! It has helped me save so much time when I meal plan! It is so simple and I can plan meals so quickly now!”
When I was in the middle of my depression and struggling to find a meal planning system, I read the Organize Yourself Skinny ebook and literally one sentence changed my life when it came to meal planning. It was “figure out which meal stresses you out the most and work on planning that meal first.” For me it is dinner.
I hate coming home and not knowing what I am going to make for dinner. I knew in order to take this stress away, I needed a system that would work for me. I signed up for a meal planning service to get more meal ideas and printed those recipes out and put them in my meal planning binder. You can check out my binder in my meal planning post.
Like I mentioned before, we keep it simple for breakfast and have pretty much the same things each morning. This reduced the stress of knowing what to make in the morning. Lunch is usually leftovers for Logan and myself to keep that simple. If you pack school lunches for kids, this school lunch ideas list will help you. I use it for Joey when he wants to pack his lunch. The point is, keep things as simple as possible. This will take so much stress away from you as a mom with a million things to do each day.
I have written down meals that are a home run with my family and I keep them in a binder with some recipes from the meal planning service I used. I refer to this Favorite Meals sheet (pictured below) whenever I meal plan so I am not trying to rack my brain to find things to make. It saves me so much time. The great thing about this meal planning system is you know that your family will eat the food you make because you are including them in the process of meal planning. It’s a win win for everyone. I urge you to try this system.
You can check out the post I did on how to meal plan here or if you want to grab a free copy of this Favorite Meals sheet to start your own sheet you can download that here as part of the complete bundle of printables in this post.
Paying Off Debt
I am a spender. Before Greg and I combined our money, I would literally blow my entire paycheck on clothes, food, and other unnecessary items. When we started our budget and began paying off debt, I was seriously skeptical as to whether or not I could actually stick to a budget. I knew it was important for our family and for our family goals, but I knew it was going to be hard for me. I knew it was going to test my willpower.
Momma, hear me please.
The biggest reason I have been able to stick to a budget was because I didn’t want to work as hard.
I realized that if I wanted to keep spending money, I needed to keep working 32+ hours a week. If I wanted to pay off debt and not have as much money going out to the people we owed (mortgage, car payments, credit card bills, etc) then I could stay home more. It was that simple. It took me years to realize this. It took me having my second child who needed a little extra care because of his food allergies and developmental delays to realize that I needed to be home and that is was possible if we just got our budget under control and paid off debt.
I then became a Mom on a mission to be home with my boys as much as possible. The debt became my enemy. I wanted to slay the enemy and prove that it would not have a stronghold over me. We paid off debt with a vengence and paid off over $75,000 worth of debt in 18 months.
I was then able to cut my hours and be home more with my kids.
The more stuff you have, the more you have to work to pay for that stuff. If you can wrap your brain around needing less and not keeping up with everyone else, you will have more time. You will have more time to be home with the kids. You will have more time to enjoy life. You will appreciate the things that you do have so much more. If you want to start a budget, here are the 5 budget sheets we used (and still use) to calculate our income, our expenses and our debt.
Your life will change when you start to pay off your debt. Opportunities open up that you never thought were possible. Starting a budget was the best thing we have ever done as a couple. If you are looking to organize your life, start with your finances. Everything else will fall into place. Starting a budget brought us closer together. We have one common goal that we work towards. We are on the same page.
Check out our Facebook Live where we talk about our budget. We are still in the process of paying off debt, but we have a solid financial plan on how to do it and that takes the stress away of not knowing where our money is going. I love helping people budget. We have friends who ask us for help all the time and it is seriously something my husband and I love to do. These are the first 5 budget worksheets we used (I made them prettier than what we used) to start our budget.
The budget tracking sheet is what we use (except my husband writes out everything because we are old school). It has helped us stay focused on our goals for our budget and they can help you stay focused on budgeting too. Download them here.
How to Create Systems for Your Kids to Organize Your Life
It seems nearly impossible to get your kids to do what you need them to do sometimes. I have been there and I am still there at times. I am not the world’s best mom, in fact I am far from it. Parenting is a struggle for me. I have these views on how my kids should act and they rarely act the way that I think they should.
When I don’t know how to do something well, I read about it and since I struggle as a parent, books on parenting are my friend. I have read a few books that have helped me understand my kids, connect with them, and they helped me train my kids to help out around the house. If your kiddos are young (less than 3), be patient, Momma. Your time is coming when your kids will help out. In the meantime, work on systems you can implement to stay sane while you are doing everything. I will go into that more later.
One book I read over the past 6 months is Parenting with Purpose by Nina Garcia. This book helped me create the systems I have in place with my kiddos now and just these little things have helped so much. I learned how to have them help during the bath routine. I say “It’s time for a bath” and they head upstairs to our room and get ready for the bath. We also have a kid back pack and shoe station. The shoes are easy to find as they are always in the same place. Back packs are always right next to the shoes so they know where to grab them. These are small things, but they save time each morning.
Consistency with discipline and consistency with rewards are also important. Things I learned while reading Parenting with Purpose. We started a reward system with our kids that was actually recommended by Joey’s kindergarten teacher. They have a “Fill the Bucket” system at school so basically, when they make good decisions, they get to fill their bucket- put cotton balls in the bucket and when it is full they get a prize.
If you haven’t done anything like this before, it works much better than threatening to take stuff away (trust me on that) We implemented this system at home and instead of giving the boys stuff, we allow them to choose an experience that we all do as a family like bowling, going to a local bounce house place, or going for ice cream. They get to choose and it is so much fun! Not only does it give them a reward, we all get to benefit from it as we spend quality time together.
The other book I have read that I loved is called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. It teaches about vulnerability in parenting and teaching kids that you will make mistakes and that mistakes are human. It is ok as a parent to own up to your mistakes and apologize to your kids. I needed to read those words because I feel like I fail at parenting more than I get things right. Momma, you will make mistakes as a parent too and it is ok. It is your opportunity to learn and grow.
If you have kids less than 2, I know how hard it is to have little ones who are completely dependent on you.
Things are even more chaotic when they are little because of constant feedings, changing diapers, and trying to console them. Plus, you are tired from not sleeping as much as you need. Girl, I get you. I know it is complete chaos and hard, but try your very best to savor each moment. That little one will grow up so fast and you will miss the days you held them in your arms. To help you with productivity, think about things you can do to get out the door quicker and to be more organized. We kept 2 diaper bags full and close to the door that way if one wasn’t full, we would just grab the other one and fill them both up at a later time. Consider keeping a stash of diapers and wipes in the car just for emergencies.
Ask for help from your significant other, your parents, sisters or a friend if you need a little time to yourself. There is no shame in taking time for yourself. Please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Keep baby’s pacifier, shoes, hat, coat in the same place and put it away each time. Limit baby toys and get rid of things that were gifted that you aren’t using. You know what I mean if this is your first baby. You probably have a ton of stuff and use only a quarter of it. Don’t feel bad about donating to others who could use it. Consider donating to a women’s shelter. The mental stress of having a bunch of stuff you do not need is extra pressure that a new Mom should not have. Mentally thank those who gave you all the great stuff and donate what you don’t use. That’s what Marie Kondo would do.
Cleaning to Organize Your Life
One word….minimalism. Minimalism is the practice of reducing the amount of clutter or unnecessary items to really enjoy what surrounds you. It doesn’t have to be living in a tiny home or an RV. When we moved, I took that opportunity to get rid of stuff that didn’t make me happy or that we weren’t using. There have been studies done regarding clutter and how it mentally drags you down. I believe in this with my whole heart and that is why I don’t mind getting rid of stuff.
Think of the all of the benefits of minimalism.
- The less you have, the less you clean
- The less you clean, the more time you have with your family
- The less you clean, the more time you have to do other things- church groups, chase your dreams, exercise, bless others, or anything else you can think of. If you aren’t picking up your house constantly or cleaning constantly, you have more time.
- The less you have, the less choices you have to make- hello capsule wardrobe.
- The less you have, the more put together you feel and you don’t mind if company stops by
Your cleaning schedule will probably look very different than mine, but I will go into what works for me. I clean on Saturday mornings. I clean for 2 hours that morning and I set a timer for 20 minutes for several different cleaning tasks. I HATE CLEANING.
The only way I can force myself to do it is by setting a timer. I set a 20 minute timer for dusting. I set a 20 minute timer to sweep. I put laundry in that morning before I start cleaning so I can set a timer to fold it. I set a timer for anything I can to just get it done. It motivates me to push to get through it and then I allow myself a short break. This technique is called the Pomodoro technique. It works beautifully.
When we moved, I cut down on the number of things around the house like end tables, pictures, and things in general that I would have to dust. I cut down on the number of kitchen utensils because I don’t need 3 of anything for any reason. I can settle for one because I can easily wash it if I need to use it more than once in a day. The point is, it is so easy to accumulate stuff. Don’t let the stuff rule your life. There are a few things to ask yourself when decluttering and things you can get rid of immediately to start organizing and declutterin your home.
Despite all of the advice I gave you here, there are seasons in your life that will still feel overwhelmed despite organizing your life. I will tell you this though, the more systems you create, the less likely you are to be completely overwhelmed. If you have the basics down, you are more prepared to handle other life stresses like kids getting sick, you getting sick or something else that happens unexpectedly. Finally, if you do get off track on your budget, meal planning or other goals, give yourself some grace, pick yourself back up and move on. It is ok to have imperfect moments. We are all imperfect people trying to figure this life out so grace is the key to not feeling defeated. You got this Momma!
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Wanna grab all the printables from this post? You can download all of them here.
Free Download- Organize Your Everyday Life with These Printables
I know how crazy and overwhelming it is to be a Mom.
I am sharing the systems I use on a daily basis to organize my life and prevent stress and overwhelm. I walk you through each step so you start creating systems and start feeling in control.