We’re moms; we don’t get busy – we live in a constant state of oh-my-gosh-how-am-I-going-to-get-everything-done? The key thing to remember is this: you will never “get it all done”. Chances are you won’t accomplish everything on your to-do list every day, but you can prioritize in order to make sure you get the important things checked off.
While it’s on my mental list, I don’t always do the dishes after dinner. Sometimes, they’re still piled up in the sink (or, let’s be honest, even left out on the dinner table) the next day. But I play with my kids every single night after work. In twenty years, my kids (hopefully) won’t remember the dirty dishes; they’ll remember that we spent time together. Or they’ll remember both and grow up to be slobs. Well, you win some, you lose some.
Here are some easy time management tips for busy moms that have really helped me.
1. Write it down. Take that running mental list and actually jot it down on paper (or in the memo app on your phone). You may be surprised to find that it’s much shorter than you thought. Be sure to include the obvious things like spending time with your husband and playing with the kids.
2. Prioritize. Arrange your list with those things that have to get done (time with the family) at the top and end with the tasks you’d like to get to, but won’t die if they’re put off (folding the laundry).
3. Make a plan. Set aside certain times to accomplish the top tasks and do it in as efficiently a way as possible. For example, every night as my daughter is winding down for bedtime, I make a loop around the house grabbing clothes for the kids (and myself) for the next day. I use this time to pick up school bags as I go and drop them in the kitchen where I end to get a sippy cup of milk for Bailey.
4. Ask for help. Sometimes there are too many things that have to get done and too little time (or new ones that popped up unexpectedly). Ask your husband (or kids, if they’re older) to shoulder one or two tasks for you. On nights when I’m still exhausted from 3am feedings and 6am alarm clocks, asking my husband to make Bailey’s lunch is a big help. It doesn’t take long, but every second counts whe you’re trying to get to bed.
5. Give yourself a break. If you only accomplished a few things today, don’t worry. Will the world end because you forgot to move the clothes into the dryer? (Not unless ALL of your clean underwear were in there. Then maybe.) Most likely, the worst outcome is having to wash them again and hopefully you’ll remember step 2 next time.
As long as you spent your time wisely, interacted with your kids, had a little grown up time with your spouse, and peed alone at least once (come on, we have to pamper ourselves somehow), you’re in good shape. You’re a mom. You’re busy, you’re motivated, and you’re determined – but you’re still only human.
What other tips do you have for managing those precious minutes in your day?