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Getting things done each day can be quite a challenge. Motherhood is a job in and of its own — then add in marriage and relationships, business, friendships, and extended family, and it’s a lot! After all, there are multiple areas of life that need attention, and sometimes it seems like they all need your attention at once.
But there’s only one of you! So, how do you get it all done without completely burning out?
There are a few organization and motherhood tips that have helped me be more efficient with the time I have. I hope they help you get more done and free up some time as well. Here are 5 manageable habits that will help improve your productivity so that you can get more done each day.
The goal is to be more efficient so that you have more time for family, hobbies, and the ever-elusive self-care.
Here we go!
1. Create a Morning Routine
Number One on the list is to create a morning routine. If you want to create a more productive day, the first thing is to own your mornings. If you start the day in a frenzy and without a plan for using the early hours, it’s going to be pretty hard to tackle the rest of the day efficiently. It’s just a matter of sitting down and figuring out what you want your morning to look like, and how it can best set you up to be productive all day.
While there are tons of books and blogs out there covering morning routines, the best one is the one you’ll stick to. Because mornings (and days) can still be unpredictable when you’re a mom, it’s a good idea to keep your morning routine simple and with just a little flexibility.
Some of the key things to keep in mind as you plan your morning routine are:
Get Up Before the Kids
Being the first one up allows you to focus on your morning activities and have some quiet time to think. It helps you place your attention in one place at a time ~You know it won’t be that way the rest of the day! This is your quiet space before the day begins. This time of self-care helps you to be a better mom the rest of the day.
Focus on Your Health and Self Care
Your morning routine is your time to take care of your health and some of your own needs, like a bit of self-care. This could include drinking lemon water, praying or meditating, journaling, doing a natural facial, taking a shower, and maybe even taking a walk or doing some yoga.
Plan the Day
The third part of a beneficial morning routine is just looking at the hours ahead and planning your tasks. This might include meals or grocery shopping, upcoming appointments, work projects, or even plans for berry picking or going to the Farmer’s Market. You may already have these things in your planner, but just reviewing your calendar or planner can help make sure you don’t miss anything.
2. Use a Block Schedule
Speaking of a calendar or planner, another helpful tip is to use a block schedule. According to author Anne Dillard, “A schedule defends from chaos and whim.”
What is a block schedule? You can read more about it here, but basically, you organize your tasks into blocks and then schedule them throughout the day. That way, you’re not breaking up your best productivity time with errands, appointments, washing dishes, vacuuming… and losing all kinds of valuable time in the transition from one type of task to another.
It also makes sure you’re getting things done from each category of tasks each week and not putting off certain things, like laundry or exercise… just as examples!
Some examples of the different categories of tasks include things like:
- Morning Routine – All the things mentioned earlier, including making the bed, breakfast, watering the plants/garden.
- Household Management – Meal planning & prep, laundry, tidying up, paying bills.
- Outings/Errands – Grocery shopping, appointments, taking kids to/from activities.
- Self-Care/Self-Growth – Taking a nap, taking a sauna, reading a book, being creative, inviting a friend over.
Using a block schedule goes a long way toward organizing your daily activities. The next step is to also organize your home environment.
3. Systematize Your Home Organization
Creating systems is the key to being more efficient at anything. It removes the decision-making, ensures you accomplish your priorities, and generally gives you guidance throughout each day, week, and month. In creating a home organization system, you’re creating a checklist that covers all the areas of your household that need attention, whether that’s cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, meal planning, or even having some downtime.
You can do it old-school, with a 3-ring binder, or you can create an eco-friendly system on your smartphone. A couple of good apps for this are Evernote and Notion.
In creating your home organization system, you’ll want to start by creating a rough outline for what happens each day. Then, around the daily activities, you assign chores and projects that also need to happen within that week or month.
You can create checklists for:
- Each day’s tasks
- Each week’s tasks
- Each month’s task
- Meal planning/prepping
- Each room of the house (cleaning checklist)
If you’d like more guidance in figuring out your home organization system, I highly recommend the book A Mother’s Rule of Life which will help you figure out your own system.
You can also find my organization checklist on this blog post. I include my Daily Outline Sheet, Daily Chores Sheet, Weekly Routine Sheet, Monthly Routine Sheet, Meal Plan Sheet, Room Cleaning Sheet, and my daily “To-Do list” Sheet.
Next up… meal planning! Meal planning is key!
4. Plan Meals Ahead
You can save about 3 ½ hours a week just by meal planning. Seriously. I actually tracked the time I spent planning, preparing, and shopping for meals on weeks that I didn’t meal plan vs. the weeks that I did. The difference was shocking: 3.5 hours saved on average per week… just by meal planning. Bonus: I also saved about $45 a week on groceries when I meal planned vs. when I didn’t. Meal planning can help you get more done each day and week.
Again, this can be done on paper or on your smartphone. The tool I use is called Real Plans, which can be used on the computer or their mobile app. Using this tool simplifies your grocery shopping and meal prep, allowing you to get other things done in that time that you’d otherwise have spent on figuring out what to have for dinner.
Real Plans is easy to use and customize. Once you get the process down, you can pretty much get all your meal planning done in about 5 minutes a week. It creates a meal plan automatically, which you can then customize as much as you’d like. You can even use it for batch cooking so that you can cook ahead. Then, you can view the meal plan, recipes, and shopping list on your smartphone.
You can also have your kids help with meal prep… which brings me to my last tip.
5. Empower Your Kids
Moms often feel like they have to do everything for everyone in the family. But that’s another recipe for burnout. Rather than do everything yourself, consider the ways you can empower your family to do things for themselves. Delegating tasks saves you time each day. It also helps prepare your kids for adulthood, making them responsible, disciplined, and considerate adults who make the world a better place.
Here are some ways you can empower your kids:
- Let go of tasks your children are capable of (brushing hair, doing laundry, making their bed, tidying up their rooms, making their lunches, generally cleaning up after themselves)
- Make capsule wardrobes so that your kids have ready-to-go outfits and can easily dress themselves.
- Make a household chore list suitable to the age and capabilities of each child. Tasks may include:
- Delegate Etiquette Tasks or Practices – This is a great way to learn early. Examples include:
- Answering the phone and taking messages
- Writing “thank you” notes
- Calling to check on a friend or family member
- Helping an elderly friend or neighbor
All these things are great parenting techniques, plus they free up some time each day so that you can get more done without burning yourself out!
Bonus Tip: Take It One Step at a Time
There’s no way to overhaul your life in one step. Trust me, I’ve tried! Choose one area at a time to work on. It helps to remember too that it’s not all a responsibility that sits on mom’s shoulders but on the whole “team” — the family!
What are your best tips for getting more gone without burning out? Share with us below!