My days start off with great intentions, with hopes to be so uber-productive that once the kids are in bed, I can settle into my favorite spot on the couch & really enjoy my TV shows or a favorite book without an ounce of guilt for what I didn’t accomplish during daylight hours…
Yeah — I realized that my days were rarely ending that way.
As a WAHM, I’ve always struggled with managing my time wisely.
First, being aware of that, I simply forgave myself. Because really, there’s no sense in beating myself up for things left undone. I’m human.
I basically gave myself a free pass for the summer, because there was a constant cavalcade of neighborhood children in and out of my home. Don’t get me wrong — I loved it! But, the amount of actual work I got done (like the kind of work that doesn’t involve searching the house for Lego Superman’s head or vacuuming grass clippings off the floor of every single room in the house) was slim to none.
So, when school started, I decided it was time to get down to business. I finally had hours during the day that would be free from waist-high interruptions. Hallelujah!
It wasn’t long before I noticed that I STILL was not getting much work done.
I was busy, but scattered. I’d end up with lot of projects half done, still feeling exhausted at the end of the day.
I decided I had to get really clear about what it was I actually wanted.
I wanted to feel ACCOMPLISHED and FULFILLED at the end of each day. I wanted to see RESULTS. I needed BALANCE.
The whole reason why I work from home is to be here for my kids. So family time is a top priority, of course, and household chores are my sole responsibility, since my hubby works out of the home full time.
I had to come up with something that could help me get more organized with my daily routine, so I could fit everything in, without leaving anything neglected.
One day, I opened an email from this lovely lady, Jenny Fenig. Have you heard of her? As a newsletter subscriber, I’ve been enjoying her fabulous stuff for a while now. It was divine guidance when I stumbled upon one of her videos and she mentioned time chunking her schedule. It wasn’t even the main topic of the video, but it really sparked something within me.
Feeling completely inspired and compelled to take immediate action — like THIS was an answer from the heavens! — I sat down at my laptop. I threw together a basic grid for a week and added 1 hour time slots. I printed it out and stared at it for a while…
My mornings are dedicated to getting everybody else out the door, clean, fed and on time. So in BIG letters I wrote: FAMILY TIME. I highlighted the box; an hour and a half chunk for every morning of the week.
It was pretty easy once I had blocked out time for family, because I know when we naturally spend time together and when my Mommy duties must hold the reigns.
Everything else fit like puzzle pieces around that.
ME Time. WORK Time. Even chunks for HOME & GARDEN Time, because there must be time for gardening!! Each category colored in with a different high lighter.
Since random household tasks and cleaning could derail even my most productive work days, it was important for me to carve out plenty of time to get that done. I could physically see that I had given myself time dedicated to cleaning my home on that piece of paper I had printed out & highlighted up, pinned to the wall of my kitchen nook/home office. That gave me great peace of mind when there was a sink full of dishes calling my name. Those kinds of distractions no longer seemed so urgent and no longer had the power to draw my attention away from what I was doing, because there would be time for that.
Time was no longer this elusive thing.
I have tried other methods of time management before that just did not work well for me. This time, I started out by being honest about what it was I really wanted and why it was important to get a handle on my daily schedule. CLARITY was key.
Creating these blocks of time has EMPOWERED me to seamlessly shift my focus to home-related or work-related tasks, family fun and time for myself, knowing that I designated time for each. Soon I was organizing my work tasks more efficiently and even getting a handle on my social media time-warp with advice from Laura Rubinstein. I finally had the power to evaluate what I may be spending too much time on and where I can get help or delegate some tasks.
Beginning with clarity and empowerment have been the building blocks of something truly great for me! Managing my time is becoming an effortless process and that means more time for me to cultivate beauty in my everyday life.
Now, it’s your turn! Tell me in the comments below, how would you like to feel at the end of each day? Or perhaps, you have some time management tips to share that have worked well for you?
For more about her time chunking strategy (because I’m sure I haven’t done it justice) and excellent advice for women entrepreneurs, visit Jenny Fenig.
For savvy social media tips, visit Laura Rubinstein. I highly recommend her Social Media Engagement Matrix for her strategies that I’ve discovered are super time-savers.