It’s a 2-parter on time management! My last blog post provided 10 tips on “how I do it all.” But time management continues to be the greatest challenge for me, and I suspect others. It’s worth another post.
13 More General Ways to Help You “Do It All”
- Say yes to things I love to do, but really thoughtful and mindful of what it will mean. For example, I said yes to taking three semesters of Spanish. It was a course provided through work, and it took place two nights a week immediately after work. This meant I would miss seeing my daughters after work (a total of 6 hours each week). This was a big bummer, but I knew the payoff would be worth it (learning a new foreign language, something I have always wanted to do). Silver lining: mama being out of the house offered quality time with their dad (not a bad thing). Similarly, I attend a weekly yoga class after work which means I miss an hour of time with my girls each week. I love the class and teacher, Juli Hicks, so it’s worth it to me. Also, I am a better mom after spending some quality time on my yoga mat.
- Be aware of my time sucks and actively reduce or eliminate its power in my life. For a lot of people, this would be social media or playing on their phone. I knew my biggest time suck was television (it still is). We cancelled our cable subscription over 6 years ago and my nights magically became very free! I am not up and up on all the latest TV shows, but I’m OK with it. There are other things to discuss around the office water cooler. I think for a lot of people, this could mean deleting the Facebook app off their phone.
- Invest time & money in things I think are important (which will in turn save me more time like an image consultant and a lawn mowing service). I like to look polished and put together, but I don’t enjoy shopping or thinking about how to put an outfit together. I just don’t find joy in it. I find joy in working with an image consultant! Now I don’t waste time in the morning figuring out what to wear. Most importantly, working with Traci saves me A LOT of time, money, and frustration! Another example, this year me and the hubs have decided we will pay for a lawn mowing service because we both hate it SOOOO much. Using “lawn mowing time” to do something else far outweighs the cost of hiring someone to mow for us.
- I sleep-trained my kids. I know it’s controversial, but it worked for my family and my kids sleep 11-12 hours each night, uninterrupted.
- I don’t put my kids in extra-curricular activities.
- I don’t overschedule weekends. I typically decline little kid birthday party invitations because they usually interfere with naptime (see #5 above). I am not in favor of running around like chickens without a head to get a lot of kid activities done on the weekends either. It’s just not our priority. As a family, we are happiest just being together regardless of the setting or activity. The girls are thrilled to run an errand just as much as they are delighted to attend a kiddie event.
- Weeknights are pretty standard. This makes me and the hubs sound like selfish parents, but our girls become batty after 5pm, so doing nighttime activities are not worth it at this point. I anticipate this will change as they get older and tolerate staying up past 7pm! Our after-work activities lean towards doing things we enjoyed doing before we had kids, like yoga, golf, volleyball, or meeting up with friends after the girls are in bed.
- Find the stuff I need, order online, and then get it delivered to my house (usually for *FREE*). I do not like to shop and the thrill of the hunt is lost on me. I have lots of friends who are Amazon Prime members for the free shipping. I agree; free shipping cannot be beat! Since having twins, I have relied on the internet more and more to find the things I want to purchase and the stuff we need to get through life (like diapers and wipes). I am not an Amazon Prime member, and I think it helps curb my spending because I am super critical of what’s in my cart to get to the $49 minimum required for free shipping. I’m purchasing less often, which also reduces overall spending and helps keep our monthly budget (it’s the same concept as going to the grocery store every day, you always end up buying more than you intended… I know I could go to Target daily and always find something new to take home with me)! Since I work with a stylist, I have some really specific stuff I want to find, but I don’t have the time to comb the racks or randomly pop into TJMaxx. I find a lot of my accessories online at ebags.com, zulily.com, zappos.com (free returns!) and amazon.com like a kelly green belt, purple suede pointed toe flats, yellow trench coat, a navy fringe cross-body bag, or my most favorite winter coat ever! I use ebates.com to get extra money back too!
- Beautify at home instead of a salon. I don’t have a desire to sit in a salon for hours on end, which is what it would require if I were to get manis/pedis, hair colored and eyebrows done every 4-6 weeks. No thanks. Youtube is great at providing beauty tutorials and I learned how to shape my eyebrows at home (search for eyebrow shaping with white eyeliner – it’s no fail)! I’ve asked my hair stylist how to color my hair at home (when I feel like I want a change) and he’s more than happy to share detailed instructions and specifics on colors to pick up at Sally Beauty. When it comes to my toes and nails, I don’t bother much. Manicures are wasted on me because I pick at the first sign of a little chip and my feet are WAY too ticklish for a professional pedicure. I paint my toes at home during the warmer months, but overall, I don’t spend a lot of time in salons. I love a good facemask and bubble bath though!
- Find tools to help me organize – I still use an old-fashioned paper and pen calendar. I may get made fun of for not having an electronic calendar, but I still manage to keep my life in order, remember birthdates, and show up for commitments on time. I don’t see value in putting everything into an electronic calendar, but that’s just my way of accepting what works for me. I like to plan things out in steps and oftentimes things like baking a pie or cake from scratch will take 2-3 days because I bake the cake one night, make the frosting the next night, and decorate the third night. There’s no rush and it still tastes delicious. Awesome side note: you can freeze frosted or unfrosted freeze cake to be eaten later too (think about all the frozen desserts you see in the grocery freeze section – same idea)!
- I do not have a smartphone; texting and checking email/newsfeeds are not on my radar. I want to live my life mindfully and be super present, which means I am not documenting it like a reality TV star. This makes a big difference in what I accomplish. My mental energy is not spent thinking, “Oh I should post this!” If I am taking pictures it’s on my digital camera (not linked to any social media for easy posting) and it’s because I want to capture the moment for an actual photo album. I am not checking my phone unless it’s ringing (my flippy has text messaging turned off) nor am I constantly pondering which photos to post next to social media accounts. I know this is antiquated considering the times we live in. I am realistic and I know I will most likely need to create some sort of social media presence to monitor my kids in their adolescence, but for now, no thanks.
- I LOVE NAPPING. Friends will mock how I keep my naptime sacred, but it is SO important to me. I still live by “When the baby is sleeping, you sleep.” All 3 of my girls still nap and I know my oldest will still nap even after she starts half-day kindergarten in the fall. When I was her age, I napped after kindergarten (and watching some soap operas with my mom) and I still nap as an adult. It recharges me and gives me the energy and clear-head I need to finish the day with patience. I do not look at my kids’ naptime as a chance to get my stuff done. I do a lot of “my stuff” when they are awake and they often tag along because they just want to hang out with me.
- I have energy for things I am passionate about. I know if it’s something I really want to do, I will find energy to do it because it excites me. This means I only say yes to doing things I am genuinely excited to do! For example, I planned a Think Tank Style Party with my image consultant and 5 girlfriends. My image consultant Traci exclaimed, “Michelle with everything you have going on, you’re going to host this too?!” I jumped at the chance to share my stylist’s talent because I want others to benefit from all she has to offer too! It’s a win-win. My sacrifice was my Sunday afternoon nap, but it was worth it and I felt energized having everyone come together to meet Traci and learn from her.