How I do it all: 10 Tips to find more time to do the things you love and make you happy

I have written about finding the time to “do it all” (what does that really mean anyway?), but I guess I still give the impression that I have it altogether and it seems mysterious to others. This post will break down different components of my life, and my thought process when making decisions to save me time and effort which makes it appear as though I “do it all.”

Caveat: I have a career I am passionate about and truly love (I honestly look forward to coming to work every day), I have three healthy (seemingly-well-adjusted ha ha) little girls, and a husband I continue to fall more in love with every day. GAG, right? I feel like I have a really great life, but we all make sacrifices (like a really clean house).

10 Ways to Help You “Do It All” at home and with friends & family

Domestic Diva-ness

1. Reduce the amount of time you do things you do not enjoy (ie. grocery shopping and laundry)

How I do laundry once a week.

I go grocery shopping only twice a month.

2. Not all meals are fresh and made from scratch every night. One of my best friends quit the corporate world and started her own business as an amazing personal chef. She told me her formula for dinners at home include two easy items and one “made fresh” item. When I heard this from a professional chef, I felt like I had permission to relax when it came to meal time. Now, I rely on frozen veggies plenty of nights (stock up when the super market has $1 sales on frozen veggies).

Additionally, I have made it a habit to cook large quantities of foods I know will freeze well. I’ll double or triple my recipes for waffles, pancakes, french toast, lasagna, chicken parmesan, soups, rice & beans, quiches, pain au chocolat, cookies and many other dishes. Once they are made in bulk, we enjoy the food the same day/night, but I take the leftovers and freeze them to be consumed weeks or even months later. Heck, I buy a few turkeys at Thanksgiving and store them in my deep freezer in the basement because roasting a turkey in an oven bag for a few hours provides at least 4 nights worth of meals later in the year. Whole cranberries can be frozen too, so recreating Thanksgiving in February is a cinch – and then we have days’ worth of leftovers to enjoy in a variety of ways (turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, etc.).

3. Make sacrifices. (My house has too much stuff and it’s never 100% clean.) With kids there is always clutter and stuff sitting out. We don’t have a dog, so my floor always has crumbs (even after I just swept). Dusting, sweeping and vacuuming never ends. I am not personally comfortable with a cleaning person coming into my home, so I have a less clean house; this is my greatest sacrifice.

Note: We are not hoarders and my favorite form of cleaning is just getting rid of stuff altogether. I have accepted a good day for me is when countertops are wiped down, the stove is clean, microwave is splatter-free, and dirty dishes are put away.

My house doesn’t look dirty or filthy, but upon close inspection, you will learn I wipe down windows or base boards infrequently (when my kids are involved and it becomes a family activity). I am a fan of spot cleaning and keep cleaning products in the upstairs bathroom. This way, I can clean the upstairs bathrooms if the mood strikes me (because I am grossed out by the crusted toothpaste and water spots on the faucets), right then and there.  I like to get to it before I lose momentum, but my house is never spotless.

4. I start projects, but I don’t have a deadline (unless it is food related). Quilting, embroidery, writing… it’s open-ended; I do it when I feel inspired.

Family/Friendships/Relationships

5. I rely on my husband to be an equal partner when it comes to keeping the home and raising our girls together.  

6. We are “watch & wait” parents. My hubby and I know kids get sick a lot. Cold and random viruses are inevitable, but there’s nothing to be done about it except keep my little ones as comfortable as possible and wait for it to pass (typically 7-10 days). When my girls have runny noses and fevers, I am not itching to call the doctor because I know there is nothing they can do beyond what I’m already doing. I have called the nurses line for advice, but I am not running to the pediatricians’ office for every bug that goes through my house. It’s a waste of time. However, I will make an appointment if something has lasted more than 10 days and my mama gut is telling me something is seriously wrong.

7. Accept I cannot be everything to everyone. I was almost at my breaking point when I learned this lesson (the hard way).

8. I control what I can and accept what I cannot. Life will happen. Things happen that I have no say in, but I look at what I DO have control over, and it’s always my reaction and what I choose to do about it. I can’t do anything to stop the waves of life from crashing down, but I can swim.  There are times I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water, but I know it’s the best I can do.

9. I surround myself with really joyful, energizing people I can rely on. Once I make plans with someone, I don’t need to worry about other motives or if it’ll really happen because I have a really amazing network of friends. My super power is knowing if I want to invest in a friendship, if I don’t find them fascinating, then I’m not going to put more energy into the relationship. I am not wasting mental energy or time away from my family hanging out with people I know are not going to be people I can truly grow and experience life with for the long-haul.

10. Remove the fear of missing out (aka NO FOMO). I am 100% OK with saying no to social engagements. I figured this out in the 7th grade. I had finally felt like I made it into the popular crowd and then I saw the popular kids had all the same issues and problems as me, except everyone knew their business. I imagine this is what it feels being in the tabloids as an adult. I don’t need that ish. I didn’t want everyone knowing my business. Once I felt like “I made it” to the cool kid group, I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. I removed myself. I learned if it’s not going to bring me joy, happiness or personal fulfillment, I don’t need to be there. As it turns out, I am the party.

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