New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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Totally Together

Time Management for Moms

June 29, 2011 by  

time management for moms

I’m kind of fascinated by time management. I’ve lost count of the number of books I’ve read or listened to on tape/cd about this subject— probably well over a hundred. Whenever I have a moment or two in the library and I’m not stuck in the toddler corral, I wander into the business books and gather anything from the 658 or 332 shelves that I haven’t already read.

Most business books focus around time management and productivity. Productivity=money in business.

If you take a random poll while walking the streets, I’d venture to bet that most people wish they had more of 2 things: time and money.

I can’t really help with the money, but I can help free up some more time in your day.

Change Your Mindset.

This is probably the biggest obstacle to overcome–myself, included. If you have already decided that you don’t have enough time in the day to get it all done, you’ve defeated yourself before you’ve even begun. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

Remember when we talked about changing your vocabulary? This is the same thing. Decide that each day is a blank slate and schedule out what you want to accomplish.

Learn How to Say No.

Don’t agree to anything that doesn’t directly benefit your family. I know. It sounds callous, but if you don’t want to go to the class bowling party, don’t. RSVP no. Don’t lie– just say it’s not going to work out for you and leave it at that. If you don’t want to help organize the Church rummage sale, or arrive early to set up the chairs for the PTA meeting, don’t do it. It’s not healthy to say yes then run yourself ragged living up to a commitment you didn’t want to make in the first place.

Take back your time. Once you feel as if you’re in control of your time instead of outside influences being in charge, you can begin volunteering again.

Get Up Early.

When I suggest getting up early people sometimes freak out. In all the case studies I’ve read of successful people or people who “make it happen” they each have the same characteristic: they get up early. Usually at 5.

I know. I’m sorry.

I’ve done all the acronyms: SAH, WOH, WFH (stay at home, work out of the home, work from home) and I can absolutely-without-a-doubt credit getting up early as the key to a successful day. When I’m up in a quiet house, I feel peaceful. I love watching the sun rise while I sip my coffee, doing yoga without an audience, or going for an early morning walk or run. When I’m on a deadline, I use that hour or two to work.

In 2008 when I did the crockpot year, I got up at 4am most days. I was working from home doing 2 part time jobs, doing the crockpot stuff, and writing the first manuscript for the Totally Together Book. It was nuts, but I knew I needed to keep going. Once or twice a week I also did what I call the “split shift”: I went to bed at 8pm, then got up from midnight to 4am to work. I then slept till 7am when the kids woke me up.

The first week is the hardest, but it gets easier. I’d highly recommend putting the alarm clock on the other side of the room so you need to get all the way out of bed to turn it off. Once you’re out of bed it’s harder to climb back in (which every single day you’ll want to).

You Don’t Work 9 to 5, You Work 5 to 9

5am to 9pm Day Plan pdf

When my oldest was about 6 months, I listened to a time management book on tape which is what gave me the idea to make a day planner for moms. I emailed the Franklin Covey company and we corresponded a few times before they blew me off (they did send a 15% off coupon, though!) and I decided to create my own.

One of the lightbulb-moments I had while I was playing around with the project was the realization that I was trying to cram everything I needed/thought I needed to do between the hours of 9am to 5pm. I wanted EVERYTHING done for the day before dinner. I was under the misguided impression that the laundry, etc. should be completely finished before I watched TV or relaxed a bit. Once I started folding laundry during my tv goof-off hour (or whatever) I felt better; more whole.

This doesn’t mean that YOU, personally, need to do everything around the house—I’m a big fan of delegation and whole-heartedly believe that all of the chores should be divvied out among the children and the sexes.

Cut Yourself Some (lots of) Slack.

There are times in your life that will always be crazier than others. When you’re pregnant, nursing, not sleeping, sick,  the kids are sick, on a huge work deadline stuff just isn’t going to run as smoothly as it does when everyone is on their A-Game.  Know this and accept it. Life is not a contest, nor is it a picture-perfect spread in a design magazine.

You’re doing an awesome job. You really are.

The Daily 7 for a Highly Successful Household

PROM (purge, remove, organize, maintain)

Clean Less, Play More

How to Company Clean in 30 Minutes or Less

Time Management and Social Media: an oxymorom?

Post a comment · 27 Comments »

Comments

27 Responses to “Time Management for Moms”

  1. Heidi on June 29th, 2011 9:26 am
    1

    I’m very interested to see your book and the planner pages. I used to be a big fan of Franklin Covey (even when it was just plain old “Franklin!”), but found that it just doesn’t work as well when managing time for myself and the family. I’ve felt so disorganized since I’ve become a mom (my twins just turned 2) and it’s a feeling I’m working towards shedding.

    • Stephanie on July 4th, 2011 9:44 am
      1.1

      Heidi, if I can help in any way, please let me know. I’d imagine having 2-year-old twins would make anyone feel disorganized— but please know that what you are feeling is just that: a feeling. If you are getting through the days and everyone is fed, clean(ish), and you know where most things are at any given time, you’re doing a phenomenal job. And it will get better and better each day. lots of love. xoxo steph

  2. Sue Lewis on June 29th, 2011 10:52 am
    2

    For the “saying no” thing — when my kids were young, and I was working full-time, I adopted my “policy”. It states that every adult should be responsible for something outside the house — be it a local town office, coaching a kids team, volunteering, or my choice, Boy Scouts with my boys. I worked on the average, a few hours a week on helping out my Cub/Boy Scouts. The rest of my policy stated that if everyone picked one thing, then we wouldn’t see the same parents always doing double and triple duty. And since I was doing my “one thing”, I didn’t feel guilty about saying no to other requests. Not that I did often say no, but I always knew I’d given myself that option. Now my kids are past Scouts, and I need to find a new “one thing”. But my policy worked for me.

    • Stephanie on July 4th, 2011 9:41 am
      2.1

      Hi Sue, this is a great idea. I wish I had an answer for the guilt thing— women just really have a tendency to harbor guilt much moreso than men seem to. One ‘yes’ to a ‘thing’ is very sensible. thank you for sharing!! xoxo steph

  3. Sandy Cooper on July 4th, 2011 6:12 am
    3

    Stephanie:

    First of all, I just want you to know that I love when you post. Every single word you write has a tendency to resonate with me. Though I miss your daily words of wisdom, I love when a new something-something shows up in my inbox from you.

    Second, a few posts back you asked for blogs to add to your blog roll. I am currently taking a summer blog break AND I’m trying to decide whether or not to continue with the fitness blog. SOOOO…I just wanted you to know I would love to submit my blog(s) when I’m up and running again next month. I will do so at that time. What a thoughtful idea. You rock.

    Third (Sorry, I think in lists–actually flowcharts–but I can’t really post a flowchart, so you get a list), I am teaching a Wednesday night class called Balance that Works for Women. This week, I’m teaching all about household chores, meal planning and exercise. I just wanted you to know that I’m using some of your stuff (the Daily 7, PROM, Cleaning for Company) and will give you full credit and direct people to your website for more info.

    Wish you could fly into KY and be a guest speaker for me. Wouldn’t that be fun?

    I miss chatting with you. Hope you are having a great summer.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

    • Stephanie on July 4th, 2011 9:39 am
      3.1

      Hi Sandy,
      yes. to all. Thanks for letting me know about the blogroll, I had you listed! I’ve been thinking about you lots because Adam brought home a bootlegged (we didn’t bootleg it! :-0 ) P90x dvd set and I did 2 days about a month ago then quit— but I read through all your posts and laughed my head off about your neighbor taking the day off work.

      I’m happy to help with your class in any way I can. if you want to do a question & answer on speaker phone or through skype, please let me know.

      we ARE having a great summer, thank you. we just got back from 2 nights camping, and the baby didn’t cooperate the first night at all. I ended up strapping her into the carseat at 2am and sleeping in the front seat (after having a mini panic attack that the car was where we were storing all the food and there were bear sightings the night before).

      have a great 4th! xoxo steph

      • Sandy Cooper on July 5th, 2011 10:12 am

        OH, I would LOVE to have you do a Q&A for the class! I wish I would have thought to mention it to you earlier. I am cramming so much info into the hour and 15 minutes because Week 2 was preempted by tornadoes. I only have 4 weeks to teach and, were it not for the tornadoes, would have had PLENTY of time to do a phone interview with you!!!!!

        My heart is racing, just thinking about how much fun that would be.

        Seriously…it’s racing. Maybe next time!

        Your first night of camping sounds miserable. So sorry.

        And since I printed that story about my neighbor and P90X, his wife begins every sentence with me by saying, “Is this going to end up on your blog?” HA!

        Love you, friend.

  4. Holly on July 19th, 2011 11:45 am
    4

    I am really interested in your book but feel guilty (yes THAT word) buying another planner when I just bought one a few weeks ago (literally just before your email went out). I was wondering if you will be doing an e-reader version? I would love to be able to keep a version that way. Any plans? Thanks for your kind words! You definitely help with the whole guilt feeling perspective. ;)

    • Stephanie on July 20th, 2011 8:13 am
      4.1

      Hi Holly,
      I’m not in charge of the ebook thing— the publishing house is. I’ll see what I can find out. No guilt! life is good! ;-0

      • Holly on July 21st, 2011 1:56 pm

        Thanks Stephanie! I’m thinking that if it doesn’t end up being an ebook then it will still be well worth buying anyway to have. I really love the idea of having reminders to do things I can’t remember that needs to get done with all the everyday stuff that bounces around my head. Thanks for all the hard work you do! I love the crockpot stuff and am really excited to learn tricks for better time management. The comment you made about getting up early really hit home with me. I do get more done when I get up early but being that I’m not morning person I have to really make myself. I’m a work in progress though. :)

        • Stephanie on July 21st, 2011 4:14 pm

          we all are. I promise. ;-)
          I’ve begun really pondering the meaning of life an awful lot—I think it’s a pretty normal thing, right?
          anyway, I think knowing and accepting that you are a work in progress is one of the meanings of life. at least for this week…
          :-0
          xoxox

  5. Michelle Caldera on August 15th, 2011 3:48 pm
    5

    Hi, Stephanie! Just wanted to tell you that I placed my order for your new book, and I am so excited to receive it. I rarely buy books, but I couldn’t pass up my chance to incorporate more of your awesome ideas and tips. The Daily 7 has changed my household (and me) for the better, in a big way! A new school year seems like the perfect time to get everything else in shape :) Thank you so much for being such a positive light; I have learned so much from you and truly appreciate all you do!

  6. Stacey on August 20th, 2011 5:35 am
    6

    Stephanie – I am so excited to hear that you were finally able to get Totally Together published! I was so disappointed when they pulled the plug on it before. I only found out just now – I recently joined goodreads.com & they emailed me about August New Releases based on books I had on my “shelves”! I will be heading straight to Amazon to order my copy! Woo hoo! Thanks for all you do – enjoy the rest of your summer.

  7. Tanna on October 11th, 2011 2:09 pm
    7

    Hi Stephanie, Boy…love your book. My life has already changed in the past week by making my bed everyday, wiping down the bathroom 1 per day or every other and doing a load of laundry everyday (which I swore for years was the craziest thing people could do and I would NEVER do it! But I have done it for 8 days now and LOVE that I do not spend 1/2 to a whole day (twice a week) working on laundry all morning only to find 3-5 loads piled on my bed at bedtime. I am a believer.)
    Also, loving your cookbooks as we are GF. Have turned my crock pot back on and feel so great that meals are ready in the evening and I didn’t slave in the afternoon.
    I am curious if there is an online or printable version of the schedule or calendar that is in the book. I would love to print it and not use my ONLY copy to start writing in. Thanks

  8. Maureen on March 2nd, 2013 8:12 pm
    8

    I’m not a mom, but need help organizing my house and chores. Also trying to fit time into the day everyday to work in training with 2 new rescue dogs that need a lot of time. ( I know they aren’t kids,,,but do come with some similar responsibilities) is the book so geared toward moms I won’t find it useful.?

    • Stephanie on March 3rd, 2013 7:05 am
      8.1

      Hi Maureen, there are a few solely kid-related craft suggestions, but mostly just a list of chores and tasks daily/weekly to keep you (somewhat) sane and organized. :-) I think it’s wonderful that you have rescue dogs — I’d like to do that, someday. There’s a lady in our neighborhood who takes in rescue dogs and she is wonderful. best of luck to you!!

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