Moms do it all, don’t they? It a single day they wear many hats, take on many roles, and complete more than their share of tasks. So when a momma decides to pursue additional goals, a good method of organization is required to keep track of her jammed packed schedule and lists of to-dos. Time-blocking is a skill that can be adapted into your daily habits to help gain control over the chaos that often reigns supreme in motherhood. With a few steps and a little practice, you’ll soon be planning out your days in true mother hustler style.
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What ever goal you are pursuing, such as starting or building a side gig, losing 15 pounds, or finishing up your latest Pinterest project for the upcoming holiday, it is imperative to set aside time to complete it. That’s where time-blocking comes in. Within your planner or Google calendar you need to purposely schedule in an hour, or two, or three, to take action towards your goals. This might be one solid block of time or you may have to break it up using the pockets of time throughout your day.
However, as a mom you have a lot of other responsibilities and tasks to work around so time management can be a bit tricky. With time blocking you are being intentional with the hours of your day and giving yourself a guide to follow that will allow you to better focus on the task at hand.
This is a typical day’s schedule for me:
5 AM to 6:45 AM: work/write/market
6:45 AM to 7 AM: get ready
7 AM to 8:20 AM: get kids ready
8:30 AM: school drop off
9 AM to 10 AM: Gym
10 AM to 11 AM: errands/household chores
11:05 AM: kindergarten drop off
11:15 AM to 12 PM: play/feed/special time with toddler
12 PM to 2:45 PM: work/right/blog tasks/to-dos/nap time for toddler
2:55 PM: school pick up
3:15 PM to 5 PM: snacks/homework help/a mix of whatever multitasking I can do
5 PM to 7 PM: practices/activities/dinner/our nights vary
7 PM to 8 PM: bedtime prep
8 PM: young kids bedtime (hallelujah)
8 PM to 8:30 PM: time with my big boys/husband
8:30 PM to 10 PM: work/write/next day prep
10 PM to 10:30 PM: bedtime prep
10:30 PM: sleep
And this is how I integrate it into my planner using time-blocking:
That is what my schedule looks like nearly every weekday. But here’s the real deal, because remember I’m a mom. Just because it looks like that doesn’t mean it is perfectly executed. I also don’t write every little thing down in my planner. For instance, I don’t have to remind myself to get dressed and put make-up on. I am capable of doing things that are not in my planner. 😉
I adjust little parts of my day pretty much everyday according to what my kids have going on, but because I have purposely set time aside for work tasks, household chores, and periods to just be in the role of mom, I can be deliberate about doing those things even if its not always exactly how I planned. So how can you get started time-blocking your mom life? Below are the steps to get you off on the right foot.
Guide to time-blocking for moms.
Step #1: Get a planner that has a daily by the hour portion.
I currently use a passion planner, for each week it has an hourly schedule, and sections for to-do lists, notes, focus, and reflection. Another option that is very similar is the Law of Attraction planner. If you are on a tighter budget, this one is basic, but great for beginners, and effective.
Also, you should purchase a set of ultra fine point sharpies in assorted colors to help categorize and separate your tasks. Plus, it makes your planner look really cute. 🙂
Step #2: Book an appointment with yourself to plan.
Find a day and time to take an hour and plan out your week. Sunday is usually the best day because a) it’s the day before your week day madness begins, and b) you can usually find a free hour that you might have a harder time getting during the week.
Step #3: Enter your hard obligations first.
The first things you should enter into your schedule when time-blocking are the things that you can’t change such as, school drop off and pick up, doctor appointments, sports practices or other activities, tutoring, or workout classes, etc. Then, you are left with the time around those tasks to schedule your other to-dos in that are more time flexible.
Step #4: Prioritize and categorize your tasks.
Now we have to get a little more detailed. It is easiest to start by making lists of task from most important to least important and separate those tasks by category. Don’t worry if this looks a little messy, we are going to transfer it onto your planner anyway. Your categories will vary but you will likely have some combination of the following: household, business or goal-related, kids, marriage, personal.
- Your household catagory will consist of anything that has to do with running your home life like cleaning, organizing, laundry, paying bills etc.
- Business or goal related tasks will be specific to whatever your other aspirations are. Mine of course consist of writing, lots of writing, and web site management.
- Kids, marriage, and personal are any tasks that you have to or want to include in your week such as filling out forms or fundraising for your kids’ school, family outings, date night, food prep, exercise, etc.
Each category will have tasks listed in order of priority.
Step #5 Fill in your hours.
Now its time to take your lists and fill in your daily schedule. If you are just beginning to time-block don’t expect your schedule to flow smoothly the first time around. You are going to find where you need to make adjustments and what type of schedule fits your day best, so be flexible, especially at first.
Schedule your high priority tasks during the most productive time of your day. I have two blocks of time for those types of tasks: early morning and nap time. But be sure to spread out your more demanding tasks throughout your week. If you put all of your more difficult duties in one day it is unlikely you will get them done and more likely that you will just get discouraged.
Continue to fill in space with your less important tasks until your schedule is complete and all of your tasks are included.
IMPORTANT: Do no overload yourself and be sure to leave open hours as a buffer between tasks. Often times things take longer than we think, especially because moms can get side tracked with unexpected occurrences such as a diaper explosion, your toddler coloring all over your dining room table, chairs, walls, and floor, or one of your kids wanting to “help” you clean the bathroom. A very sweet gesture but certainly something that slows down the process.
Step #6: More list making.
Another action I encourage you to include during your weekly planning is preparing any lists you might need during your task completion. This could include which meals you are making for your family, grocery lists, Target lists, other shopping lists, or supplies you might need to gather for a project.
Practice Makes Closer to Perfect
Because I am a mom I am constantly having to adjust, reschedule, rearrange, and overcome the occurrences of my day. I work from home so maybe that happens more often for someone in my situation versus a momma who is pursuing goals in a workplace. However, it happens to all moms with goals, big or small, at some point and on a regular basis. Maybe your baby got a fever overnight so you can’t bring him to the child care room at your gym. Or rather than getting your spring cleaning list done you have to spend the evening helping your 3rd grader with his moon project.
Whatever unexpected tasks get mixed into your day remember this, the longer you practice the craft of time-blocking the easier it gets to make those adjustments as you fine-tune what works best for you.
If at first the method of time-blocking is overwhelming, push yourself to keep doing it. Before you know it you will wonder how you ever went without it.