How I Started Managing my Time Better

Where did the time go?

I think this is a problem that we all face whether you are a busy stay at home mom or an on the go business mogul, time is valuable and none of us has it to waste! I can’t count the number of times that I have thought to myself ” What did you get done today, Loren?”.
One of my absolute biggest time suckers is……you guessed it! Social media. I love looking at all of the fun pictures or amusing posts from friends and family but I plan to sit down to look for a minute and the next thing I know 35 minutes have past and those dishes still need to be washed. Facebook and Instagram are personal favorites and they are such amazing ways stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and I know it has been a great way for distant family members to see snippets of my kids lives. At the end of the day though, I can honestly say 99% of the time in that 35 minutes I don’t come away with anything life altering. Yes, there are the days when I find out a friend is pregnant, someone is going through a hard time, or I get inspiration on a day that I’m feeling like I’m doing everything wrong but other than that seeing vacation pictures doesn’t add or take away anything significant from my life. That’s 35 minutes that I could have been working on a project, cleaning so I don’t have to worry about it later, or spending valuable time with my kids. Don’t get me wrong I totally want to see what everyone did on vacation or that sign they made for their front door, I just have to find a more appropriate time to do so. Although, I do have the mornings where I just sit and snoop and not much gets done around the house which is fine sometimes!
Making a plan and getting things done ahead of time saves me a ton of time and energy everyday as well as trying to cut out distractions. With 2 little kids and  a very busy big kid, some day’s I am just in survival mode and I get done the bare minimum in order to go to bed before my brain explodes. On the days that I can look to tomorrows plans in order to get ahead of things, I am so grateful that I did. As parents we all know on the day you are running out the door already 5 minutes late the baby will have explosive diarrhea, the 3 year old will not be able to find his shoe and bedlam will erupt, and the big kid? Well he can’t find his hand in front of his face on a good day but this particular day he will be in search of his hockey game stick and chest pads. Once you have found everything, the tears have dried (yours and theirs), and no one smells like rotten eggs anymore you will just want to give up even attempting to go anywhere with these insane people but unfortunately we all have commitments to fulfill so off we go!

These are some of the things that I do to save myself time, I know it probably seems silly to think that doing this stuff at night will save you any time in the morning but it really does. I always thought “what does it matter when I do it? I’ll just do it in the morning”. Well life doesn’t always go to plan and even when it does it’s nice not having to worry about the little things!
Clean the house before bed.
Now I’m not talking passing  a white glove test here but dishes washed and drying, dishwasher running, clothes in the dryer, toys and clothes picked up, and a quick walk through of the kids bathroom to close the shower curtain, flush the toilet and put away toothbrushes/toothpaste (seriously, why would my kids do any of these things on their own?). When I know I have to do all of the things listed above when I wake up I feel super behind before I even get out of bed and it makes my morning less enjoyable. I am kind of weird and get really stressed if the house is messy regardless of what is going on so this is something that I need for my own sanity but it might not make a difference for you. Give it try though, you never know what you might gain!
Making lunches and snacks ahead of time.
Honestly, I don’t know why I stopped doing this once school was out in regards to Mikes lunches because it saves a lot of time and worry on the mornings when we are running behind but I try to do this during the school year for both Mike and Ethan. There are some mornings that I realize I should have gotten  groceries like 5 days ago and I need a little extra time to improvise or make a quick run to the store before Mike leaves in the morning.

Lay out clothes the night before!!!
Now just a warning, to those of you with toddlers, you will pick out an outfit and he or she will no longer like that shirt come morning because (the shirts not cold enough) so make sure you’ve had your coffee or diet coke before trying to dress that kid. Explaining to them why we don’t go to the Zoo in our winter pj’s when it’s 89 degrees out will make your head spin. I even lay my clothes out if I think about it, gives me the chance to check if something needs to be washed, searched for, or if I’m going to start that workout program for the 10th time because I don’t like the way anything looks. Don’t worry though that urge passes once I see cake.
Pack the diaper bag.
Some of you will be able to skip this tip since your kids are a little older. Make sure you’ve got everything you need for the day ahead so you’re not scrounging around at 7am for butt paste and a granola bar.
Clean your car out.
Go ahead and get that done the night before along with loading up the stroller or whatever else you may need because that will be the morning you think you have everything ready to go, you’ll be so  proud of your self for rocking this whole motherhood thing and then you’ll arrive at your destination only to realize while you are pulling in to the parking lot that you left the stroller in the garage, you have extra summer clothes for the baby who by now has had a major blowout but whoops its now 32 degrees out, and you have no sippy cups with you.
My biggest night before tip? Make the coffee and set the timer!!!!!!
I literally don’t know why but it is the biggest pain in the butt when I have to stumble out to the kitchen and walk back and forth adding water and coffee grounds to the machine while trying not to trip over the dog and cat chasing each other. It’s like golden trumpets playing for me when I walk out of our bedroom and I smell that fresh brewed coffee in the morning. I imagine that’s what Heaven smells like. I have my favorite coffee cup all ready to go with a little sugar in it and we are off to the races!!!
Make a to do list.
I know it might sound silly and I was not a huge list maker but I am trying to become one! It’s kind of a relief to get things off my brain and onto paper where I can get a visual on my goals for the day and I love seeing all the tasks get crossed off! I try to take Crystal Pains advice and pick a couple tasks from your list and cross them off before doing them because I can assure you once you start writing out all the things you feel are important and need to be done immediately your list is going to be pretty long, overwhelming, and frankly a little unrealistic. So maybe cleaning out the pantry can wait until another day so you have time to call your grandparents or scrubbing the kitchen grout can take a backseat to reading your kids a book and talking to that friend who needs a sympathetic ear.

Set your alarm to give yourself a little extra time in the morning. 
It’s nice to have the extra time available to snuggle with the kid who is having trouble waking up,  read a chapter or 2 of that book sitting on your table, or to just sit and pray over your family for a while. It makes the morning a little more bearable when I have some quiet down time to prepare myself for a day full of taking care of everyone else’s needs.
Avoid social media.
I don’t typically look at social media when I first wake up. Now this is not true every single day but I make a real effort every morning to not scroll through Facebook until late morning or early afternoon. I get out of bed a lot faster! I get breakfast and lunches made, laundry done, chores that are difficult to complete with little ones under foot out of the way, and sometimes I even manage to shower! I feel much more accomplished by noon on the days that I really think about my priorities for the day.
Until recently I was kind of embarrassed by the fact that I LOVE it when my house is clean and honestly I need structure for my day. Everyone else seems so laid back and not concerned if 5 toy bins are dumped out in the living room while I’m having an anxiety attack on the inside. I do not do well with chaos and just winging it, so all of these tips help me feel  a little more organized and sane. I have become more relaxed about certain things and I am sure my mother-in-law can attest to the fact that my house looks like a tornado tore through it 70% of the time but as she always reminds me when I apologize for the mess, I have very little kids and eventually it’ll get and stay neat. Until then I will keep pretending that I didn’t spend 2 days cleaning before someone comes over and hopefully you’ll find 1 or 2 of these tips useful or at least get a  giggle out of my craziness!
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2 thoughts to “How I Started Managing my Time Better”

  1. I literally paused reading this to write my to do list and schedule in all of the things I want to take care of when I get home. This was incredibly motivating! Thanks for sharing your experience, I don’t quite feel alone with the whole anxiety and having the house clean thing now.

    1. Hi, Gina! I am so happy that this helped you! I always thought I was a little crazy for feeling that way but I’ve come to see I’m not the only one.

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