Overwhelm can be a daily struggle for moms if we let it because we’re “needed” around the clock and through each and every one of those 365 days on the calendar. There are no breaks, sick-days, or excuses. We’re always on-call and need to be ever-ready for the unexpected. So, feeling overwhelmed can be a day to day struggle if we let it!
With the kids, home, work, spouse all vying for our attention – how do we eliminate the unnecessary, focus on what’s most important, and keep our peace in the process?
In short, we must have a firm grasp on how we spend our time. And get REALLY good at it.
Time Management is big business and a subject we all want and need to master. Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that’ll work for everyone. Especially, us mommas!
Most time management books have little consideration for busy mommas like us. And furthermore, don’t address the ever changing seasons we find ourselves in year after year – pregnancy, newborns, life with busy teenagers, and balancing it all with a busy work schedule.
The secret to fighting overwhelm and getting more done is to adjust how we manage our time based on the current season we’re in. For example, if you’re in the season of having a new baby, demands will change and shift dramatically over the course of a few months. And more realistically – a few years.
So learning what works in your season is key to stopping overwhelm dead in its tracks and allowing you to be free to increase your overall productivity. But it helps if you actually know your season, so I’ll cover that briefly here.
Know Your Season
The first step in fighting overwhelm is to know what season you’re currently in. Doing this allows you to give yourself permission to do less, do more, or simply do it differently for a period of time.
Understanding this will give you so much peace and will keep you from comparing yourself to another mom, friend, co-worker, or even yourself from an earlier season in life. We’ve all been there.
Ain’t nobody got time for comparing themselves to other people! Seriously. It only opens the door for insecurities, self-doubt, and overwhelm. So don’t do it!
Choose to be present in the season you’re in. Instead of stressing over what you can’t do or where you want to go – give yourself permission to enjoy where you are now.
If you find yourself in a tough or challenging season, remember that seasons are always changing and it won’t always be like this. Conversely, if you’re in a great season don’t forget to soak it all in and live in the moment because seasons are always evolving.
Find What Works
If you’re a mom with a baby or a small child who isn’t sleeping well through the night, know that until you get your precious Z’s back, the wee hours of the morning may not be your go-to time for great productivity.
If you’re the mom with a teen who’s busy with a full sports schedule that takes up most of your evenings due to games and practices – investing a few hours on the weekend to prep your family’s meals for the week could relieve the week-night meal grind.
Maybe you’ve gone back to school, your business has taken off, or you’ve received a new promotion on your job that requires more of your time working. You must become comfortable asking for help. And may even need to consider using some of your increased income (if you have any) to fund shortcuts like hiring a cleaning, laundry, or meal service for the house.
Hiring a personal/virtual assistant can help immensely in your business as well to handle all the tasks that take up your time but can easily be delegated. This way you can focus on the big and important stuff in your home and business.
Let’s face it, moms are like chameleons who are constantly required to change to fit our ever-changing family dynamics. But I believe we were created to be able to flow this way because our Creator knows the nature of motherhood and gave us everything we need to be awesome!
Take a Time Audit
Once you start working with your current season, you can more easily see what’s weighing you down, holding you back, or sucking up all your valuable time.
Let’s face it we can’t have it all …. all at the same time. So, we need to make some choices on where we spend our time. Taking a time audit is extremely helpful in allowing us to get a full picture on how much time we really spend in the different areas of our lives.
If you feel overextended on a daily basis, this will help you decide what you can and should eliminate or tweak to get your sanity back. You can do this by making a list on a sheet of paper all the activities you do on a daily/weekly basis. Tag each category with codes like WO-Work, KT-Kids Time, C-Cleaning, SP-Spouse Time, etc.
Strip Off What You Don’t Need
Now that you see where your time’s going, it’s time to make those tweaks I mentioned earlier.
Start by looking at your time inventory and look for anything that sticks out. Do you spend a lot of time watching TV or on Social Media? Do you spend very little time on housework but feel like your home is in constant disorder?
What you’ll be left with are all the things you’ll want or need to start doing and things you’ll want or need to stop doing – or do less.
Now that you’ve done that, you can more effectively add your new, better activities right in. So, if you decide you want/need to start an exercise routine of 30 minutes per day, then the reduction of your TV time by 30 minutes is definitely a better trade-off. And your body will thank you! 😉
Create Peaceful Moments
If you want more peace – you must create the environment for peace. You CAN NOT go from sun up to sun down doing stuff non-stop. You’ll get burnt out and begin to resent the very things we love because as moms we serve. And it’s all that serving that can leave us empty …. IF we don’t fill back up!
In these peaceful moments, we get to reconnect with our whys and recommit to our purpose of serving and loving our families. I have a daily quiet time every morning where I pray, read my Bible, and write in my journal. I also try my best to have some relax time in the evenings with my husband where we aren’t working or talking about work.
Your peaceful moments will probably look different than mine, but the important thing is you are doing something for yourself that you enjoy. And after, you feel ready to take on the day!
Take the Shortcut!
Unfortunately, every trade-off isn’t that easy because for some of you – the extra margin in your days isn’t very much and isn’t filled with a lot of fluff. That’s when you look for the shortcuts!
Here’s a quick list of ideas that help you save time and get more done:
Order your groceries online and pick them up in the store
Many stores all over the country are doing this totally free for their customers. Wal-mart just jumped on the bandwagon and they’re really rolling out the red carpet, too.
Clean your house using a batching schedule
This means doing one cleaning activity per day and nothing more. For example, dusting all the surfaces in your entire house on Mondays and that’s it. Tuesdays go through and vacuum all the floors.
Of course, there are unavoidable tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher that must be done every day. But the big stuff you can do once a week.
Use those eager little helpers
If you have teenagers, they may not be so “eager” but they’re definitely old enough to help a whole lot around the house – and that shouldn’t be an option. If you have really little children, they may be super eager but less able to help as much.
My advice is to drop the “it’s not done right unless I do it” mindset. It’s really just a waste of your precious time. So if your husband insists on folding the towels wrong – let him. And if you’re littles don’t wipe the table “completely” clean – it’s OK. Take the help and keep it moving.
Get up early or stay up late
I personally tried my hardest to find another way, and over the course of 3 years, I’ve not found a more effective way of getting things done than rising early.
But I added staying up late because I know that some people (like my hubby) are night owls, so I say work with what you’ve got! I personally can’t stay up past 10 pm, but I get up at 4 am every day except Sunday. And this serves as the time I get so much of my writing work done.
Become a systems minded person
Instead of doing every task in your day manually – one by one – think of how you can create a system for that task. And maybe even automate or outsource altogether. And fight the urge to feel like you can’t slow down long enough to set up your systems. Go for the long-term win instead of the short-term fail and get off that hamster wheel!
Have a Plan
Whether it’s cleaning your house or working your business, if you fail to plan … well you know the rest. Having goals and a writing plan and schedule is necessary to staying focused and getting results. Planning allows you to test and measure so you can constantly improve and get better and more efficient.
How do you beat feelings of overwhelm? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, so we can all grow together!