As we continue to promote our Community Outreach Initiative, I want to share some advice on keeping yourself sane and productive. I am a working mom and a part-time professor so time is something I don’t really have enough of. I had to come up with some tricks and strategies to keep it all together and manage my stress. As my daughter is now walking and getting into everything, I find myself trying to be consistent with my strategies so that I can gain every available productive moment out of my day. Here are some of my secret tips to keep me sane, organized, and productive:
Make the bed every morning. This keeps me sane. It does not have to be perfectly made, but just making my bed gives me a sense of calm. I often have too much laundry to fold, open drawers, toys on the floor, and lots of piles of stuff in our room. So when I make the bed, regardless of the mess, our room looks a little better. It makes me feel accomplished. This also helps me not want to take a quick nap in the afternoon when I work from home. I don’t want to undo the bed or sleep on top, so instead I grab a cup of tea or coffee and push through the 2pm blues.
Coffee. Speaking of coffee, I found this tip on a Pinterest post: add coconut milk, raw cacao powder, and a little stevia to your coffee and BAM, you got your energy drink. Since I cut out all refined sugar out of my diet, I swear this gives me constant energy and a little something sweet mid-afternoon.
Create tasks lists based on projects, not days. Over the years, I could never finish my day-to-day task list. I felt stressed and constantly overwhelmed. I still have a hectic working schedule, but now I create tasks list based on projects. For example, here’s how I divide up my work: school events, parent coaching, bully programs, marketing, blogging…and the list goes on and on. I assign a timeline to each project task and every time something pops in my head, I just add it to the right list. Each morning as a sip my delicious coffee, I go through the project list. It gives me some ideas of what is pressing and what is completed. I love this system and I feel a lot more accomplished.
Use that calendar app to the fullest! I use my iCalendar as my personal assistant. I put all the bells and whistles on each task, and block out time for projects. For example, I will put in my workout and time to run errands. I block out time and color code it per category. That way, when I look at my calendar in the morning, I know what I need to do and the time I need to allocate for it.
Make the most out of your environment. I love to sleep. I’m not going to lie: I have a great kid that loves to sleep too. So I am blessed in that respect; however, when my love monster wakes up she is on the loose! Then comes the non-stop chatter and walking. It is nearly impossible to get ready. I thought that if I just got up before her I could get going, but I quickly found out that I would rather sleep those extra hours. So here is what I do: I baby proofed our bathroom and filled the last drawer with her toys. That way, I can keep an eye on her while I shower and get ready.
Have a plan B. I learned the hard way that babysitters can cancel, run late, or not show at all. So I have a system with my trusted neighbors in case of emergency, and I also always have a plan B for childcare. Build a good list of helpful people to make sure you don’t get stuck in a bind.
Pre-pack bags. Make you have the following in your purse or bag: hand sanitizer, money (cause sometimes we can’t find our wallets for the life of us), a diaper, wipes, gum, Kleenex, Advil, Emergency-C, snacks, a few little toys, pens, note pad, portable phone charger, water bottle, sunglasses, lip balm, mini make up case with mascara, gloss, moisturizer tint, toothbrush and paste, and hair tie or clip. You just never know if you have to run out of the house without your makeup on or what situations you’ll encounter!
Do 15 minute power chores. Split up your weekly chores into 15 minute a day mini clean sessions. I have a dog and a messy kid. I need to Swiffer my floors every night and clean the kitchen. I spend 15 minutes doing that instead of having to stress out about having to majorly clean the floors and kitchen twice a week. These mini clean sessions make weekly chores a lot less work.
Journal. I read a lot of articles and research about how journaling and visualization helps people succeed and leaders attain their goals. I live by this advice and make my staff work on visualizing their future at Bulldog. It helps us get aligned and talk about our expectations and fears. It also gets me motivated. When I look back at my journal, I get to see the progress I am making. It is a simple, inexpensive way to develop and grow yourself.
Take some ME time. When I get a moment, I like to go outside and take a quick walk. I find that just taking a few minutes to be outside helps to ground me and release some of the stress. In the silence of a walk, I get refocused, and watching the people go by lets me know that that the world won’t end if I don’t get to replying to those last couple of emails.
These are the tips and tricks I use to keep myself sane and to actually get things done throughout the day. It’s not much, but I have found that using these tips consistently helps make the best use of my time and stretches out these tiny extra moments I have into productive ones. Stay tuned for our May Mommy Blog Project. We will be featuring amazing women each day to celebrate motherhood.
Until Next Time....
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