Time Management and Planning for the SAHM
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Sometimes it's so hard to stay organized and have good time management skills. Life gets the best of us, we lack the motivation to stay organized and fall into old habits. Been there, done that mamas! While motivation is key, there are some things you can do to help you stay strong and keep up with everything on your plate.
Now, before you continue reading... If you're not wanting to find something to get you motivated, this post is probably not for you. While I'm a very nice person, I'm going to get a little real in this post and unless you want to change your ways, I may hurt your feelings. But if you're wanting to change your ways and need to find not only motivation, but time management in your homemaking life, then I'm going to be that best friend you love to hate sometimes because she will tell you like it is and not hold back. So if you're ready, please continue!
I have spent 2018 trying to work out a time management system for myself. With 2 kids, a house to manage, a website to update and maintain, along with all the appointments, activities, etc, I have to stay sane somehow. Prior to the start of our minimalism journey, something always fell by the wayside. The house would be clean and tidy, but I'd fall behind on blogging. I'd get my blogging game really rocking and then forget about appointments and let the house slip a little (or a lot, depending on the week!)
There is one thing in particular that tends to help me stay organized and focused without fail (99% of the time, anyway!). That thing is.... *insert drumroll*...
An efficient planning system
I know there are a ton of you out there that just really hate planners/bullet journals. You feel like nothing works for you and you poo-poo them. I get it. But you know what the secret is to a planning system working for you is?
Actually using it...
You can go out and buy the fanciest of planners or leather bound journals to bullet journal in, but unless you are making the effort to utilize it, it absolutely will not work for you! Just like everything else in life, if you're not putting in the effort, things aren't really going to be the way you want them to be.
Get on the Motivation Train
Again, it all comes down to motivation, in my eyes. When I hear moms saying they just "can't" stay organized and efficient (when they claim they really want to be), all I hear is an excuse. Because, let's face it, that's what it is. What do we tell our kids when they tell us they just "can't" do something?
We tell them to pick themselves up, figure it out and stop making excuses. Because we know they can do it, they're just lacking the motivation to continue trying (or start trying) to figure it out for themselves.
Even as adults, we fall into that same lack of motivation as our children do and decide we just "can't" do something.
I haven't slept in years.
The kids are just going to destroy the house anyway.
Like I have one more moment during the day to worry about trying to fill in a planner.
I'd just lose the thing in the chaos of my house.
It's just too hard to keep up with.
Excuse. Excuse. Excuse.
Sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but I'm just calling you out when no one else will. Sometimes, I need a kick in the rear to get going, so that's what I'm offering you right now. I'll be that best friend that tells you like it is so you can get your butt in gear if that's what you need.
Embrace it like it's your job
I've been a working mom and now a SAHM. I've lived both worlds and when I first became a SAHM, I really felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But now 2.5 years later, I've finally really gotten a grip on things.
When I was a working mom, I had to have excellent time management skills. Ask any nurse, current or retired, and they will tell you their daily to-do list was the only way they could manage for the day. At work, if I didn't keep track of what had to be done at what time, I was in a world of trouble come the afternoon. And there's nothing like getting report from a nurse who forgot to do XYZ during their shift and then you had to pick it up and do it. I never wanted to be that person.
But now as a SAHM, I don't clock out and pass the torch to someone else. I keep that torch, 24/7. I also don't have a manager working over me making sure that I'm doing my job and doing it well/efficiently. And I think that's where we as SAHM's start to lack motivation.
Yes, there are rough days, just like any other job. But if I started slacking in my job as a working mom, someone was going to call me out for it. My lack of time management and organization was going to affect my performance and ultimately my job. As SAHM's, we don't have a boss. Sure, my husband will be like "Hey, so I noticed" when I really start to fall behind on stuff, but he really isn't going to scold me like a boss at a job would. Nor would I want him to.
And absolutely, there are certain seasons and trials in life that can hinder a schedule/routine and being efficient with your time. I get it. I've been in those situations and am living some right now. But, when not in the depths of caring for multiple children along with a newborn or grieving through the loss of a loved one, etc, we have to expect more of ourselves if we want to have more structure in our homes.
Create a schedule or routine for yourself
Yes, I know I have said before that I don't keep a cleaning schedule as a SAHM. But that was during a different time in life for me. I was in a rough spot of battling postpartum anxiety, we had just moved into our new house in a new city and I was a little overwhelmed. So I gave myself some grace and just didn't clean certain things if it didn't need it. It worked perfectly for me at the time.
Now that the dust has settled and while there are still things that create some extra stresses in my life, I have found that at least having a routine of things that don't need cleaning every day has tremendously helped my productivity and time management. The first step in getting the house clean and organized was starting our minimalism journey. We went room to room one weekend and literally cleaned, decluttered and purged our way through the house.
Lately, my daily things include cleaning the kitchen and dining room after each meal, sweeping or vacuuming the main area floors (all laminate or tile), wiping down counters and putting away any clutter that has been left out. Weekly, I vacuum the bedrooms, deep clean the bathrooms and kitchen and do laundry. What I've found that works best for me is to do the majority of our laundry on the weekend. I may do a load or 2 here and there during the week if it's really needed, but I'm more likely to wash, dry and put away without creating a clean laundry mountain on a couch somewhere.
I encourage you to sit down, look at your home and what all needs to be done daily, weekly, etc. Whether you make a strict schedule for yourself with doing certain tasks on certain days at certain times or just a do these things on these days, know yourself. If you're the type to give up easily if you're overwhelmed, a detailed schedule list may be too much for you and cause you to give up.
So what now?
Now, you have to decide. You have to make a conscious decision to manage your time around your home. Whether its a planner, bullet journal, an app on your phone or computer, a dry erase board on the wall, a pad of post-its or a magnetic paper pad on the refrigerator, you have to find something you will use consistently in order to keep yourself organized. You have to commit to using a tool to manage your life.
Maybe you're someone that can keep it all in your head straight. More power to you, sister, because there are not many people out there that can do that. More likely than not, you have to use something to jot everything down in or on. But find a system that works for you. If you think you'll just lose a physical planner and not use it, use the calendar on your phone. Make a to-do list electronically.
You need a system that will make you want to keep using it. If that means buying a fancy planner and making it pretty with stickers, washi tape and a 50 pack of awesome pens, then do it!
Turn off the tv. Put your phone down and don't get sucked into social media. Because, let's face it. You sit down to check your notifications "really quick" and before you know it, you've wasted 20 minutes of your day, multiple times a day. If you did that 3 times in a day (which I'm sure a lot of you do), that's an entire hour of your day gone to something that in the end doesn't really matter.
So, to wrap up, these are the 4 things I've talked about that you need to do in order to help yourself increase your time management skills and plan your way to organization:
- Use an efficient planning system that works for you
- Find your motivation for wanting to do this
- Embrace homemaking like it's a paying job
- Create a schedule or routine for yourself
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