TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR BUSY MOMS

TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES FOR BUSY MOMS

A few weeks ago, I was so fortunate to speak at The BabyTime Show (now called The Baby and Toddler Show) here in Toronto. It was so much fun. I had an amazing weekend where I partnered with a few brands for my booth / live stage presentation, and I connected with several moms in one-on-one time management strategy consultations. So incase you missed it, I wanted to share with you some of the tips that I shared in my talk: Time Management Strategies for Busy Moms. 

Here's the thing about time: we all have the exact same amount of it, and how we use it will determine the happiness level of our lives. And while we cannot control how much time we have, we can control how we spend it. Here are my essential tips for managing time well in the business of motherhood:

1. CAST VISION FOR THE FUTURE

My first time management strategy is to cast vision of where you want to go in life. If we don't know where we're going, it doesn't matter to me how many time management strategies you use. You might be using them in the wrong places. The question you want to ask yourself is if you could live life like the most ideal version of yourself, what would that look like? And there are a couple ways that you can do this. One way I love is the rocking chair test that Tony Robbins offers at a lot of his seminars. Picture yourself at the age of 80, sitting in a rocking chair, reviewing your past 80 years.

What are you proud of? What did you do that you feel so incredibly grateful that you did? What regrets do you have if you had any? What do you wish you could have told your younger self?

Another exercise I really like is one that I found in the book Living Forward by Daniel Harkavy and Michael Hyatt. It's the exercise of writing your own obituary, looking at the end of your life, and reflecting upon how you are going to be remembered. 

These exercises can help us to have a more clear, and intentional way of living. I really believe in my heart of hearts that a mom will be most happy if she can have a stance of where she is going.

2. WHAT CAN YOU DELEGATE?

We cannot do it all. And we definitely cannot do it all at the same time, and do it well. So I believe that a really important skill for a mom to learn is how to delegate. There are so many things in a mom's life that can be delegated. Can you break up who does school drop off and pick up? Could you delegate cleaning of your house to a cleaning service? Can you delegate who plans and prepares meals?

One of the ways I do this for my little guys is with Love Child Organics prepared pouches. These pouches are so convenient. Especially with the holidays approaching, it's so easy for me to be entertaining guests and conveniently give my children organic and nutritious snacks and meals without me preparing it myself. 

The Simple Firsts (available in apple, pear and prune for babies just starting solids) and Super Blends (available in 15 flavours, my kids are currently obsessed with the Banana, Carrot, Mangoe + Coconut blend) are all in convenient, resealable pouches that are perfect for small appetites. They can be safely closed back up again, popped in the fridge, and used later for the next meal or snack.

While I would love to say I had time to make my own organic baby food, these prepared pouches help me feed my kids in a really convenient way.

3. WHAT CAN YOU AUTOMATE?

This is a little bit different than delegation, but also along the same lines. For example, if you do something the same, or similar every week, how can you automate that so that you're not working so hard every time? The way I do it for grocery shopping is through a click and collect service where via an online platform you're able to literally use the exact same shopping list and with one button simply schedule when you pick up your groceries. It takes so much effort out of that exercise. Additionally, there are a ton of ways I use automation in my business. I use an email automation platform that allows me to collect emails, bill clients, even schedule appointments, all without me having to give any attention to it.
 

And have I ever told you about my obsession with Uber Eats?! Sometimes, a mom needs an extra pair (or a hundred pair) of hands to get life done. When I want a night off from cooking, Uber Eats delivers food from all my favourite neighbourhood restaurants- and there's no searching for where my kids placed my wallet, or where I stashed my purse when the delivery person arrives at the door- payment is completely automated via PayPal, including the tip!

With online shopping, and the holidays approaching, I have to be honest, sometimes I am doing it with a baby on my hip, a computer on my lap, my phone in my hand, and my wallet no where within arm's reach. So one of the ways I automate my online purchases is using Paypal. With Paypal, you have your credit card number saved within its online platform and it makes your online purchases literally reduced to a simple swipe and click. It's a way that you can automate your online purchases, all from the palm of your hand, often without having the leave the house!

Paying with PayPal saves on time and lets me get back to enjoying my family. Many of my favourite apps (Starbucks!) offer PayPal as a payment option which I love because it makes it easy to pay, it’s secure and I can do it right from my mobile phone.

For the full run down on how PayPal can help automate your holiday errands easily and conveniently, click here.

4. WHAT CAN YOU BATCH?

My next tip for time management is what in your life can you batch? So batching is a description for essentially taking similar activities and doing them all at the same time. So for example, I used to record one YouTube video a week and I would set up the camera on Thursday, get it all worked out, figure out my lighting, figure out my technology, often fail at some aspect of the technology, record my video, and then do it all again the next week. And it was always taking so much time because I would have to set everything up every single time. Now, I batch shoot several videos in one day.

Another example of batch creating is cooking all your meals on Sunday evening for example. You can create so many meals, and stick them in your freezer, and when you think about it, you've already got all the utensils out, you are already chopping, you're already dirtying your pots and bowls, and the process is so much more streamlined.

5. WHAT CAN YOU DELETE?

Another really important time management saving tip is what in your life can you delete? This is a hard one for me. I really hate disappointing people. I really hate saying no, especially to things that I care about. But what I think is really important to remember, and this is very much in Greg Mckeown's book Essentialism, is saying no to something is actually saying yes to something else. Saying no to something is actually saying yes to something else. It can be really hard to draw hard boundaries, but I believe if a mom wants to live her most fulfilled life, she can't do it all. She definitely can't do it all at the same time. So we have to have the courage and the strategy to say no to certain things so we can say yes to other things like our families, our own personal goals and dreams.

The show was so much fun, and if you go onto my instagram, check out the highlight from the show. I've got lots more things on there including products that I bought at the show, sneak peaks of the other vendors, as well as a full tour of my booth. My booth was outfitted by Buy Buy Baby and I had this really cool electric fireplace with Dimplex's Opti-myst technology. And I am grateful to The Electric Fireplace Shop who came and set the unit up for me. And you can see all of that by watching the highlight in my instagram.

So tell me, which of these tips resonates most with you, and which of these tips do you think that you could implement today? Let me know in the comments below!

Special thanks to Love Child Organics and PayPal for partnering with me on this blog post. I work hard to ensure the brands I represent help to make a mom's life easier, and enjoyable, and I make it a policy to work with brands that I personally use and enjoy myself.

 

It’s a boy! Welcome baby James

It’s a boy! Welcome baby James

We are thrilled to share the news that just before Christmas we welcomed baby James, our 6th baby, into the world! It has been a whirlwind of an adjustment period- so much joy, so much chaos, so many children home from school (!!!) and so many cuddles with this incredible small person. 

We have now done this six times. Six times we have made the trek downtown to the hospital (almost always in the middle of the night!), six times I have laboured and pushed out of my body a brand new member of our family. Six times I have felt a joy that overwhelms my entire being and makes me love my husband more than I thought possible. And six times I have marveled at the miracle of life as I have held a tiny little person. 

The story this time, in true Lisa fashion, is somewhat eventful… (Side note: for more fun baby tales here are the posts for the births of John, EvelynLeo, Rose, and Joseph

Dec 20 7pm: Standing in line at HomeSense with a final stack of pillows to finish off a fun project in Markham. Absolutely started feeling contractions. In HomeSense. In a line up a hundred people long. Because everyone is buying Christmas presents on December 20. 

7:30: I am out of HomeSense and need to decide if I have time to drop the pillows off at the client's house, or if I should go straight to the hospital. 

7:45: At client's house and I am arranging pillows on the sofa (even though I texted ahead of time and said I was pretty sure I was in labour and would only drop them at the front). Client and I both agree I am crazy and it is time for me to leave, STAT.

8pm: I am definitely contracting and heading south toward the hospital. However, it is also my mom's birthday! And it was my idea for us to enjoy a really nice, relaxed dinner, just the grown ups (which is rare for us to do)! Do I pull off the highway and join them for a minute?

8:15pm: Fully got off the highway and say to myself I will only stay if I can get parking right at the front and will only sit down for a minute. 

8:20pm: Guess who found parking literally at the front of the restaurant entrance! It's a miracle! I waddle in to see my family who are all looking at me like I am nuts.`

8:30pm: I sit down and literally cannot decide what to do. I am so hungry, but I am also fully contracting. And it is an all you can eat thai buffet. ALL YOU CAN EAT. And I could eat all the things. 

8:45pm: My entire family agrees I am crazy, because I am fully in labour but am trying to decide if I have time to eat some popcorn shrimp or not. My brother-in-law very stealthily sneaks popcorn shrimp into my coat pocket and they all kick me out. I call my husband and tell him to pack the bags! We have no bags packed because it is a full 2 weeks before my due date. 

9pm: I get home, but I am in total denial I am in labour (I WANT TO EAT MORE POPCORN SHRIMP!), although I am fully contracting every 5 minutes. Because my doctor has put the fear of God in my that this baby will FLY OUT since it is my sixth one in eight years basically, I know it's time to make our way downtown.

10pm: At hospital, checked in, still in relatively little pain although I can feel the contractions are getting stronger.

11pm: Since I am not in a ton of pain I debate doing this whole labour thing without an epidural. Never done it au naturale before, might be fun to try?!?

11:05pm: I hear a woman screaming in the room next to me in a ton of pain. Debate over.

12am: Epidural comes and I slip into a wonderful, drug induced sleep.  

5:30am: I wake up fully dilated and it is time to push. 3 contractions later and we meet our baby boy!!!

The transition back home has been beautiful chaos. If you'd like to see what our first week was like check out my brand new vlog

Our hearts are full (as are our coffee mugs, lol!). We are so totally in love. Thank you for sharing in our joy!!!!!

4 ways to be a better wife and mother

4 ways to be a better wife and mother

After the summer we have had (which included a sick child in hospital, a car breaking down on our way to Florida, altered vacation plans, increased expenses, and a general necessity to rely on God and be flexible), I've been reflecting a lot on what it means to be a good wife and mother. 

Because there are so many days where I feel like I am absolutely failing at both.

There are days when I scream. Where I nag. Where I am less than gracious. Where I honestly feel like giving up.

And then I take a page out of my own book. Literally- I comb through past blog posts where I discuss struggle and what it looks like when you come out of it and I am reminded there is always a new day. There is always a do-over. And to quote the lovely Cat and Nat from Social Commons, having a bad day as a mom doesn't mean you are a bad mom- you just had a bad day being a mom. 

So for today's post I am re-posting an excerpt from a past post. If you feel like you're having a bad day as a wife and mom this one's for you. 

Last weekend, my husband had a work conference in Montreal- so the kids and I decided to tag along for the ride. Smoked meat and poutine, cuddles in big comfy hotel beds and quality time after working like a maniac- so needed! I am so thankful for the weekend we had. I am most thankful for the time to recalibrate and be reminded of what my most important job is. 

I put in a lot of time developing myself professionally. Recently I was in Colorado for The Platform Conference, yearly I invest in business coaching of some kind, and I am pretty obsessed with reading and gathering info on social media strategies, good business practices and becoming a better interior designer and communicator in general. 

But how much time do I invest in being a good wife and a good mother? The honest answer is not very much. So in Montreal I brainstormed a few concrete ways I could invest in being a better wife and mom. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Do more the night before. 

This has proved to be pretty awesome for our morning routine, and therefore all of our moods heading out the door for school. And for those of you in Toronto or anywhere north of the equator it seems, you know how much more effort it was this week with snowpants, boots, mitts, hats, etc. etc. etc. So I am disciplining myself to attempt to lay things out the night before. School bags with letters / forms already filled in get laid out by the door, and lunches mostly packed saved for the things that are perishable and are pre wrapped in bags in the fridge. I have to work on getting them to lay out their clothes the night before- hoping to instill that habit in them (and myself!) too. 

2. Turn my phone off for uninterrupted, aimless time. 

Or at least put it away out of reach. I think I need to make a "sacred time", where the phone is away. In this time I want to invest in just being present and aimless. Ask my kids questions, be present to my husband in conversation, be available in an undistracted manner. I need to work on this. Update: since writing this post I did a 30-day social media fast which was life changing

3. Be more grateful, and verbalize my gratitude. 

This one is simple. I need to be more grateful for my spouse and my kids and let them know that. If I had a jar and I had to put a dollar in for the number of times I got irritated in a day with everyone, vs. the times I spoke grateful words to them it would be pretty sad to see how full that jar would be. 

4. Be more romantic. 

As a mom of small kids, romantic gestures of any kind are admittedly quite neglected at the end of a day full of demands. The relationship I have with my spouse supports the rest of the relationships in our house, and establishes a culture of care and kindness. My kids learn about love by watching the way I relate with Josh. I best treat him with some fondness ; ) 

In the fast pace of our life with 4 kids (update: now almost 6!) and busy work schedules, there are days that we feel like we barely survive. But there are also days that we thrive. I want more of the latter, and experience has shown me that if I put into practice some of the goals I set out above, like being more organized and more attentive and less distracted, we really do feel great. At mass last Sunday at the gorgeous and historic St. Patrick's in Montreal, this was read in the first reading: "Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises" (Proverbs 31:28). I hope to live up to this both for my own personal standard and for them. 

How do you invest in your job as parents and spouse? Love to know your best practices in the comments below.

The most important job I’ll ever do

The most important job I’ll ever do

As I have mentioned previously I'm being brave and being a bit more personal on my blog. Still lots of good interior design stuff (like here, here and here) but for today's post, I'm talking about the job of being wife and mom.

Last weekend, my husband had a work conference in Montreal- so the kids and I decided to tag along for the ride. Smoked meat and poutine, cuddles in big comfy hotel beds and quality time after working like a maniac- so needed! I am so thankful for the weekend we had. I am most thankful for the time to recalibrate and be reminded of what my most important job is. 

I put in a lot of time developing myself professionally. Recently I was in Colorado for Platform, yearly I invest in business coaching of some kind, and I am pretty obsessed with reading and gathering info on social media strategies, good business practices and becoming a better interior designer and communicator in general. 

But how much time do I invest in being a good wife and a good mother? The honest answer is not very much. So in Montreal I brainstormed a few concrete ways I could invest in being a better wife and mom. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Do more the night before. This has proved to be pretty awesome for our morning routine, and therefore all of our moods heading out the door for school. And for those of you in Toronto or anywhere north of the equator it seems, you know how much more effort it was this week with snowpants, boots, mitts, hats, etc. etc. etc. So I am disciplining myself to attempt to lay things out the night before. School bags with letters / forms already filled in get laid out by the door, and lunches mostly packed saved for the things that are perishable and are pre wrapped in bags in the fridge. I have to work on getting them to lay out their clothes the night before- hoping to instill that habit in them (and myself!) too. 

2. Turn my phone off for uninterrupted, aimless time. Or at least put it away out of reach. I think I need to make a "sacred time", where the phone is away. In this time I want to invest in just being present and aimless. Ask my kids questions, be present to my husband in conversation, be available in an undistracted manner. I need to work on this.

3. Be more grateful, and verbalize my gratitude. This one is simple. I need to be more grateful for my spouse and my kids and let them know that. If I had a jar and I had to put a dollar in for the number of times I got irritated in a day with everyone, vs. the times I spoke grateful words to them it would be pretty sad to see how full that jar would be. 

4. Be more romantic. As a mom of small kids, romantic gestures of any kind are admittedly quite neglected at the end of a day full of demands. The relationship I have with my spouse supports the rest of the relationships in our house, and establishes a culture of care and kindness. My kids learn about love by watching the way I relate with Josh. I best treat him with some fondness ; ) 

In the fast pace of our life with 4 kids and busy work schedules, there are days that we feel like we barely survive. But there are also days that we thrive. I want more of the latter, and experience has shown me that if I put into practice some of the goals I set out above, like being more organized and more attentive and less distracted, we really do feel great. At mass last Sunday at the gorgeous and historic St. Patrick's in Montreal, this was read in the first reading: "Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises" (Proverbs 31:28). I hope to live up to this both for my own personal standard and for them. 

How do you invest in your job as parents and spouse? Love to know your best practices in the comments below.