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.

 

Why stopping social media was the best thing ever

Why stopping social media was the best thing ever

For the last 30 days I have been without social media. And I survived.

When my husband challenged me to the concept of a sabbatical that included zero social media for 30 days I knew it was going to be hard. And it was really hard. 

For the first 2 days I had literal shakes. I removed social apps from my phone, and when I kept opening my phone looking for the Instagram button I would tap the blank screen where it was. When I would open my phone and realize there was nothing on it to do I would sit there restless and unsettled. Kicking the habit of constantly engaging my mind and my thumbs was a really hard shift.

But then towards the end of that first week I got used to my new normal. I left my phone in my purse rather than having it on my body at all times. I read books with my kids without being distracted. I took walks without being distracted. I basically did normal things in life, that I used to do before I had a smartphone, without constantly being distracted. 

Doing things without being distracted. What a novel concept.

I am a high achiever- in fact, my second Strength Finder strength is Achiever. I have a ton of stamina and can get a lot of things done in a day.

But interestingly, my biggest takeaway from my social media fast was that by doing less, I actually achieved so much more. And the things I did give my attention to, got a lot more of me. 

Here are my top observations from my walk in the Internet desert, and why I think everyone should go on a social media fast.

1. IT HELPS CLARIFY WHERE YOU SHOULD BE SPENDING YOUR TIME

When my husband would nag me about how much time I spent on my phone, I would roll my eyes and in my head think, “Oh dear husband, how little you know about running a business. Don’t you understand I need to be connected at all times to respond to comments, answer queries, and remain relevant to my customers and growing tribe?” 

Since I also did a work sabbatical and did not want to fall off the face of the internet universe completely, I did pre-program a few things here and there. And I had staff monitor my email and continue to respond to leads and press requests. 

And what happened? Everything continued to operate. I still got comments on things. I still booked design consultations. I still got press requests. And while I did not personally respond to everything, they all got handled. 

The lack of noise and constantly responding to things really helped me see where my gifts could serve my customers best, and where my talents could make the most impact in both my family and my business. 

2. I BECAME A BETTER FRIEND 

This might sound a little grade 6 school yard like, but hear me out. I love social media- and I love some of the friendships I have made on my various platforms.

But the absence of social media made me miss certain people. And I picked up the phone and actually called them. And they called me. It was like when I was in grade 6, and what friendship was like back then- you actually spoke on the phone. And it was awesome. 

While social media is an amazing tool for connecting people, and I absolutely see its value 100%, the absence of it made me a more intentional friend, and that was such an unexpected bonus. 

3. I GOT MORE DONE BY DOING LESS

This is revolutionary- be less busy and you get more done! I really had no idea the firm grasp social media had on my life. I kid you not, I was probably engaging in non-intentional (meaning just random scrolling, tweeting, liking, hearting) social media consumption for upwards of 6 hours a day. Yup, you read that right. This 6 hours was not all at once of course- in line at the grocery store, waiting for my order at a restaurant, while my kids played at the park, as soon as I got out of an appointment, the moment I opened my eyes in the morning, and the last thing I saw before going to sleep. You don’t think those little moments add up to much- what’s 15 minutes, right? But string together those 15 minutes all day long and you get 6 hours. 

Imagine what I could do with 6 hours a day?!?

The absence of the constant checking meant my mind was quiet. I was able to think about ONE THING AT A TIME. And let me tell you, that bore a lot of fruit. I wrote. I schemed. I planned. I dreamed. I prayed. And some serious stuff came to the surface that will be key in charting my course moving forward.  

4. I WAS NICER TO EVERYONE AROUND ME

As I shared in my post on why I took my sabbatical, I had become so incredibly distracted all the time, and my family suffered. I was short with the people I love most and not present to the people with whom I can do the most good / the most damage. At the rate I was going, I was destined towards the behaviour described in this article on parents being distracted by their mobile devices. 

Without constantly feeling pulled in other areas, I was more present and more grounded, and I think everyone benefited from it. 

5. I DID NOT COMPARE MYSELF TO STRANGERS

The first observation I found when I started engaging in social media again was that I went right back into comparing myself to total strangers- and feeling envy. No good comes from envy, and I was super surprised how quickly the feeling came over me within seconds.

I write all this because I never thought I could live without social media. And I survived. And I think that you could too. Not cut it out completely, and not necassairly take as long abreak as I did- but to seriously examine the hold it has on your life and how much time you spend living life through your phone. 

SO.. what am I doing now that I have re-entered the social media landscape? 

– I will check social media twice a day, in the morning around 9am and in the evening around 8pm, for 15 minutes, and personally respond to things and engage with friends

– I am using CoSchedule to create all my social media content across all available platforms, and scheduling them automatically 

– I am spending more time focusing on creating content that will serve my readers, than aimlessly scrolling 

Maybe I’ve convinced you of the value of doing a docial media fast, but now is not the right time. Here are some things you can do today to re-evaluate the role of social media in your life:

1. Remove all social media apps on your phone and only use them on your computer.

2. Set hours for social media, like you would a gym class, at a set time of day.

3. Ask your spouse or those closer to you how they feel abput the way you use your phone (brace yourself)!

I’m not writing this post to make anyone feel criticized or to condemn social media as a medium. I wrote this post as a reminder that if we don’t design our lives in a way that reflects what is important to us, it can be so easy to veer off track.

If you found this post challenging, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. 

 

 

HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR WHAT MATTERS

HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR WHAT MATTERS

The most common question I get asked is hands down, "how do you do it?" And I will be the first to admit- having 5 kids under the age of 6 and running a business and attempting to maintain a healthy marriage, friendships, volunteer in my community, etc. is hard work. I don't have a secret formula answer to this question, but what I often share is that I make time for what is important, and I am disciplined about what doesn't get my time. Jamie at the Poptart Diaries wrote an awesome post on this topic and Iw as thrilled to be included.

Here's the thing- I think we are capable of more than we think we are- and while we shouldn't compare our thresholds with other people, I do think it's healthy to examine ourselves so we can perform at our best to deliver the best for our families, our work and our communities. 

If you are trying to figure out what should really get your time, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself to discern how you can have the greatest impact and ensure your time is best spent.

1. WHAT AM I REALLY GOOD AT?

I have written lots about Strengths Finder because it was really a pivotal tool for me in figuring out what I was best at so I could have more joy, work less hard and complete things in less time.  Once you take it, as my friend Lisa Ferguson of Strengths Mentor suggests, reverse engineer things from your strengths. For example, analyzing my strengths led me to realize I can provide a lot of value through consulting as I use 4 out of 5 of my strengths in a 2-hour consult! So I reverse engineered so to speak and dedicate more time to this part of my business to ensure I can help more people in this manner. I also examined what I am terrible at- and I basically outsource as much of those things as possible. 

2. WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY I AM GOOD AT?

Ask around. As part of a business coaching program, I asked 20 people via email the first 3 words that popped into their heads when they thought of me. The answers were really fun to examine- and surprisingly (or not surprisingly?) there were a few obvious patterns that emerged. If you're not sure what you're really good at, or what strengths you naturally possess that you can't see yourself- ask around.  

3. WHAT DO I STAND FOR? 

This is a great question to ask in general and was one that really challenged me in a recent course I just completed called B-School, by the fantastic Marie Forleo. What do you stand for? What would you fight for if given the chance? What do you wish everyone knew more about or could experience? The simple question of what do you fight for is a provocative one- and can be significant in examining how you spend your time. 

4. WHO DO I WANT TO HELP?

This goes beyond who your target market is- it really is a deeper question than demographics. Who can you, with your unique gifts and talents, genuinely help? Who can your personal stories uplift and connect with? What can your experience, your failures and your triumphs teach someone else? While we all want to run profitable businesses, helping people is truly at the core of successful ones. Someone I think does this well is Michael Hyatt. It's pretty apparent in his podcasts how much he cares about his tribe. Find your tribe. Love them hard

5. WHAT WOULD I DO IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT?

If you could do absolutely anything without any concern for making money, what would that be? Would it contain elements of what you are doing now? Why or why not? 

Finally, i stumbled upon this image on purpose and it is too good not to share (vie IttyBittyBookCo). 

So good, right? Love to know if these questions strike a chord with you, or if you have any questions you would add!

HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY WITHOUT FALLING FLAT ON YOUR FACE

HOW TO BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY WITHOUT FALLING FLAT ON YOUR FACE

I think all parents could use one of these trophies from time to time. Cause being a parent- let alone a working parent- is a juggling act that is deserving of an award. 

Being a working parent is no easy feat. It requires a great deal of organization and stamina. I started my interior design business right out of university, after working on this crazy little television show, and pretty shortly after I had my first child. 8 years of a business and almost 5 kids later the art of juggling has become a skill I am very familiar with. 

For the purposes of this blog post I am calling "working parents" those who either work out of the home for someone else, or run their own business either full or part-time (bloggers you're in here too!). However, this nomenclature is not to underscore the amount of work it is to raise kids full time at home- it is absolutely the most important full time job I believe that exists today and it is a ton of hard work. 

With that said, here are my top tips for how to balance it all without falling flat on your face:

1. PLAN YOUR IDEAL WEEK

This is a non-negotiable, do not pass go, do not move any further without sitting down to plan this. Here are some tips on how to plan it practically, but I also want you to consider the word "ideal" with an attitude of abundance. We live in a market today where being a working parent can look VERY different from generations past. So even if you work a "traditional" 9-5 job, might there be ways you could negotiate it to look less traditional ie. working from home a few days a week, extending your hours some days so you can take other days off, or simply starting your day early so you can end early and personally do school pick ups. I realize this might not be an option for everyone, but it is an option I think one should explore, or not write off completely before exploring options. The most important thing on this point is that you think about what IDEAL means for YOU, really dig deep without being limited, and adjust accordingly. It might lead you to realize that the situation you are in needs to change.

2. MANAGE YOUR OWN EXPECTATIONS

I think the pursuit of "having it all" can be kind of dangerous. I absolutely love Heather Havrilesky's take on it in this article. I agree with her wholeheartedly- I think working mothers / parents CAN have it all- you just have to adjust your expectation of what "IT" is. And "IT" is going to look totally different from one working parent (or any parent for that matter) to the next. Don't compare. I often get asked how I do it all- and I will be honest with you, I have no magic potion, no secret, no easy answer. I simply work hard, know the "why" behind what I do, and have gone through a ton of trial and error and adjusted every time. For me, it always comes down to the work I have done planning / visioning what my ideal life looks like, and every time things fall out of balance or I don't feel like my actions align with my values, I readjust. 

3. MAKE FAMILY TIME AS IMPORTANT AS ANY WORK APPOINTMENT

This is huge, and admittedly, a muscle I constantly have to strengthen. Essentially, make spending time with your family just as important as any major meeting, presentation, client appointment or conference. In my own life, I will prepare whole-heartedly for work related meetings and events- but how much effort do I invest in spending time with my husband or kids? Too often I don't put in nearly as much effort. I'm not arguing that one has to make every ounce of quality time a production or major event- but that you schedule it, stick to it, and dare I say put your phone on silent in the same manner you would in a work meeting. In a practical sense this could look like taking Sundays off with your family, scheduling a weekly date night, etc. etc. etc. But the point is that it is scheduled, and prioritized highly. 

4. EDIT YOUR LIFE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Okay, I do have an answer to the question how I do it all: I have edited my life A TON. In my business, I have delegated / outsourced as much as possible to keep me working in my strengths. In my home life, we have a part-time nanny and occasionally hire cleaning services. As a result of trial and error, I learned I could not do everything without compromising or feeling like I was failing at everything. I also argue working parents need to edit their lives of other things: activities that might waste time (I had to remove Angry Birds from my phone because I could not believe how much time I was spending killing those darn pigs!), friends that might suck your energy, or the amount of TV you watch. 

5. EMBRACE THE IMBALANCE

I know I have used the word "balance" on this blog like it is something you can achieve. But make no mistake what I have learned, especially as an entrepreneur with really young kids- is that imbalance is far more regular and if I constantly tried to keep my life exactly balanced at all times I would not win. Instead, I embrace the imbalance, knowing that the pendulum always swings back: busy times are balanced later with family vacations, no day in my life is identical to the last, and that trying to control everything- including my kids- is a harmful and unrealistic goal. So I embrace that juggling work and kids won't always be graceful- but with proactive planning and a sense of humour you can thrive- not just survive. 

What are your tips for balancing work and family life? Love to know in the comments below. 

HOW TO PLAN YOUR IDEAL WEEK

HOW TO PLAN YOUR IDEAL WEEK

Balancing work and family is no easy feat- especially when small kids can vocalize their needs at such alarmingly loud rates. So in the life of our family, it takes a lot of planning to ensure a certain level of sanity and order. Right now I am working on a couple of really big projects- some interior design client related projects, getting my house finished and styled for an upcoming shoot, and a few media projects. And we're having a baby… a pretty big project in itself : ) It's hard work and absolutely a balancing act, muscles I continue to train on the regular.

So today I thought I would share some of my top practical strategies learned from trial and error (flat out failure!) personal experience and from listening to material from people I admire, of how to plan for a productive week. Some of these tips might be helpful if you are working outside the home, run a part-time home based business, or simply want to stay on top of running a household and family duties. Whatever your season of life, I really hope some of these might be helpful to save you time and find you more peace! 

1. SPEND TIME ON PAPER BEFORE YOU SPEND IT IN REAL LIFE

I was introduced to this concept by Michael Hyatt in this podcast on creating more margin. The whole concept is that similar to a financial budget, you spend your time on paper before you spend it in real life. I have found it so helpful to have an idea of the best way to spend my time during a week- knowing that of course it might get thrown off by the natural (and very crazy) rhythm of family life- but with a plan in place there is at least a roadmap. Lord knows I could not drive anywhere without my gps- think of this as a gps for your time. You can download an awesome excel editable schedule template from Michael Hyatt here

The beauty of planning your week on paper (or colour coded on your iPhone!) is that if something comes up, as a former business coach Carla Wood taught me, you can move that block of time somewhere else- so those tasks don't get forgotten about and you can still feel a strong sense of order and commitment to the things that are important. 

2.  START WITH THE BIG ROCKS

You know the story of the big rocks? I didn't either, my friend Sarah had to teach me. Basically the idea is if you fill a jar with pebbles but then try to fit in large rocks after you can't. But if you put the large rocks in first and then pour the pebbles on top the smaller stones will fill in the gaps- same jar, more in it. 

Use this concept in planning your ideal week. What are your big rocks? Picking up the kids from school, prayer time, blogging, client appointments, book keeping, marketing, social media strategy, writing, kids play dates / activities, house chores, caring for a sick family member, etc. are all things that come to mind. Make a list of the "big rocks" in your life. Depending in your season of life it is going to look totally different from mine or Michael Hyatt's and don't compare. This is YOUR ideal week. 

Now schedule these big rocks in time increments on your schedule. Running out of time?  Consider if there are any big rocks you can give away- either to staff, hired help, or another family member. I'll speak more on this later.  

3. THEME YOUR DAYS

This has proven to be the most important strategy for me in remaining sane and saving time. In the early days of my business I was a glorified courier who also did interior design (or so it felt)! I was ALWAYS driving. I would try to schedule appointments with clients in some sort of strategy- but in the end I always went wherever the biggest crisis was and I basically spent most of my profit margin on gas. Now when possible, I only book appointments on Wednesdays and Fridays and of course somewhat geographically. 

In my business, if I do not set parameters and boundaries on meetings, I would never get anything else done, OR I would do them at midnight when everyone is sleeping (like I used to do) and burn out so hard so fast (which I absolutely did not that long ago). 

This is a typical week for me: Mondays- book keeping and business planning / forecasting. Tuesdays: personal appointments and kid stuff, blogging, correspondence, content creation. Wednesdays: consultations, client meetings, sourcing, site visits. Thursdays: personal appointments and kid stuff, blogging, correspondence, content creation. Fridays: consultations, client meetings, sourcing, site visits. 

This really works for me as the change of activity is strategic- for example, being at a computer all day can mentally drain me- but I know the next day is on the road, dynamic and fast paced, meeting people, engaging in a lot of my strengths- but this can really physically drain me, and I look forward to the next day that is typically a bit more home based / less physical.  

This concept of giving a theme to a day can also be applied to stuff around the house- laundry, groceries, cooking etc. etc. again it is the concept of once the tools and what not are out, you can be more productive by doing the same kind of activity in the same bulk of time.

Still running out of time? This next strategy is AWESOME…

4. AUTOMATE, DELEGATE, DELETE 

Stu McLaren put it so well at the Platform conference, "to work less, you must automate, delegate, and delete tasks." Let's spend some time on this one as it is an awesome strategy.

As I mentioned in point 2 with the big rocks, you might find after writing your list and plotting it into a schedule you have completely run out of time. The metaphorical jar of a week only has so many hours. So you have two choices- cry or change (lol, not really).

Stu argues you have 3 options- automate, delegate or delete. This is totally applicable to business stuff and stuff around the house / with your kids. Here are some ideas from my personal experience:

Automate: I have to work on this one a bit more to be honest- but in my work life I have started to use a tool called Infusionsoft which is a great email manager and I'm creating systems that will automate a lot of my most frequently asked requests- for example, I get a lot of emails regarding what to expect from a design consultation / what are the fees. Infusionsoft will help to collect information from potential clients in a way that will cut down the number of back and forth emails I typically take to finally provide them with pricing or an available time. It will make booking an appointment with me automated to to a certain degree- this is very exciting for me as a time saver!  

Think of automating things like car service appointments, house maintenance stuff, kids doctor's appointments- where they are put in the calendar MONTHS in advance and you set a reminder and don't have to think about them at all. 

There are also great social media apps like Meet Edgar and using HootSuite to schedule and automate certain social media posts- I have yet to fully dive into this but I know I have to.  

Lastly I am really contemplating automating my groceries- meaning I order them online and they get delivered. I wrestle with the idea as it is a luxury- but I find grocery shopping a draining experience and always takes me much longer than I intend- and I have yet to develop strategies to streamline it- I ALWAYS forget something important, even if it's on the list. 

Delegate: By necessity with 4 kids I have gotten really good at this. I delegate lots of stuff in business- majority of accounting, anything website / tech related, ordering and admin stuff I have a virtual assistant, etc. In my home life we have a part-time nanny who is incredibly helpful with laundry, cleaning, and school pick up and drop off. The cleaning and laundry support, while yes a luxury, is so extremely helpful with a family as large as ours.  

Delete: This one was REALLY hard for me but has proven to be a game changer in my pursuit of peace and balance. It's hard to delete. It just is- especially when you have done something the same way, or you feel like the world might look at you different and judge you for no longer doing something. But YOU HAVE TO. In my life, it means I am VERY selective about the kinds of interior design projects I take on. If I know I don't have time for it based on my other big rocks- that potential client gets referred to a trusted colleague. For our family, it also means we are pretty selective in the kinds of after school activities we participate in and what we do on the weekend. Because you can't just keep filling up your schedule (i.e. your jar) without expecting something to burst.  

5. SCHEDULE IN MARGIN

This is really really essential. Things will go wrong- a child will get sick, an appointment will run late, life will happen. You also need to rest! For our family, weekends are very precious. We try when possible to only schedule one thing on the weekend (not including Church on Sundays). It is really important for my family to have this buffer time and margin, and I sometimes forget I am 6 months pregnant and push myself physically WAY too far. So schedule it! 

This is beyond the scope of this post but scheduling sleep is essential too. I try to be in bed by 10pm now, so I can rise early. This has been a game changer for me as well- I had no idea how much I was suffering (I knew I was suffering though!) from lack of sleep. Forcing myself to get it has been really influential in my quality of life. 

Another important thing to do is not compare yourself to others- someone who has grown kids, or is single, is going to have a very different ideal week than someone like me with really small kids at home. BUT- I challenge you to also push yourself in way- rather than having a defeatist attitude about time, look carefully about HOW you spend it, and if it is really being spent in the BEST way for you. 

What strategies do you employ to plan for a great week? Love to know in the comments below.