The baby is hungry, the preschooler just spilled an entire cup of water down the steps, my phone is buzzing with unanswered texts, the hampers of laundry are piled to the brim. Toys are everywhere, crumbs are everywhere, dust is everywhere and my hair really needs to be washed.
But I can’t take a shower because the baby stands at the door and screams when I do and I didn’t get up early enough to take one before she got up. I guess I’ll just have to wait until tonight. When I’m too worn out to do much more than set my alarm for another full day tomorrow. Sound familiar?
Life can get crazy. As a busy mom of three, six and under, I know.
There’s school events and extracurriculars to keep track of, there’s emails and texts to answer, piles of laundry and dishes to tackle, Instagram to post on, clutter to sort and get rid of, shopping to do, meals to make, and babies and kids to care for, Facebook to scroll, bills to pay.
The list goes on.
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On top of all the everyday urgent stuff and (maybe not so urgent but oh so distracting stuff), you have to find time for the important, not at all urgent stuff.
Like relationship building. Like self care. Like hobbies and leisure. Like quiet prayer time.
My word for this year is Passion. So I’ve been trying to have more passion for life and passion for relationships. My relationship with God, with my husband, with my kids, friends and even with myself. Relationships are the things that matter.
Making time for prayer ten minutes a day. Scheduling monthly dates with my husband and one on one dates with my daughters. Intentionally planning time with friends for play dates and coffee visits. Reading more, to myself and to my children.
Making sure I shower, get dressed and put on makeup and jewelry in the morning so I feel more confident and self assured and less frumpy and self conscious.
Working on improving my feeling of self worth by spending less time comparing myself to others and more time focusing on what I’m good at and developing my gifts. Making time for hobbies once a week.
Listening to podcasts and talks that inspire me emotionally and intellectually. Reading more, to myself and to my children.
This is the important stuff. The stuff that matters.
So how exactly do you do this? How do you CREATE time when there are always the same 24 hours in a day and there seems to never be enough time?
Well, you have to do three things.
First, you have to sit down, grab a paper and pen and evaluate what the important stuff is in your life and the areas that you want to improve on. What relationships do you want to work on or what habits do you want to form?
Do some soul searching and come up with a list of your priorities and goals. The focus here should be on prioritizing the important stuff. Your relationships, your self care and self worth, your spirituality, your emotional stability, your friendships, your marriage, your hobbies ect. Ignore all the other stuff for a minute.
Think of one or two ways you can concretely work towards improvement in each area. Make goals that are measurable and reasonable. For example, grow in relationship with my kids by reading to them before bedtime at least on the week nights. Taking a walk three times a week to improve my self care. Planning a monthly coffee date to work on growing in my friendships.
Once you have these priorities and their attached actions figured out and written down (a journal is a great place to brainstorm all of this), then you move onto the next step: scheduling.
You can do this a number of ways, plugging the items into your calendar of choice, adding reminders on your phone, or writing them out on a to do list.
Personally, I use a weekly to do list so that it’s always right in front of me when I’m at my desk and I can update and edit it day by day. It allows me to plan out the week and see what I have to do on my list. Because it’s written down I’m actively thinking about it. Because it’s scheduled out on certain days of the week, I’m aware I need to make time for it so I can check it off.
This works for me because I’m a type A personality so I’m motivated to check off my list and frustrated if I don’t. It bothers me to leave things unchecked that I planned to do. If this is your personality type, then this may motivate you too!
Once you have a plan and are regularly scheduling these important items into your routine, the last part is to create time. We all get the same 24 hours in a day so the trick is to eliminate the time wasters and perhaps change your normal routine in order to prioritize your time.
The biggest time wasters I’ve encountered in my life are social media and screen time. I’m sure it’s the same for most of us.
If you think you don’t have time for your important priorities, start tracking your screen time for a couple of days and then let me know what you find.
How many times do you pick up your phone a day? How many hours do you spend binge watching Netflix per week or aimlessly scrolling on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest? If you are really curious, you can use phone apps like Moment to track your screen time.
I bet if you eliminate or at lease minimize your screen time and scroll time you will find you have an amazing amount of minutes each day that you didn’t know you had!
These blocks of time can be used to check off your priorities while also CREATING more space for all the urgent tasks you have to do. Because here’s the thing: the more you prioritize the important stuff and eliminate the time wasters, the more time you have to get all the urgent-but-not-so-important stuff done too.
However, you do have to create time somewhere and so the time wasters are the things that might have to go if you want to focus more on your priorities and productivity.
News flash: I’m just going to say it, scrolling social media is NOT important.
I’m not even sure it should quality as urgent even though we definitely place it in that category. We just HAVE to go check our post again to see how many likes we got, we immediately HAVE to respond to that comment or message. We need to watch one more video or read one more article before we can start our daily tasks.
So eliminate some of that scroll time (I know it’s really hard), but try it out for a week or even just a couple of hours and see if it make a difference in your time. And your mood, and your attitude, and your feeling of self worth. I know it’s made a huge difference for me!
If you are still finding that you don’t have enough time to do all the things, then you might need to look hard at your schedule and figure out if you are doing too much or if you have unreasonable expectations for yourself.
You might need to get up a half hour earlier or go to bed a half hour later to have more time for yourself or for God or for your spouse or whatever important relationship you are currently working on. You might need to commit to one less volunteer opportunity a month so you have more time for your personal hobbies or let the laundry slide for a day so you can get that quality time in with your kids. Did I really just say that? Yes, yes I did.
Create time. Prioritize the time you’ve created. Organize your priorities that you’ve made time for and watch your life change for the better right before your eyes.
This is all coming from a mom who’s learned these lessons the hard way and who is still figuring out how to treasure the important stuff.
Get more help with creating time for your priorities by purchasing this awesome productivity bundle! 46 digital resources are available through February 25th for just $37. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a little extra help on your time management and productivity so that you can prioritize your priorities.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4:8.