In today's episode, I'm talking about time management. We're not overhauling your complete schedule, instead we're going to focus on those things that trip up your schedule.
I have a system that I use when I approach any type of issue or problem that I want to improve.
Number one improve what's not working.
Number two add a system if I can.
Finally, if I can automate it, the better.
The biggest thing that I see that causes moms a lot of additional stress is that most of us carry around our schedule up in our head. It's all that excess baggage that we're carrying around from day to day.
In this exercise, I have 2 different ways to look at your schedule, a printable or digital view. I have both my week and my day. I have moved from printables and planners to a complete digital tool, Trello, it is a free tool. I have included a complete Trello tutorial at the botton of the post.
The key to this exercise is that we are going to focus just on one thing that is tripping up your schedule.
FIRST: PRINT OUT THE PRINTABLE OR WATCH TRELLO TUTORIAL
The first step that we're going to do is to print out the printable or watch the Trello tutorial. printable or we're going to use the digital tool.
I want you to write out your complete schedule. Half of your stress can be attributed to the fact that you are carrying everything around in your head. If you are like me, there are a lot of moving parts in my week.
If you have anything that is outside of your normal schedule ... I know for me, my children have scheduled music lessons. Sometimes, the instructors want to change those lessons. You would think that that wouldn't be necessarily a big deal, but right now my schedule is on autopilot and I know when the children's lessons are. I know when we need to be online and be ready to go.
If we change that to a different day, a different time and maybe I'm not here and they don't remember, there's all kinds of things that can break down.
We're not online.
We're not ready to go.
That is time and money for me.
I am sure you have experiences like mine. To get the most out of this exercise, It's really important that you print out the printable or input your information in your Trello board.
I want you to be honest with yourself because really, we all have the same 168 hours.
It's really how we manage that 168 hours that makes all of the difference.
Make sure to include everything that you do in your normal schedule including
going to bed
picking up the kids to school
all of your families activities
NEXT, if you are using the printable, I want you to go back and with a highlighter, I want you to highlight one major trip up.
If you are using the Trello, use a RED label to identify the "problem."
For me, the one glaring thing in my week is meal planning.
We have six people in our family and I'm a terrible cook.
It's because I don't allow enough time.
I'm not creative when it comes to meal planning or actually making dinner.
If I haven't allotted the proper time ... meaning planned for the fact I need to leave the house at 4:45 on some days and not get back until after 9PM, some of my children are eating egg sandwiches.
It's happened more than once.
Thank goodness we have chickens that they can make them on a dime and I don't have to worry about running to the grocery store.
My before is that we're eating egg sandwiches. The after is that I have a plan.
Not only is meal going to save me time during my day, but it's also going to save me time when I go to the grocery store.
We are going to be talking with Angie from Meal Planning Mom.
There's a lot of things that are involved with my pain point, meal planning.
First, I look at what systems that I can put into place. My system is meal planning for the month. I can even further automate with things like delivery services, like Amazon's Pantry.
Being able to order everything and have it delivered to my house.
Let me repeat that I don't even have to leave my house.
My planning in combination with automation like grocery delivery service saves me so much time and money and I don't have to resort to one of my 'rescue meals.'
During this exercise, I want you to identify whatever your area is, like for me it's meal planning.
Next, I want you to come up with ways and solutions that are going to improve this trip up, this one thing that really messes with your schedule.
I want you to apply systems and in some cases, automate where you can.
Here is the secret sauce, don't look at anything else. I don't want you to tackle anything else until you have implemented this new system consistently.
So for me, in meal planning, I would say give it at least three months.
I know it seems like a long time, but there needs to be consistent implementation and we are talking working a system for one month and repeating.
The focus on this one little area of my schedule relieves so much stress. I know when I start my week what we are having for dinner on Monday and Friday!
When you have consistently implemented your new plan and you feel successful and you've established this habit, you can go back and rinse and repeat using this strategy on your next trip up .
What I mean by that is you can go back to your schedule and you can see, "What else in my schedule is tripping me up? Is it the fact that I don't record doctor's appointments? Is it my shopping?"
We talked a little bit about using Amazon Pantry as automation. If you've read my about section you know that we have two dogs, Phil and Mabel that have a combined weight of over 300 pounds. They eat about 80 pounds of dog food every two weeks. I stumbled upon "automating" buying dog food.
I saw a Facebook post about an owner who had lost her dog. She notified the company and they said to donate the dog food to a shelter and they would credit her account. A few days later, a vase of flowers and card was delivered to the owner. I was so impressed with how the company went above and beyond for this owner - I started my drop shipment of food and have loved it!
It's actually less expensive than me getting in my car and driving to the store. It automatically ships, so I get a discount and if you think about it 80 pounds of dog food is heavy.
By automating this part of my schedule, It's delivered right to my front door every two weeks and I don't have think about it or worry that I will wake up and there won't be any food - or worse discover we don't have food on the way out the door to soccer practice.
By attacking one thing at a time it is going to be less overwhelming and you are setting yourself up for success. Make your schedule work for you.
Think about a system, which is really a checklist. How can we improve this trip up and are there ways, like chewy.com, Amazon Pantry or other ways that you can automate?
Think of automation as a system you can implement on autopilot. For example another way to look at meal planning is to batch shopping and prep. I make several meals at a time and then freeze them. Then, it's a matter of me pulling and go.
Meal planning might not be an issue for you.
It could be your morning routine.
Whatever it is, it's important to write it down [or use Trello.]
Get a visual.
This exercise is going to help you
- feel better
- less stress
- less anxiety
- less worry
- less baggage.
It just makes for a more pleasant day.
You are the CEO of your house. I use strategies that I use in my business and apply them to my home, our daily routines. When you can get that routine humming, it works like magic.
Make sure you grab the printable. If you're interested in the digital version using Trello, make sure you check the additional tutorial that I have offered for you. I hope this is helpful. Let's tackle one thing at a time and really start to improve your schedule.
Now, we're going to continue this conversation in our private Facebook group, Organizing Mama. Make sure you get in on the group. I would love to see you there.
-We'll talk soon.