Over the past three years I have struggled with the challenges of work at home mom life. Boy, it is no joke. It’s gotten easier as my daughter has gotten older, but I still struggle with that thing called mom guilt.
Some days I wish I didn’t have to do this because being mommy is a job that takes up all my time. I’m grateful I have the ability to stay home with my kid and work, but it’s still not easy.
We have been given this blessing. My child deserves to be home with me and she deserves the best of me.
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This year, I wanted to add structure to both of our lives. I was tired of just barely having my head above the water when it came to balancing a job, motherhood, homemaking, and a side business. There would be days where Daniel Tiger would be playing on the TV from 8:30 to 12. Total mom guilt. There were days we wouldn’t get outside. Major mom guilt.
I felt like I was failing. Can anyone else relate?
Before the new year began, I wrote down all my goals. It gave me clarity in order to start making changes. After a lot of contemplation, I made a simple but effective change.
This year I bought a planner.
This is huge, guys. I bought a planner for $20 instead of my normal $5. This particular planner is a daily time blocking planner, which is not something I’ve ever used. (That is, unless we count the planners from school with a section for each period. And those planners I used off and on throughout the school year. In my school days I would sometimes write everything down on a piece of paper and be totally fine, but that was before, you know, mom brain.)
I typically buy planners as an afterthought and use them for about a week until I find them useless. This year I really contemplated it and put some thought into why it wasn’t working in the past years.
- I tried going digital, but the inability to see everything laid out in front of me left me lost and frazzled.
- Purchasing the wrong type of planner made using it useless.
- Not keeping the planner open on my desk caused me to forget I even had it.
We’re going into week four of “The Great Planner Experiment” and I’m loving it more and more. Here are 5 ways I my mom life is thriving from using my planner.
1 | I can set priorities.
I don’t know about you, but I thrive on physically crossing items off my list. Most productivity coaches will say to write down three priorities to accomplish for the day. Focusing on only three things has helped me to achieve so much more.
2 | I block time for each activity.
I’ve been more effective in my day job by blocking time to work on tasks that are…not fun. I’ve been using my Apple Watch to set a timer. My toddler has come to understand that when the timer goes off we will do some sort of play, reading, or educational activity. This allows me to get those things in that I want to get in so I do not feel mom guilt by the end of the day.
3 | Everything is in one place.
This may seem like a no brainer but my appointments, meetings, and important dates are scattered. My work calendar is on Outlook, personal appointments are on iCal, and important dates are on Google Calendar. My planner is now my “hub” for everything so that I can everything right in front of me. I don’t have to wonder which place I put my dentist appointment because it should now be in my planner.
One disclaimer…I do not take my planner everywhere, so if I’m at the dentist I will put the appointment in my phone to transfer to the planner. It’s my preference not to carry a big bag when I’ve already got a toddler and her bag to take around.
4 | I write down my baby steps for my goals.
As I said before, I love crossing things off a list (seriously, who doesn’t?). I tend to get so busy that I forget to do little things to take care of myself. Things such as drink lots of water or eat breakfast, exercise…you know, little stuff like that. I’m more likely to do it if I can cross it off.
5 | I am in control.
I am in charge of my day. When I at least make an outline of how I want my day to look, I feel completely in control. You know how kids love repetition? Well, adults do too. Knowing what comes next makes all the difference when I get thrown off because of unplanned events in my day job or the next adventure in parenting a toddler.
I don’t think the planner I’m using is the greatest thing ever, but it’s a good start to becoming more productive without dishing out a ton of money. I found mine in store at Target (I know, always dangerous), but they don’t seem to sell the daily calendars online. It’s from May Designs, and it’s pretty, which means I will actually use it. (It’s amazing how beauty can make a difference.) I’ve linked a few cute ones below.