YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW BUSY I AM?
Oh but I really do. I was working full time & running a business with a team of over one hundred initially. I went onto maternity leave and continued to build a business that was hugely successful but I gave birth a couple of weeks later and let’s just say , I know how it is to feel like a hamster on a hamster wheel. A to do list that lasts a month which was supposed to take a week. This was how I was before I really took charge of my organisation. I had to. I was working full time, 30 weeks pregnant and running a business in the beginning and that was growing at a phenomenal rate.
Then, William came along. Things got a lot crazier. As I’m sure most of you understand. I was running a a business that was turning over in the millions a year and I really needed to find a balance. Find a way of becoming more organised. I wanted to feel like I was winning not like I was failing all the time. Even when I was actually winning pretty significantly in some areas I just felt like I wasn’t being as good as I wanted to be in all areas. BALANCE is something you plan for not something that just magically appears.
I’ve put together my 10 tips for mummies. I’ve found these super simple to implement over the past 3 years and they’ve made a huge difference to my life. They’ve allowed me to run two successful businesses, be a great mummy, great wife (although i’m sure he’d disagree at times 😉 ) sister, friend, aunty etc – we all have our roles and we want to do our best.
I hope these tips will help you to simplify some of the tasks we have to do as mums on a daily / weekly basis allowing you to streamline and find more time for the things you love.
1. ASSESS YOUR TIME
I want you to really take the time to look at your time and how exactly you use it. This next week I don’t want you to actually change anything. I just want you to document everything & I mean everything. Every hour by hour make a note. Yes this will take more time but you can then effectively assess your time without you simply just ‘thinking’ what you spend your time on. Most of you will be really surprised at where the majority of your time goes or the time taken on tasks that you really didn’t realise you were taking up that much of your time on.
Most people spend around an hour per day on tasks that could be done at a later time or completely eliminated altogether. It’s important to have the week to monitor to then really be able to work out where you can save time moving forward.
I heard this so many times & it used to drive me mad. My husband Shaun used to say often, ” Do you really have to do that now?” “Can’t it wait until later?” “Why have you booked that in now?”
I used to get annoyed because I was just in a space that I need to be everything to everyone. You soon realise that unless you prioritise you’ll be everything to everyone and a nobody to what really matters. That’s not balance & that’s no way to live.
So, we all have to prioritise. If we do it in the planning phase we massively save on time to use for things that matter most to us.
Write out 3 to do lists.
ANYTIME (in the week)
LONG TERM / ONGOING
When you divide things into these sections it’s then much easier to plan out your time. You can divide your tasks up into these areas and ensure that you’re getting the right things done first.
3. LOOK AHEAD
Most people make the mistake of having just a general view of the week, appointments, a few meetings, extra activities with the kids etc that we have to do and that we kind of just ‘wing’ the rest of the week with no goal or purpose. That really won’t make you happy in the long term or fulfilled in the short term.
If you take the time to look ahead and find ways to cut the amount of time spent on different tasks that you probably (before doing the weekly monitoring) didn’t even know took up so much of your time.
Tasks such as:
I’ve found ways by looking ahead to really utilise my time by planning ahead. Here’s some tips and examples that I use.
4. GETTING READY
On a sunday after planning out my week I plan out clothes for myself & William. I place his 7 outfits ready on the top bunk in his bedroom. Tops, trousers, socks, shoes, pants.
**Saves me 10 – 15 mins minimum every morning (also stops the battle of wills moaning about his clothes ha ha)
Doesn’t sound much? Did you know that over 12 months that will save me over 60 hours. Thats more than 10 days of “working hours” based on an average 40 hour week. Worth it? I believe so.
A simple task that takes 10 -15 mins at the beginning of your week saving you this much time in a year.
5. PREPARING MEALS
I found I was so very last minute. Not only can you save time if you plan ahead you will also save money too. So many times I would throw food out of the fridge that had just past it’s date – a complete waste. Times when I felt completely inadequate because I just wasn’t organised enough.
Plan out your meals on a sunday for the rest of the week for the whole family. The best thing that I ever invested in was a slow cooker. You can pick these up from anywhere as low as £12.50 on eBay upwards. They all do the same job so you don’t need to splash out.
I haven’t even used a book for the recipe’s google works a treat. I plan 3 meals a week minimum that I do in the slow cooker. I generally use this website https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/slow-cooker . We’ve had some beautiful meals from this and they’re a real hit with Wills.
6. MAKE EXTRA
When i’m making meals I always make more and freeze them. It saves me time in the following week simply utilising even more time that I have, This has a roll on effect and you’ll be super grateful in weeks where unexpected things happen. You’ll be happy you did. Having storage containers or ziptop storage bags to freeze them in and writing dates on the top keeps you really organised.
This can save you a lot of time during your week. I personally don’t like to do it too often because Wills likes to help with the cooking but twice a week is perfect for us.
7. GIVE AWAY
Don’t be scared to delegate. Now, I know that everyone is different. When I first got insanely busy I lived 4 hours away from my family. No childcare help etc and I know the lots of mummies are the same. I never wanted a cleaner. I fought this for quite a while… stupidly. If you can afford it do it.
Cleaners cost from £8 – £16 per hour averagely. I had a very small house when I first got my cleaner. They were only there an hour a week and it cost me £16. Would I have done that if I had stayed in the police and not started a business? No, I would’ve have. But that doesn’t mean to say that’d be right but I think i’m a bit tight and I actually enjoy cleaning weirdly. I just love the end result. But when it comes to organising and leveraging out time you have to put things into perspective. Decide what’s right for you.
If you do have a business could you earn more in the time spent paying someone else to do a weekly deep clean than doing it yourself? If so, then it’s totally worth it. If you are a mummy that has the money and would rather the time with the kids. Then absolutely delegate that task.
It’s all about living in line with your values. If it saves you time and its affordable to delegate cleaning, ironing etc then great if that works for you.
Car Pools for school runs – This can save you on average 30-40 mins a day depending on the travel time. Lets say you want to do the school run 3 times per week & do the car pool. By teaming up with other mummies you could save 52 – 70 hours per year. When you think of it in terms of saving a 10 days working hours then it’s definitely a great idea to team up with a couple of local mums.
8. KEEP A DESK PLANNER
Once you’ve organised your week and put it in your planner it’s a great idea to break down tasks. I personally couldn’t be without a desk planner. I love to do lists and I really encourage breaking down even the smallest of tasks to tick of everyday. The activity of ticking off a task and feeling accomplished is powerful in itself. Come on mummies… How many times have you got through the brushing the teeth session and felt like you deserve the recognition of just running your first marathon or something? It’s not only me surely?
Well, ticking off the mini goals, the little wins will really encourage you to go for the big wins. A desk planner (see our shop) is the best way to keep on track of the smaller tasks.
9. EVERYTHING TO HAVE A PLACE
When I lived at home my mum used to say to me, “Ems what’s up?” I’d have been fine and there’s no way she could’ve known anything was wrong .. but she’d say. “The state of your room is the state of your mind, What’s up?”
This is so true in so many women. I’m not saying my home is tidy all of the time – I have a threenager of course not. But it most certainly is clean. If it wasn’t I couldn’t function properly and not to my full capacity. I always feel like something is niggling away at me making me feel like i’m not doing well enough. For example, this weekend i’ve painted the top of my table again. There were a few scratches and it was really getting on my nerves. I work there and was thinking how annoying it was. It was distracting. I put aside 40 mins to paint the table. Got it done, ticked off my weekly planner. Feel awesome.
If everything has a place in your home you are going to be in a much better place to be more productive with your time. Did you know that one of the biggest time wasters is looking for things. Yep, actually looking for things. Get a key holder, pen holder, in tray and out tray. Keep everything in it’s place and give everything a place. Get organised.Makes a massive difference to your state of mind.
10. SCHEDULE FUN / ACTIVITIES
Sounds kind of ridiculous to schedule fun but why not? It doesn’t have to be spontaneous to be fun. I personally schedule activities daily for william. Monday is painting. Tuesday is park & picnic. Wednesday is soft play. Thursday is fun at nanny’s house. Friday is cake baking or off to the caravan.
Every day I plan for the week ahead. Being organised in the activities I want to do allows spontaneity. If I decide to take him to the farm, toyshop, mummy group, country walk, trampolining or horse riding instead .. great. That is totally cool & I’m still winning. Having a basic plan however is important. Within that time it’s up to you but that plan is your default and will save you a lot of time but will also make you feel like you’re winning and we’re all about the winning ladies.
I really hope some of these basic tips can be implemented into your daily routine and help you towards achieving that perfect balance.