Free time? What’s that? Despite all the modern conveniences that were invented to make life easier and less stressful, we are finding women feel busier and more stressed than previous generations. If you are like most women you feel you run ragged most days only to still have many items on your “to-do” list untouched by the end of the day. The meals, the kids, the housework, the job and the list goes on!
I know I can speak for myself when I say I am a “wannabe.” I wannabe a great wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter and want my life to be well organized, balanced, priorities in order and still have fun! How do you do all of that and then stay on top of the cleaning, laundry, groceries, healthy dinners, errands, workouts and still save some energy to spend time with your husband and kids?
Right now we have more women in the workforce that ever before, more single moms than ever before and studies show working wives still do the majority of the housework so we have added 8-10 working hours to our already full lives.
So how do we strike the right balance? Add more hours to the day? Sleep less? Nanny? Housekeeper? Will our lives ever be able to reflect a calm sense of balance?
Here are a few tips and tricks to make your daily schedule a bit easier.
- Pre-plan out your meals each week for dinners, school lunches, etc. so you can do one main shopping trip each week and can plan healthier meal options as well. If left to last minute meals each day, your choices tend to not be as healthy and you could find yourself in a drive thru for fast food.
- Keep on top of your laundry by doing at least one load each day of the week. Come up with a schedule that works and rotate through that schedule giving yourself one day off over the weekend. This also eliminates the daunting task of “all day in the laundry room” and keeps the closets more organized too.
- Do a quick pick up of the house/kitchen before you go to bed each night. Makes for a better start the next morning!
- Pack school lunches as well as layout all the kids clothes & bags so they are ready to go when the morning drill starts.
- Separate the “need to do” projects from the “nice to do‘s”, then take care of the need to do’s first! Use “time blocks” for times of your day to get the things done that need to be addressed: mail, bills, emails, phone calls, etc.
- Learn to say NO to things that are non-priorities. A good friend and mentor once gave me this advice, “If you find yourself saying you just need to get through something it is probably not something you should have said ‘yes’ to in the first place.”
- Use some sort of a calendar or planner to help you stay on top of all of your appointments, activities and priorities for each day. It helps to have a “family calendar” in place as well so you can look at your week in advance and determine the days that may be busier than others. The key is to have it written somewhere so you can reference it at any time.
- Set up a system that works for you for incoming mail. Sort mail as it comes in. Trash it, file it, respond to it, or take action on it — don’t let it build up. Do as much as you can on-line and find a way to keep track of your expenses to help stay within your budget. (i.e. Quicken, Mint.com)
- Make sure to take care of yourself by getting a good night sleep, exercising and taking short time outs. A short time out ensures a long time in!
Finding balance is a never-ending process. The key is to not give yourself too much to do on any given day, but set aside the time to tackle on project at a time. Some weeks I am lucky to have done just one of these and we’re eating breakfast for dinner for the second day in a row, but that’s just life! We are not always going to have the luxury of being ahead of the game each day.
Remember the goal of being organized isn’t to make your house pristine, it is to make your life more functional and in balance.
Tracie Nolde lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Jeff, and their three children, Camden, Chase and Kennedy.