It seems I am flooded with comments from friends and family who say, “I have NO idea how you get it all done!” They look at my large family, our ministry overseas, our homeschooling journey and my work-at-home business and just sigh in exasperation. But many of them don’t know my secrets to “getting it all done!” Now, I’m sharing them with you!
My secrets to getting it all done actually began many years ago. So I don’t overload your mom brain with scientific details, I’ll just leave my thoughts in a cutesy bullet-point style format so you can read it fast and return to your “getting it all done” life! You’re welcome!
My 8 Secrets to Getting it All Done
- Sticking to routines. After my first two children were born I realized in order for my family to get the most out of our 24 hour days, we needed to plan routines. I set up routines for my kids and I and ensured that we stuck to them. We had school routines, nap routines, bedtime routines, devotion routines, bath routines and play routines. These routines kept us on track and helped us fight against the desire to just float directionless throughout the day. When we didn’t live by our routines, we rarely had a productive day. Our non productive days always ended in a messy house, a stressed out mom and ungraded school papers. Sigh. I still deplore those memories but choose to focus on our productive days. Learn from the bad and focus on the good is my life motto now!
- Staying focused. If you meet up with me at the grocery store or church I just may seem scatterbrained.mI always have new ideas swimming in my head. I’m also trying to observe new ideas, approaches to life and time-saving hacks I notice in other people’s lives. But when it comes to working at home, I change into my “get focused” gear. If it’s teaching piano to my kids, I don’t want interruptions. If I’m writing a new blog post, I don’t check my phone or hop on Facebook for a few minutes. I’ve learned that keeping focused on the task at hand has helped me accomplish so much more and be productive in my working hours!
- Ensuring that my kids learn life skills. When my kids are quite young (even still in diapers) I encourage them to help around the house. Toddlers can empty small trash cans, throw away diapers and wipe down hard surfaces with cleaning wipes. Preschoolers can sweep, make beds and fold clothes (they really can!) Grade school children can wash dishes, dry dishes, prepare small meals, wash clothes, organize their room and more. Teens are capable of making meals, preparing grocery lists, organizing fridge and pantry, ironing clothes and even small maintenance jobs around the house and yard.I lacked so many life-skills when I got married. I want a different future for my children. I want my kids to know how to cook, clean, sew and balance a budget when they leave our home. But, I am reaping time-saving benefits from teaching my children’s knowledge of life-skills that I never expected. They are now working alongside of me and helping me save huge chunks of time. They are one of my secrets to “getting it all done!”
- Desiring to be a good manager. As far as my home and work at home business are concerned, I try to have my hands involved in everything. That means I take house walks like my friend Rachel talks about on her blog. That means I’m peeking into bedrooms often to see if beds are still made and items are place in proper places. That means I call an “emergency cleaning” meeting if I find more than seven things misplaced. All kids drop everything and we walk through the house together discussing why there was a balloon in the refrigerator and an empty juice carton in the living room. Yeah, that really happens. Being a manager over my work from home business means I hire out people to create printables, activities, recipes and other fun items of interest for my website. Being a manager of my home means I am inspecting the finished work of my children — whether it’s cleaning or cooking.
- Realizing I can’t do it all alone. If you knew me the first 10 years of my marriage you would have seen I was “doing it all”. I was doing all the cooking, cleaning and home-schooling. I was changing all the diapers, packing all our clothes for trips and washing, folding and hanging all of our laundry — but I didn’t mind it! But six years ago our family changed. My husband saw I could not possibly do everything alone. We instructed our kids on how they could be more involved in household duties — which they were glad to do! In fact, one very exhausting night I headed upstairs with the dread of knowing that I would have to pack our entire family’s (sans my husband) luggage for our monthly trip to the capito for groceries and supplies. When I wearily reached the top of the stirs I saw an opened suit case filled with folded clothes. On top of the suitcase was a folded piece of paper. I opened up the paper and read the sweetest note. “Dear Mom, I know you’re exhausted so I stayed up a little bit later and packed all the kids clothes for our trip. I hope this helps! Love Anna.” Hot tears streamed down my face as I considered my daughter’s sweet token of love. She saw I couldn’t “do it all” and wanted to help. Now my husband and I are both carrying the load of home-schooling our six children and my kids are using their helping hands on a daily basis. Though it’s a different season for this “do it all” mom, I’m thankful that my family and I realized I had come to a point where I needed extra “helping hands.” I’m thankful my family was more than willing to step in and get involved!
- Learning to change with each season of motherhood. When my kids were younger, I had a good chunk of leisure time daily. I would have around 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time int he afternoons because they napped faithfully. I then had evenings free from 8 pm to 11 pm. Now, I do not have my afternoons free and my older children don’t go to sleep until 9 pm. That means my brain is constantly interrupted with questions and needs form my older children. However, my older children are also able to help more and do not need to be supervised closely for all their waking hours. I ca still have the leisure time I had in the past if I plan properly. The means I have to plan for my kids to be involved in games, activities or music lessons when I need to get work from home business does — such as now. With each season of your motherhood, you need to look for ways to find balance and use th best of your time!
- Accepting that each family is different. My family has to have clean floors. Without clean floor, our entire family is grumpy. Balance in my family looks like clean floors, completed school days, yummy meals — but extra piles of laundry. If the laundry piles up, no one is stressed. If the floor looks grimy, everyone is frustrated. Figure out how your family can “get it all done” even if you have to cut corners. Your family can still feel on top of things if you make sure your family is in their comfort zone.
- Planning simple meals. Running a business from home means that “crunch” days will come. There re days I have to set aside making more elaborate meals so I can concentrate on getting en ebook or course completed. On those days, I still cook for my family (or ask my kids to step in) and prepare super simple meals that are ready in minutes. I have a list of super simple meal ideas here you can check out. Frozen pizzas, fish sticks and homemade macaroni and cheese are also simple meals I use that aren’t mentioned din the list. Oh, and don’t forget slow cooker meals like this crock pot chicken and dumplings or these beef dump recipes. Planning ahead for super busy mom days really helps me get more done!
- Limiting time-stealers. I hear so many moms either boast OR complain about their messy homes and lack of showers . I’m not joking when I read or hear those same moms say they spent too many hors watching Netflix last week. They joke as if it’s completely acceptable and normal. Here’s the truth. If I spend 10 hours (no exaggeration here) a week watching shows or movies I am letting time-stealers into my home. They are stealing my time from managing a family and business. This time philosophy applies to social media as well. It’s very, very easy to get addicted to these time-stealers. If walking away from them immediately is too difficult, try cutting back and replacing the time-stealers. Set a timer to see how many hours you really are investing in social media and entertainment. You may be surprised how much time these leisure activities are stealing from you! I’m not immune to time-stealers, but I’m very aware of their negative affect on my life and definitely make it a practice to limit them.
So those are my eight secrets to “getting it all done.” Some weeks are better than others. Some weeks I feel like my family and business are thriving; other weeks I feel like I need to re-manage an area or seventy…;0) And in case you didn’t notice, it’s not always just me “getting it all done.” I have helping hands in my home and in my business.
How do you “get it all done”? Chat with my about it in our All For Mommies group on Facebook!