Sometimes, being Type A has its benefits. For example, I just LOVE lists! Getting to mark things off a to-do list is just so satisfying! Being Type A can also make one a little, ahem, stuffy. Or controlling. Or demanding. Not saying I’ve been accused of any of these things! 🙂 Whether you’re Type A or free as a bird, we can all keep our homes in better order by learning tips for time management.
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1. Change the Way You Talk About Time
Are you guilty of always talking about how you don’t have enough time, your weekend went too fast, and you wish you had more time in the day? Acknowledge that we all have the same 24 hour day to work with, and time is exactly what you make of it. We are what we think, and that becomes the things we speak. Reframe your frazzled mindset by stating, “I have as much time as I need” or “My time is what I make of it.” These things may not feel true at first, but you can begin to reprogram yourself to operate this way.
2. Write Down the Top 5 Things You Care About
This should be your “big picture” things that encompass what you want your life to exemplify. For instance, my list would include:
- Optimal physical, spiritual, and emotional health
- Spending time with the Lord and growing closer to Him each day
- Being a good wife that cares for my husband
- Leaving a legacy for my children through how I parent and homeschool
- Helping other moms have healthy families/educating others on total health
Your list may look completely different and include items such as the work you perform, how you use your gifts and talents, traveling the world, and acts of service in your community or church.
After you make your list, compare your values to the activities you spend time on every day (see number 4 below). Do they align? If not, begin eliminating activities that don’t match up to what you want your life to truly be.
3. Use a Calendar Along With Your to-do List
Did I mention I love lists? 🙂 Putting things on your phone as a reminder can serve its purpose if you’re out and about, but nothing beats the satisfaction of pen and paper! Having a numbered list is functional if you have simple items that are fairly quick to get done. But what if you have a large task requiring multiple steps? Writing “organize house” on a to-do list is going to lead to much frustration! It’s not broken down, or managable. Nevermind the fact you won’t get that satisfying feeling of marking something off for DAYS! Here is where using a calendar becomes essential for breaking down larger tasks.
First, break your project down into chunks. Using our example on organizing the house, you can break it down by room, but even further, you can break it down by items in a room, or areas in a room.
Next, put each of these specific items on your calendar. If it’s on your calendar, it’s more likely you’ll get it done. Only allot a task you have time to do on each particular day so you don’t set yourself up for failure.
4. Write Down Everything You Currently Spend Your Time on
Your list should include work, home responsibilities, family time, personal care, tasks such as cooking or driving kids to practice, etc. Now the harder part- how many time suckers are in each day? Scrolling social media, binge watching a TV series, and searching the internet can sneak up and take away more of our time than we care to admit. Be honest and specific with your list, and ask yourself if these help you align with your list from #2.
5. Begin Your Day with Quiet and Gratitude
For about 20 years now, in every season with toddlers on up, I have always made it a point to get up before everyone else. This time for me means getting a cup of coffee and settling in with my Bible to spend quiet time with the Lord. It sets my mind at peace and gets me prepared to greet all my people! How does your day begin? If it’s with kids bouncing on your bed or everyone running around in chaos, may I suggest a change in your morning routine? Mama, if you have younger children, it’s ok to teach them to stay in their room until you come to get them. You need that time for you. Whatever it looks like for you, taking a few minutes for yourself is what sets the tone for your day.
Even learning to BREATHE is a fabulous place to start. Breathing into your lower abdomen engages your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for “rest and digest” as opposed to “fight or flight.” Deep breathing causes your relaxation response to kick in, making you feel calm, centered and present. The best thing is, when you become aware of this, you can do this throughout your day, anywhere! It takes only a minute and will help you feel internal calm, even if everything around you is busy or feeling out of control.
Mama, repeat after me: “I can’t do it all.” Boy, did it take me a long time to get rid of superwoman mentality! Running a home is a full time job. If home is where you work, here are some ideas for you:
- Make a routine for each day of the week- Mondays, vacuum; Wednesdays, make bread and clean bathrooms… you get the idea. Again, I’m a fan of lists! But sometimes creating this weekly routine means things don’t get forgotten.
- Make a chore chart for your kids- Being a valued part of the family means contributing to household chores. Doing everything for your kids not only wears you out, but it doesn’t teach them basic life skills. My grown sons have thanked me multiple times for teaching them to clean when they were young! They sure didn’t enjoy it at the time, so don’t be upset if your children don’t jump at the chance! But they will rise to the occasion. Here is a great chore list by age which is a great reminder of what kids are actually capable of. Here is a cute way to list chores for an individual child, and here is a great way to organize chores for the whole family.
- Set up your finances so your bills get paid automatically.
- If you work outside the home or don’t have a tight budget, consider hiring help for cleaning, care for younger kids, or paying a laundry service.
7. Release Perfection
This is a tricky one, and harder for some of us than others. Let go of the need to be perfectly scheduled and productive each day. Life happens- a kid gets sick, the car breaks down, the washer overflows, your wheat grinder lid comes off in the midst of grinding wheat and spews flour all over the kitchen… yes, that’s happened to me!
We are human, not a robot. Try not to judge yourself, and be realistic with your time. Stay positive and always support yourself with healthy food, self-care, and positive relationships.
I hope these ideas can bring more order to your days and weeks. For more help in organizing, see my post on creating a weekly meal plan.