“What do you mean a not so perfect day” my husband asks, reading my headline over my shoulder. By no means do I not enjoy my days, however with a toddler in the house, perfect time blocked schedules are just not possible. Nap times constantly change, he wants me to read him a book the second I sit down at my computer, and let’s not mention all the frequent bathroom breaks this pregnant mama has to take. Today I’m sharing a system that has worked for me on how I plan out my whole week in under an hour. It’s not pretty but its practical and helps me juggle multiple hats (almost) seamlessly. It has worked for me and hopefully will work for you too!
Rewind to a year and a half ago, I was preparing to have my first baby and I was in full blown nesting mode. But not the regular type of nesting mode, I had long ago set up the nursery, diaper stations, washed and hung his clothes, no this is a whole different level of nesting. I wanted to plan out my and his schedule for the next year. Now before ya’ll start to laugh at me, you have to remember this was my first child and I had read all the books there was to read about baby schedules. I thought it was going to be a piece of cake to get my child on a normal routine. (In a later blog post I will tell you just how wrong I was). Off I went, planning my calendar down to every workout, meal, naptime, and everything in between. My planner looked beautiful, written out neatly and in color coordinated time blocks for me time, housework, baby time and work activities. Four days into having my son, I realized that this was NOT going to happen. I don’t think I hit a single time block I had scheduled for three whole months and if any of you are OCD like myself you know that was more stressful than surviving the newborn stage. I knew something had to change and it wasn’t going to be Cooper’s schedule, it was going to be my rigid planning skills.
So now I’m going to tell you what works for me. It’s not going to be the attractive bullet journals that scatter my Pinterest feed or nicely colored time blocks, heck it’s not even pretty at all, but it is functional for a mom who juggles many hats and the best thing is you can plan out your whole week in an hour.
Your first step will be to write down all your task categories. My categories look something like this
- Real Estate (work)
- Me time
- Husband’s events/scehdule
Now pick a specific color for each one of your categories and buy sticky notes in each color. If you don’t want to use multiple color sticky notes then pick a different pen color for each category. Each Sunday I sit down with a scratch piece of notebook paper and write my categories in columns at the top of the paper.
First I write out all of my important appointments and dedicated work time that I already have planned such as doctors’ appointments, play dates, client meetings, ect. in their appropriate column. Each of these goes on a sticky note that corresponds with it’s category’s color and are placed on my planner at the correct time. I should mention that I have a planner that is broken down into each hour per day. I will link a few great options at the bottom or this post.
Next I add my chore list. I have created a list of chores to do each day that breaks down one section of the house each day into manageable chores that can easily get done between phone calls, nap time, or when my husband gets home and takes on daddy duty. Those go on a sticky note and are placed at the top of my planner for each day. Why at the top you ask? As the day fills up, I add the chores in where I have free time in my schedule. I never know when I will have an extra fifteen minutes to knock out some laundry or scrape dried food off of the floor.
Following this, I fill out sticky notes with things I would like to get done but aren’t a necessity to our everyday life. These things include activities such as working out, organizing the pantry, or pool time with Cooper. These are placed on the planner.
Sunday is also the day I plan out my meals for the week, from Cooper’s meals all the way to snacks for myself. On a notepad I write out Cooper’s meal plan for the week, my meal plan, and what dinners we will have as a family. I then use a paper clip to attach the notepad page to my planner so it’s easy to refer to as the week goes on. Right then and there I order my groceries online and pick a time for them to be delivered. Moms, if you have grocery delivery service in your area, USE IT! I used to think only lazy people used a grocery delivery service but I promise it’s a game changer. The time you would spend at the grocery store can be spent with your little/s, writing a blog post, or taking some time for yourself for once! If you do not have delivery service in your area that’s ok, making out a list ahead of time will save you time and money when you go to the grocery. Each morning I spend 15 minutes prepping food items that can be made ahead of time or laid out so I don’t have to search throughout the day for my next meal. On another blog post I will let you in on a secret I’ve been using since Cooper was born to have dinner on the table by 6pm and share the recipes my family have come to love.
Back to the planner…why put them on sticky notes instead of write them down on the planner you might ask. I do this so that my schedule can remain flexible while still getting it all done. Sometimes I must move my chores to 8pm or a client showing is pushed an hour back. With sticky notes I don’t have to worry about scratching anything out, I can simply move it to a new time slot. If something doesn’t get done on one day then, I move it to a free location on another day ensuring that everything gets done each week.
I hope this helps some of you mamas feel a little less overwhelmed when you are staring at all the to-do items on your list for the week. Remember to always find the beauty in the chaos and to enjoy each day no matter what gets crossed off your list. Dishes can wait, being present in your family’s lives are much more important and will be memories you won’t ever forget!