The biggest complaint I hear from my mama clients is that they have no time.
No time to prepare healthy meals, let alone eat them. No time to focus on exercise or wellness. No time to clean the house. No time to seduce their partners. And certainly no time to build their businesses.
I get this. As I type, I’m looking around a messy kitchen. I see dishes in the sink and dust bunnies on the floor. I’ve literally had to trade the time I have for getting the house together for the time I’m spending working. And, I can’t help but feel like sometimes I’m short changing one for the other.
But I don’t think this torn feeling is uncommon., especially for mompreneurs. It’s so easy to let overwhelm make us feel like we can’t (or shouldn’t) accomplish our goals. There are just too many pressing, more important things that need our attention. You know, the things like raising our babies, and keeping our houses, and maintaining our marriages.
However, this mentality is only going to get you so far.
Yeah ok, your surface obligations may be met. You may feel like you’ve been super productive and you’ve gotten all of your to-do’s done. But, you haven’t fed your soul.
You’ve used your time to take care of everyone but yourself.
Take a minute and think of a person who really inspires you. A musician, a politician, a writer… Now think of their accomplishments. There is no way they would have become as influential and inspirational as they are without proper time management.
The truth is, there are only 24 hours in one day. We all have the exact same 24 hours as Amy Porterfield, Brené Brown and Beyoncé (all moms BTW). Sure, they have an entourage and they have lots of money so they can pay people to take care of the things that suck the time away from their passions.
But think about it, they all had their beginnings.
Beyoncé Knowles was once a girl with a dream from Houston, Texas. She had school, a family, a summer job, friends, and all other kinds of things tugging at her time. But still, she managed to become a household name, a doting mom and wife, and headline Super Bowl concerts. Whether you love her or hate her as an artist, you have to admit, she sure learned to capitalize on her 24 hours each day.
And if you're looking for help capitalizing on your 24 hours click here to join the Feel-Good Schedule Challenge for Mompreneurs!!
The Season of HUSTLE
I'm gonna take a little detour here to talk about the seasons of our lives. We'll get to the time management tips in a minute. But this is seriously important.
When I work with moms, one of the first things I help them realize is that time is relative – thank you Mr. Einstein.
But seriously, we can look at the seconds ticking on a clock, add them up into minutes, build them into hours, days, months, and even years. Or, we can change our focus and look at time as seasons.
There is a season post-birth where our babies are utterly dependent on us. There is a season when we get old and we become utterly dependent upon them. And all kinds of seasons in between.
One season in particular that I would like you to consider is the Season of Hustle.
The Season of Hustle is that time when the wheels are spinning so fast, you’re sure they’re gonna fly off. From the moment you wake up to the moment you crash you don’t stop moving. Every second of your day is utilized and there is no room for slowing down.
The Season of Hustle is not often a fun time. It usually sucks pretty bad. You stuff cold toast in your mouth as you run out the door and you throw four things into a pan for dinner that probably don’t even taste good together. You surely aren’t sleeping enough and everyone is feeling a bit neglected. What’s not neglected, however, is your dream. You may not have sat down in weeks, but you’ve never been so close to your goals.
The beauty of the Season of Hustle is just that – it’s a season.
And just like winter, spring, summer or fall, it turns. Suddenly, the weather has changed and you’re looking at an entirely different landscape. If you’ve maximized your season (summer vacations, fall leaf piles, winter snowmen…) you can look back at all you’ve done – completely satisfied and completely exhausted.
And you know what comes next? The Season of Rest.
Now sure, those seconds, minutes, hours, and days are important. You’d hate to be hustling without a game plan and end up being busy and exhausted with no end goal. I can absolutely help you with that!!
But today, I’d just like you to think about time in a different way. Think of it as something that ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes.
Now, let’s talk about three reasons you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have any.
3 Real Reasons You Have “No Time”
PROBLEM #1 You don’t know how long things actually take
A lot of times we look at all of the stuff we think we have to do and we shirk back into the corner. There’s just too much and there’s no way we’ll get a handle on it. We “don’t have time.”
But what’s really going on is that we don’t have an accurate picture of how long our to-do’s actually take.
We look at the day’s tasks and see we have to take the baby to the doctor, sweep and mop, get dinner together, and complete three client projects before the weekend. So we convince ourselves there’s absolutely no way we’ll have time to love our biz babies and our families equally.
We think we must make a choice between the two things that make us most happy - our business and our family - so rather than giving ourselves some time then and there to build our businesses, we give up. The trap we fall into is putting off something important to us because we think it will take over our time and keep us from the rest of our mommy priorities.
The way we rationalize this is that we tell ourselves we’ll wait until we have a big enough chunk of time to set aside to devote to our biz goals. The problem with this approach, though, is that as mompreneurs we’re never going to have a space in our days that is large enough to do everything all at once.
We’re always going to be choosing one task over another and pushing something back to make room for something else.
Though there really is no getting around this fact, a simple solution that will help you decide how to allocate your time is to organizing our tasks by the amount of time they take.
I swear I just heard you say “well duh,” to your computer, but hear me out.
Matching like tasks together will help you see how many things you have that you can knock out quickly, those that will take a bit of time, and those you need to plan around.
So think about grouping five minute to-do’s with other five minute-ers. The same with 10 minute, 30 minute, and hour-long tasks.
Once you know exactly how long something takes, you’ll be able to arrange your time accordingly and see that you really can fit more in than you thought. Once you decide you have an hour to spend on the house, pick tasks that fit into that time frame.
Have a quick half hour to squeeze in some business? Look to your list and pick a 30 minute task. Or, go for the combo and choose 3 ten-minute-ers!
If things take less than five minutes, stop and just do them. See a pile of shoes outside of the closet. Don’t tell yourself you’ll get to it later. Stop and do it then. In fact, anything that comes up in the course of the day that is going to take less than five minutes go ahead and do it immediately.
- Replying to an email
- Editing a typo
- Commenting on a photo you're tagged in
It’s when we walk right passed these things thinking they’ll take too long that we end up with a huge pile of five minute tasks at the end of the day. That’s when it really will take hours to get it all done.
PROBLEM #2 You haven’t organized your to-do list
Sometimes mamas will write a to-do list that's just a jumble of tasks. It looks something like this:
- iron dress shirt for meeting
- buy stickers for craft project
- blend baby food
- complete monthly editorial calendar
- sanitize toys
- re-write Etsy listing for more sales
- wash hubby’s gym clothes
- return recalled cat food
- develop FB marketing schedule
- research new product ideas.
There is no rhyme or reason to the list and it’s overwhelming just looking at it. It’s no wonder that a list like this can make us feel like there’s no amount of time that will ever let us get everything done.
Once we operate from a place of overwhelm, it becomes a matter of surviving the day. The unfortunate thing that ends up happening during days like this is that we start to scrap everything we think is unnecessary. Like being in a sinking ship, we toss out anything that’s not gonna help us float.
All too often though, what we think will drag us down are the tasks that are associated with building our business dreams.
The key to finding the time to do a little bit of everything is to avoid operating from overwhelm in the first place. If we can cultivate a calm approach to our obligations each morning, we are much more likely to sail through our to-do lists and feel like there is room for it all.
This sounds glorious, but impossible. But one solution that will get you light-years close to achieving this is to simply organize your to-do list.
There are a ton of different ways to do this, but one of the most efficient is to collect tasks into categories. An easy one to try is categorizing it such as:
- Business Goals
Once you have the categorical break down, you can see what your main demands are for the day.
Group similar categories of tasks together. If you have three errands to run, group them together and do them all at once. Run the errand that is furthest away first and work your way back to the house. If you have multiple housekeeping chores to do, set aside the chunk of time to tackle all of them together. If you do this regularly, you'll start to find those chunks of time that are perfect for growing your biz.
PROBLEM #3 You haven’t designated your priorities.
No matter how well we schedule or organize our time, there are still bound to be days that we simply will not get everything done.
Client emergencies happen and we have to drop everything to fix them. Play dates are cancelled so we have to brainstorm new ways to entertain the kids.
Whenever these things pop up, we have to flex and adapt and shift our time. But, isn't this the reason we chose to become mompreneurs in the first place??
There is no shame to not accomplishing everything for the day and there is no use getting down on ourselves.
However, even on our most stressful days, there is a way to still feel as though we’ve accomplished something.
To do this, we can figure out what events in our day are non-negotiable.
This is some of the most fun work I do with my mom clients and I always make sure that one of their non-negotiables relates directly to their business goals and dreams.
For example, if you designate 3 priorities daily you can feel very productive and proud of yourself no matter what else happens with the rest of your time.
You can choose the size of the tasks and define exactly what your priorities are so that you call the shots and know exactly when you’ve met your non-negotiables for the day.
This approach requires a bit of diligence and you need to make it your absolute prerogative to get your 3 priorities done. You can identify your most productive hours of the day and pencil your priorities for this window.
An awesome thing about this approach is if you find you have some extra time after knocking out your non-negotiables, anything else you get done is just icing on the cake.
When writing out your list for the day, leave a space at the top for your 3 non-negotiables. Highlight them or put stars by them – whatever is going to designate these responsibilities as “must do.” Depending on your style you can knock them out first, or save your biggest chunks of time to dedicate to your priority tasks.
But Wait...There's More
Did you love these suggestions and think they will help you manage your mompreneur time?
To bring you even more value and make sure you've got a time management system you can be proud of, I've gone ahead and created a 5-Day Video Challenge that will walk you through exactly how to master your mompreneur schedule.
Each day you'll receive the link to a super short video with a super actionable tip on how to make sure you love your schedule.
If you're ready to feel-good about your mompreneur schedule and be proud of yourself as a mommy and a mompreneur, you can access the videos here!!