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We all have the same 24 hours in a day, but how do busy moms get so much done? Coffee. Just kidding. Well, kind of. Coffee never hurts, right? I like to joke that most days, I run on coffee and dry shampoo. I may not be an expert, but I am mom who runs a couple businesses plus several side hustles, I have three kids, I have spent time as a full-time student, and I try to make health and fitness a priority! So I, like most moms, can be pretty busy.
The simple answer is that none of us will ever get everything done, but there are steps that all of us can take to get more accomplished.
How do busy moms get so much done?
Planning the day
The number one answer for how do busy moms get so much done is planning. Almost all busy moms who are successful with time management use tools to plan their day. I use two different methods for planning my schedule. The Happy Planner by Create 365 is my go-to for planning my year, months and weeks. I have used several planners, but this is by far my favorite. There are planners for photographers, fitness planners, general planners, but it seems hard to get one planner that does it all.
I love The Happy Planner because they have lots of accessory sets to add in exactly what you need. As a photographer, I book weddings several months out, so it’s nice to have the option of a 12, 18 or even 24 month planner. I primarily use the monthly part of this planner, but I also use the weekly planner. For planning my days, I have my own Daily List that I use.
Monthly, weekly, daily?
I couldn’t find a printable with everything that I wanted, so I made my own! I have a main to-do list, 3 primary goals, daily tasks, and other things like purchases that I need to make, fitness, water, notes, blog ideas and more. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to find out how to get your own copy of my daily list for free!
I recommend looking at your monthly planner first and then breaking it down to weeks and days. What works for one person and their schedule may not work for another, so I suggest trying a few different things and figuring out what works for you! I also color code with these gel pens. It seems silly, but it helps me keep everything straight. I use different colors for photography work, kids activities, blog projects, and a few other things.
Planning your meals
Meal planning is a must for anyone who wants to get more done. I will admit that it’s not an area where I am always successful. I have found that using a tool like the $5 meal plan or eMeals The $5 meal plan is the less expensive option, but eMeals has more eating style options. In most situations you will easily save the money you spend on a meal planning app by preventing food waste.
Even if you don’t follow a meal plan using an app, meal planning and meal prepping can be huge time savers. Simply writing down what you have, planning a menu for the week, and shopping around that will save a lot! I find it easier to follow a plan that has been put together for me. eMeals will also set you up with a shopping list for a store of your choice. You can try eMeals free for two weeks (credit card info is required, but you can cancel if you decide it’s not for you) so it’s worth it to give it a shot!
It is kind of related to meal planning, but eating well is really important for overall health and energy. Fueling your body correctly will give you more energy and focus overall. I see so many busy moms neglecting themselves by eating poorly, or not sleeping enough. Even if these things seem to save time in the short term, the long term negative effects on your health are just not worth it.
If you’re planning your meals, you can incorporate more healthy food instead of just reaching for whatever is closest. Taking care of yourself and it is often something that is overlooked by busy moms. Eating well doesn’t have to to be complicated or expensive. Incorporating the following simple tips will go a long way.
Easy tips for eating well
- Drink more water. If you’re drinking sodas, processed juice, or sweetened tea, try to cut back and drink more water. I always keep a bottle of water next to me.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Keep healthy, easy to access snacks with you to avoid stopping at a drive through. I like things like apples, bananas, baby carrots and Kind Bars.
- Meal plan. I know I already mentioned this, but meal planning really helps when you’re trying to clean up your diet.
- Drink smoothies. If there are healthy ingredients that you don’t like, put them in a smoothie! I’m not a fan of avocado or kale, but I love putting them in a green smoothie. Bonus: smoothes can help incorporate more fruits and veggies into kids diets too!
- Prep your food ahead of time. If you have a slower day, try to prep some food for the next few days. I use Easy Lunch Boxes to pack my kids school lunches, but I also use them to meal prep for myself. Prepping food ahead if a timesaver and can help so much when you’re trying to eat healthier.
Have the kids help
I wrote a blog post about why chores are important for kids. Having kids help with household chores can be a great way for busy moms to get more done. It’s true that teaching kids to do chores can take time, but it can be a time saver once they learn how to do it, and it’s good for them!
Following a chore schedule and having the kids do the same can make life less overwhelming. I find that doing laundry almost daily works best for my schedule. For others, a once a week laundry day might work better. I think that the best chore schedule is the one that works best for your family. It may take a little trial and error to figure out what that is. There are plenty of charts on Pinterest that show age appropriate kids chores, but ultimately you have to find what works for you, your kids, and their skills and interests.
Get enough sleep
It may sound counterproductive to get more done by sleeping. Sleep deprivation never does anyone any favors. Getting an adequate amount of sleep every night will give you more energy to get everything done during the day. It sounds strange, but I use my Fitbit Alta to track my sleep. I originally bought the Fitbit to track my steps, and while I still use it for this, I primarily use to for sleep tracking. I have found that it is fairly accurate, and I can tell a big difference when I get enough sleep versus when I don’t. The amount of sleep needed does vary from person to person. Trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly is ideal for most.
If you are overwhelmed and able to do it, hire some help. This can mean different things to different people. If you’re a busy photographer, maybe you could hire a babysitter while you edit clients photos. It can be frustrating to work all the time and then come home and clean instead of spending time with your family. If this is you, consider hiring a house cleaner to come over once a week. If you’re running a successful blog, maybe you could hire a Virtual Assistant to handle social media or Pinterest. There are many different services available, and if you have the funds they can help take off some stress.
I understand that not everyone is able to hire help, and this isn’t something that I am currently doing either. If you have family or friends who offer help, don’t be afraid to accept it. Sometimes it can feel like we’re failing by accepting help, but that isn’t true at all. Having a support system is very important, and don’t be afraid to lean on yours if you need it.
Free daily checklist
If you’d like a copy of my free daily checklist, sign up for my weekly emails and you will receive it straight to your inbox. I hate spam just as much as you do, but I love to keep in touch and share info that you’ll only see in my emails.
If you’re a busy mom who is drowning in all of the “to-dos” I hope this list helps you. If you’re a busy mom who is killing it and getting stuff done, I’d love to hear your best tips in the comments below! The truth is, I think we all go back and forth, but we need to stick together and help each other through the hard times. The most important thing to remember is that no one can truly do it all. In the world of social media, it’s easy to see the “best of” in someone else’s life. Unfortunately Instagram and Facebook don’t show the whole story. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I reply to all of my emails!