1. Get up early. The bottom line is, if I get up early enough to have some time to organize and have a little Mom-time before my kids get up, the day goes great. When I don't, it doesn't. I get up early. Even when I have went to bed late. I treat Motherhood as a profession and I want to show up on time and NOT in my pajamas.
2. Daily Priority List. Each morning. A list with NO MORE than three things on it. Those are the things I know I have to get done. Serious...no more than three things.
3. Motherboard. In our house, its the kitchen calendar. Everything is on there so I can see the month at a glance. If there is a day or two together where there is white space, I guard it with my life. White space is good.
4. Fuel. I eat really healthy because I want/need lots of energy. I don't eat, I fuel my body. When put in those terms I don't want to put junk in my body. This is not a discount body and I don't want to put discount food in it. I need to keep up with the world's busiest four year old every day and her 4 siblings. When I changed my diet for the better, it was like getting an extra hour or two built into each day. How's that for diet modification motivation?
5. Sleep. I know my body. I will never be one of those get 5 hours of sleep a night and everything will still be awesome type of people. I need 7-8. This is an unmovable, fixed number in the grand scheme of how do I want to spend my 24 hour day. I can tell you; I'm spending close to 8 of it sleeping. I envy those of you who do fine on 5 or 6. My husband is that way. When I go more than two days at under 7 hours, it starts looking like an episode of walking dead around here...
6. No little trips. I go grocery shopping once each week. Little trips suck away gas, money, time and energy. Little trips are bad for the environment and bad for productivity. I meal plan and do one trip. Then I don't have to think about what is for dinner or grocery shopping for another 6-7 days. Which is good, because with two teenage boys the grocery bill is depressing enough once a week...
7. Delegate. Even small children can have chores and will (hang with me here) enjoy them. Kids like to feel they are a part of something bigger than themselves; we all do. Everyone likes to feel needed. I give big verbal praise and let my children know how valuable (and it IS ) their contribution is when we do our "morning work" time. I don't give them a lot cause they are all still young, but what they do do (put their own laundry away, take their own dirty clothes to the laundry room, pick up their owntoys~~see the pattern) is time I don't have to spend doing it for them.
8. Find hidden time. Hidden time is any time that you can multitask. My main ones are (yours may be different):
- I utilize the time when I am waiting for my kids to get done with their activities. Before grad school, I visited with the other Moms when I was stuck in waiting rooms, you know, waiting. Now I use that 1-2 hours to study, meal plan, make my daily priority lists and write blog posts.
- I return calls, (when I return calls), while I am folding clothes or some other rote activity. I do not return them in the car while driving. I used to, but I realized my attention needed to my on the road and there are always amazing little people in the backseat I can spend that time talking to, visiting with, and learning more about what's in their mind and on their hearts.
- I am never without a book or my Nook so that I can either study myself or help the kids study or read to them if we are caught with unexpected wait time.
10. Organize. Everything. Not in a total OCD kind of way, but really, how many days in a row do you want to give time to activities like finding your keys, finding your kids soccer shoes, looking for...whatever? If you aren't an organized person, make small steps toward this. Hang a key holder by the door, clean out one drawer or shelf a day. When you know what you have and where it is, you save time and money.
Time is the Currency of your life and no one gets younger as they go through life. I am the author of the life I live and I want that book to be full of memories, goals achieved, trips taken, and more so I guard my time, my life's currency, as the valuable commodity it is.