4.9.18

Busy Season? Tips to Manage a Tight Schedule

In this day and age, who isn’t running around trying to do all the things? Whether you’re a busy mom, a girl boss or both, life just doesn’t seem to slow down. You’ve got bills to pay, friends to see, meals to cook, exercise classes to attend, books to read, trips to plan … Oh, and did you remember to call your mom? Ugh. I feel panicked thinking about it.

Let me preface by saying that I’m no expert in having it all together, and I most certainly do not have it all figured out. Living through a home renovation with two full-time working parents who travel … Oi. It’s been a challenge, and I haven’t always juggled things gracefully.

However, I have uncovered some “life-hack” gems along the way. Here, I’ll share the top tips that’ve helped me mitigate the madness and survive as a full-time professional, mom and wife.

UTILIZE SERVICES THAT MAKE LIFE SIMPLER 

For our family, using a grocery delivery service has saved us a ton of time and stress. Nowadays, there are all kinds of services that can help make your life more convenient, so I highly recommend reflecting on areas where you can afford convenience. While this often comes with a price tag, it was worth it for us to budget in the expense. In addition to grocery delivery services, there are meal prep services, meal delivery services, contractor services, etc. The list goes on and on.

We use Instacart to deliver groceries and other items to the house on a fairly regular basis (You can use the code NSMITH457155 for $10 off your first order 😉) . Our work schedules are constantly changing. During high travel weeks, we prefer to spend quality time together as a family instead of running errands. This makes the cost worth it for us. We’ve also booked Task Rabbit contractors to come and clean our house. This is great when we’re expecting guests at the end of a busy week, or even when we just want to dedicate a full day of the weekend to exploring and not to completing chores. Either way, the convenience is worth every dollar!

SAY ‘YES’ TO HELP 

This may come as common sense, but I know many people who will pass when others offer to help simply because they don’t want to be an inconvenience. I used to do this, and my advice now is: Don’t. Most people offer help simply because they want to give it. If you need help, say, “yes!” If someone asks how they can help, give them an honest answer. It can be something as simple as, “I’d like a prayer for ____”.  It also helps to keep a “to-do” list that’s separated into “tasks that must be done” and “tasks that would be nice to get done.” If someone asks how they can help, refer to your “would be nice” list, and see if there’s anything you can pass off.

SAY ‘NO’ MORE OFTEN

Don’t overcommit. This is something I’ve also been guilty of in my own life. It’s so easy to be a “yes man,” especially when things seem so exciting and fun. However, if you find yourself constantly hoping your plans will fall through so you have extra time, do yourself a favor and scale back.

PRIORITIZE SLEEP

How do we do all these things when we only have 24 hours? I used to stay up late working on my blog, only to wake up early to make it to a workout class. After having a baby, though, I realized the preciousness of sleep. The quality of sleep you get each night impacts your emotions, health, work ethic — just to name a few. Prioritizing sleep can be difficult, but during this season of life, I’ve forced myself to become more productive during the day in order to maximize sleep. Each night I give myself a cut-off time for my to-do list, and my rule of thumb is this: I wind down when the kiddo winds down. I essentially give myself a bedtime, and I’ve found this busy season to be much more manageable because I am rested, giving myself a better chance to operate at peak productivity.

MAKE TIME FOR THE THINGS THAT FUEL YOUR SOUL 

You can’t pour from an empty cup. You MUST take time for you! This looks different for everyone and may also look different for you at different times in your life. You will be a better friend, parent, spouse and employee if you make time for the things that energize and fuel your soul. My husband and I, during the busiest of times, have gone so far as to schedule “me time” on our family calendar so the other person knows they are on kid duty. Is that extreme? Yes. But that’s how we’ve made it a priority and knew it wouldn’t be penciled over.

WHEN THINGS GET REAL, CALL YOUR CHEERLEADERS 

Managing it all is hard for everyone, and no one has it mastered. The unexpected creeps in, it derails your routine, and suddenly you’re frazzled and overwhelmed. It happens to all of us. In those times, I’ve found it so beneficial to be honest with those feelings because those feelings are okay. Not only are they okay, but they are normal. So get out of Instagram where everyone seems to have it all together and phone a friend. Phone your cheerleaders who will build you back up and instill you with the confidence you need to pull it back together. Sometimes the cheerleader I need isn’t even cheering; often they are just listening. Sometimes they’re even just agreeing with you in saying, “That does suck!” Whatever it is you need, reach out to your tribe and lean on them. It takes a village.

Nikki is a wife, a mama, a blogger and a working professional. Her trick to balancing life is to always incorporate things that bring her joy. For Nikki, joy isn’t only in the big adventures, but also in those little every day moments.

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