I like to think of myself as a pretty disciplined person. If I have a goal, I come up with a plan (shocking, I know), execute it with military precision, and move onto the next thing. Then I had a baby. Then I went back to work after he was only 8 months old (for those of you reading this who don’t live in Canada, we typically get 1 year of maternity leave and going back early is weird to some people). Now that I’m back to work full time, and am juggling the realities of being a working Mom, I’ve had to pick up a few new habits in order to keep my house intact and maintain my sanity.
Wake up ridiculously early
I’m starting with this one because it was the hardest thing for me to adopt, and also requires going to bed early (which I’ve always had a hard time doing). On days when I work out in the morning (which is about 3x during the week), I’m up at 5am so I can be at the gym by 5:30am. If I don’t have a workout scheduled, I’ll use this time to work on side projects, write the outline for my next blog post, or work on marketing. Either way, getting up early adds a couple critical and productive hours to your day, that are more effective than at the end of the day when you’re exhausted.
Exercise in the morning
I’ve actually always been a fan of morning workouts, but now it’s LITERALLY the only time I have available to get them in. Before I got married I hired a personal trainer (yes, I was one of those brides), but the most valuable thing I took away from our sessions was that if you plan your workouts effectively, you shouldn’t need to work out longer than 40 or 50 minutes. I get most of my workouts now from Pinterest, and usually get them done between 40-50 minutes which gives me enough time to get home, shower, get ready for work and even leave a few minutes for pre-work baby snuggles.
Get on the smoothie train
Do I really need to explain the benefits of smoothies? They’re delicious, can pack an entire day’s worth of nutrients, and can be consumed on the go. I also get most of my smoothie recipes from Pinterest.
Start your day tackling your high priority, and complex TAsks
I am the most alert and focused version of myself in the morning. It’s for that reason that I deal with the tasks that give me the most anxiety first thing in the morning. Dealing with these things puts my mind at ease, and lets me get on with my day in a calm and organized fashion.
Schedule time for your side hustle
I get a lot of questions about how I make time for all the things that I do, but I always bring it back to my project management mantra- If you plan accordingly, you can achieve anything. My side hustle work either happens in the mornings (as I mentioned above), in the evenings or on the weekends during nap time. I don’t take on more than I know I can handle, and when I want to take on a project but know I don’t have the time, I bring in additional resources (i.e. people).
Make time for your people
I have a lot of stakeholders that I’m accountable to- my husband, son, friends, family members, colleagues, clients, and everyone in between. I’m in a constant state of “managing expectations” when it comes to my time commitments, but I also schedule in quality time with my people as much as I can. I also like to include two of my other favourite activities during this time which include: drinking wine, and ignoring my phone.
Plan the work, work the plan
I know I said this before, but I can’t stress enough how important planning is. There’s nothing more overwhelming than when you have a million things to do, and no idea when/how/what sequence to get them done. Since I’m always on the go, I put everything in my calendar, and when necessary, send meeting invites to my husband so he knows when he has to be home with our son. I also schedule our date nights so they’re pre-booked in our calendars and we can plan for childcare.
Make time for you
However you get some “me” time in, is up to you, but try to do it. It can include meditating, thinking of a few things you’re grateful for, or rocking out on your morning commute. As a professional people pleaser, it’s hard to stop worrying about everyone else and take care of myself, but when I do, everyone benefits.
Keep Sunday’s sacred
No, this isn’t going to be a religious rant. I’ve come to realize that I cannot effectively start my week without doing an enormous amount of prep on Sundays. It’s become a ritual now for me to refuse going out or meeting people on Sundays so that I can spend the necessary time getting ready for the week. My Sunday activities include:
- Drinking a pot of coffee with my husband and talking about our weekend, and the upcoming week
- Going grocery shopping (I know I just said I don’t leave the house, but I don’t really count this)
- Planning my outfits for the week (I just started doing this and I swear, it has been a GAME CHANGER- Ikea’s valet stand is very affordable and helps organize all your accessories)
- Cleaning the house
- Preparing meals (including baby food which includes roasting fresh fruit and veggies for baby purees)
That’s it! I hope you found these tips helpful, and look forward to your comments!