I have a confession. I am obsessed with doing everything efficiently and fast.
Prior to becoming a mom, I thought I had a pretty good handle on things. I felt like I was making good use of my time and getting lots done in the 24 hours I had. Often I would get asked how I have time to get so many things done. I always answer, I just find the time to do it.
After becoming a mom, I felt like I had less than 24 hours each day (which I knew was untrue) to get everything done and to keep a small human being living. I felt like I had a million of things to do in a short amount of time and things were only being partially done due to interruptions and starting tasks after my daughter went to bed. Obviously, this wasn’t sustainable and I needed to make some adjustments. Here are some adjustments I made:
With less time and more demands of my time, the last thing I could imagine spending more time on was cleaning and tidying the house. Five years ago, I followed the Konmari method, from Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. After reading her book, I literally purged everything in my life that didn’t have a purpose or I didn’t love. After purging my house, I used the same method with the other areas of my life. I learned to live minimally to save time, energy, and money on things that didn’t matter to me. With time saved, I used it on other aspects of my life.
After decluttering every (possible) aspect of my life, I turned to keeping things organized. Everything has a place in the house for storage and (technically) every family member knew where things goes. Staying organized helped me with my anxiety. I found that visual clutter causes me a lot of anxiety. As such, every night my spouse and I tidy and reset the house for the next day. Even if the same items will be used the next day, they would still be put back where they are stored. Staying organized also helped teach my daughter to put things away and gives her a sense of comfort knowing exactly where everything is.
WRITE THINGS DOWN
Pregnancy brain was one thing but mom brain has it beat. There are so many things to remember in one day, one week, one year, forever. My suggestion is to write everything down so you don’t have to remember things and worry you might forget them. Either write things down on your phone or personal planner or have a command center at home where important dates are written on a family calendar. his allows you to literally “download” everything on your mind and keep other members of your family in the loop.
HAVE A ROUTINE
It might sound super boring but having a routine is not just for children. It helps adults and the entire family. Everyone knows what the drill is every day. No questions asked about what to do or what the next thing that needs to be done. We have routines for my daughter’s eating, bathing, and sleeping schedule. Household chores are also put on a routine or schedule. Chores are only done out of order if we have an event that interferes with the schedule. (Note: we do not allow our schedule to dictate life.) My catch up time or self-care time is always after my daughter goes to bed. There is something to be said about having the same old, same old day/week.
When you have a spare moment and present tasks are as complete as they can be, use that time to plan ahead with meals, special events, and life events. You don’t have to have any firm plans but just thinking and planning will get you closer to completing a task. I took planning a little far when I started planning my daughter’s elementary school, kindergarten, and dayhome when she was just one years old. It took me two years to befriend a dayhome provider before my daughter could get into her dayhome. I wanted this to happen so badly because the provider was walking distance from my home, can provide before and after school care for my daughter, and her daughter was entering the school at the same time. My daughter would be entering kindergarten with a friend. My end goal was to make sure my daughter would go to school happily and so, I had to plan ahead.
DO TASKS AT YOUR OPTIMAL HOURS
If you think about how much time a task will actually take, this will allow you to get more done. For example, if I wake up earlier than usual on a weekend and everyone is still asleep for another 15 minutes, I will start cleaning the bathroom and dusting the house. While I could just sleep in, I find I am more energized having checked something off my to-do list! I have also started ironing clothes at 11:30pm when I had too much caffeine. The tasks in both of these examples aren’t done during “normal hours” but if I am up for the task, there is no problem with just getting them done at MY optimal hours.
While it may sound like I am always on the go and I don’t rest very much, this is untrue. I do find time for rest and I do cut myself some slack when I don’t get everything I want done. My goal is to use my time efficiently, and not to its max. We should all be maximizing our time to do the things we really want. If you want more efficiency tips and free resources/templates, be sure to check out my website at: www.wishahmon.com.
Monica Hui is a working mom in Calgary, Alberta, constantly looking for ways to do things faster and faster so that she can slow down to have pretend picnics with her daughter. Her website, www.wishahmon.com, shares her own personal experiences, mom tips, and DIY projects in hopes of helping other moms create an easier, prettier, and efficient mom life. You can follow her on facebook or Instagram, @wishahmon.