Mamas are notorious for putting a ton of things on their plate. From child related things, to home related things, to work related things, it’s a constant juggle to get everything done.
We have so many projects and to dos that we can get super overwhelmed. We don’t know what to do next so we don’t do anything or we get stressed which makes us exhausted which makes us snap at the people we love.
To Do List
One way to reduce the overwhelm is to create a to do list where you brain dump everything you need to do, prioritize those items, and then use this list to create a daily to do list. You can read more about that process here.
You can also divide your to do list into 3 different areas of your life: work, self, and family. Then each day you can pick a top three things to get done in each of these areas. This will give you 9 things to complete each day.
For example, yesterday my top 3 work related tasks were to catch up on my claims from when I was on maternity leave, start going through all my emails, and update 2 spreadsheets for a meeting next week. My 3 family things were to make sure my daughter was correctly added to my health insurance, help Tyler work on his letters, and schedule bill payments for the week. For myself, I ordered protein powder, wrote this post, and had some relaxation time with my hubs.
By making 3 mini to do lists for each area of your life, you can make sure that progress is made in all of these areas every day.
Another excellent way to reduce the overwhelm is to delegate. If you can't do everything on your to do list then put things on someone else's to do list. For example, if I couldn't help Tyler with his letters, I could ask my husband to work with him while I did something else.
When getting family members to help around the house so you don't have to do it all, how you say it is everything. I mean, I'm sure you've given your spouse a honey do list at some point or another and been met with complaints and procrastination and many items left undone.
Demanding that tasks get done and placing guilt for items that have not been completed yet doesn't make people want to jump up and get on it. In general our spouses want to help us but they don't want to be commanded.
Instead of saying "I've asked you a million times, can you take the garbage out already!", you can say "I am about to make dinner. It would be really helpful if you could take the garbage out so I have somewhere to put the scraps."
Or if your spouse has been putting off a project, tell them how it makes you feel. Say "Not having the bathroom painted makes me feel like I'm trying to get clean in a dirty room. It would make me feel so much better if we can figure out a time t get that done."
Another option is to let your spouse know you are feeling stressed and you have this, this, and this to do. They may offer to take something off your plate.
Instead of demanding that things get done, let them know how it makes you feel when they are not done. It may not bother them or it may not weigh on them in the same way it affects you. Let them know how you feel, not just what you want. Knowing the why can motivate your spouse, and your kids for that matter, to help out.
If you have staff at your job to which you can delegate tasks, do it. If not, ask your boss to prioritize your work so you don't have to feel pressured to complete tasks that aren't as important. If you are your own boss and you don't have people to delegate to, get some.
In order to delegate tasks, it's important to really take a look at what you are doing all day. Take a day or 2 where you write down all the work related tasks you are doing each day and how long they are taking.
Then look at the tasks that have to be done by you. For example if you are a crafter, you are the one who creates the designs for your crafts. You may also be the one looking for outlets to sell your craft such as flea markets, craft shows, Etsy, or retailers.
On the other hand there may be some tasks that are super tedious and simple but need to get done. These can be things like posting to your social media, creating your listings on Etsy, or shipping out items.
Your job as the entrepreneur is to do the things only you can do. You may be concerned about the cost the cost of delegating these tasks. Instead think about the cost of you doing these tasks yourself.
By you doing these simpler tasks that anyone can do, that takes your time away from the things only you can do. If you are busy shipping out orders, then you don't have time to create new items to add to your shop which would in turn increase your income. If doing task A allows you to increase your income by more than it costs to delegate task B, then delegate task B.
In other words, if it costs you $15 an hour to have someone update listings and ship orders and that 1 hour frees you up to create a new product that earns you $100, then the cost of you doing that work is way more than the $15 you pay for someone else to do it.
The other type of task that you can delegate are tasks that require expertise. So let's say you are still a crafter and you have a website where you display and sell your crafts. Updating your website may take you a ton of time since that is not your skill set.
Instead hire someone to maintain your website so you can free up your time for the tasks that you are better at. This doesn't have to be a full-time employee, you can get a virtual assistant or an outside consultant that you can pay hourly when you need them.
Give It Up
If something never seems to make it to your top priority and it is not worth delegating, then does it really need to get done? Consider taking things off your to dos that just aren't that important right now. Maybe it's something you can look back into in the future, but it is too much at the moment.
Remember not everything is important all the time. Acknowledge what is going on in your life at the moment and decide what is important and what isn't.
For me, I have a newborn, I just started back at work, and my husband was in a major car accident. As long as the house is relatively neat, scrubbing down the bathroom isn't a priority. Also, some of the decor projects I had planned have been pushed back. That's life. So those items are off my list until further notice.
It's important to do what is best for you. Your family needs a mom that's not going crazy. It makes everyone happier, including you.
In order to help with the overwhelm that comes with the start of the school year, I am hosting a giveaway of my time management book on my Facebook page. This book is packed with tips to help moms manage work, family, and self. Go check it out!!