The Busy, On-the-Go Momma’s 3-Step Guide to Maintaining Work-Life Sanity: STEP 3

Note: The following is the final part of a 3 part series aimed to help better manage a busy parent’s days. The full series includes: Step 1: Prioritize, followed by Step 2: Find Time. If you haven’t read Step 1, please start here.

Work-Life-Sanity-Step-3

I’ve always been a list maker. I used to make lists merely for the satisfaction of being able to cross something off of it. However, since becoming a multitasking momma of three, my lists are way more then just symbolic of my accomplishments. Most times …

I need my lists.

Things get lost if they aren’t on “the list”. Things fall off my plate, roll under the table and are eaten by my dog – never to be thought of again (until someone kindly reminds me of my forgotten task) if a duty inadvertently doesn’t make “the list”.

I’ll admit, sometimes just looking at “the list” can make me panic. And it is during these weeks – the weeks when I am overcome with anxiety and when my to-do lists seems a mile long – where (I’m not going to lie) Step 2: Finding Time in my 3 step guide feels like a joke.

This is about the point when I need to take a step backwards and remember Step 1: Prioritize and only then move forward with Step 3.

Step 3: Locate Solutions within Limits

When a to-do list looks too long, the most important part of this 3 step process is NOT to revert back to the days of sulking and despair and oh-woe-is-me self pity. Well, OK. Maybe take a few hours minutes to sulk – sometimes you need that… BUT, remember that you need to find a solution, and that solutions don’t always need to solve a problem.

That may sound crazy. How do you find a solution without solving the problem? Sometimes, when met with a work-life crisis, a solution is simply to deal with a problem.

  • Look back at Step 1. What are your priorities?
  • Tackle Step 2. Find as much time as possible (which occasionally means tapping into your Flexible/Me time).
  • But remember Step 3 and understand and respect your limits.

Time, although able to be found, cannot be captured and changed. There are only 24 hours in the day to work with (for a good reason).

The best part of this 3-step system is that you’ve already determined your time availability. You know what you are capable of, where your time should be spent, and also that you have priorities.

Don’t. Forget. Your priorities.

Dealing with a Scheduling Overload

This is what I suggest trying to do when a “scheduling emergency” takes place.

1. Utilize “reserve time” and communicate with others.

When you need to access time that you’ve previously earmarked to family or other things – make sure your spouse and family members know this. This may seem obvious, but sometimes in hindsight of course I’ve found that I try to keep my stresses all to myself. When you don’t tell loved ones what you’re going through, there is no possible way for them to understand AND help. Keep everyone in the loop and most times they will bend over backwards to support you. Which leads me to my 2nd tip…

2. Find support.

Find babysitters. Find family. Talk to friends. Locating and finding support is NOT a misuse of time. Support for yourself is vital. The first thing I have a habit of deleting when overwhelmed is “me time”, when in reality, I think this move (which I admittedly make all too often) is counter-productive. You can only effectively survive without feeding your own soul for so long.

In response to my own bad habit of excluding “me time” when overwhelmed with work, I recently decided to begin new group (within the confines of my Mothers’ Center group – a local and national support group for mothers). I worked with 2 other busy mommas to form a group we are calling Executive Mommas. This new group will meet once a month and allow working parents to network and learn from each other, while also getting support through their joys and frustrations of working and mothering – effectively multitasking work with support and me time.

3. Give myself a pass.

When all else fails, allowing yourself a “pass” is the only healthy solution (in my opinion). Save this pass, use it wisely, but use it. Use it and lose the guilt. Because guilt will not help you move forward.

Source: someecards.com via Kate on Pinterest

 

When the Craziness Subsides

When all said and done, and your scheduling emergency begins to fade, analyze what led to it, try to determine how you can avoid it from reoccurring, but don’t dwell on it. Instead, look ahead. You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it.

  • What did you learn from all the craziness.
  • Does something need to be dropped?

It’s important to recognize if scheduling overloads start to happen too frequently. Sometimes you may have to revisit your priorities and where your time has been allocated. If overload seems to be happening all-too-much then something’s got to go.

So there you have it. My 3-step guide to maintaining better work-life sanity.

Step 1: Prioritize
Step 2: Find Time
Step 3: Locate Solutions within Limits

It’s worked for me. Could it work for you?

Leave a Comment: Are there any other solutions that you have found when dealing with a scheduling overload?

~

Next week I’ll be back to the “normally scheduled On-the-Go Momma programming.” Thanks so much for joining me in this series. DON’T FORGET: the best way to keep up with each new post is to have it delivered directly to your email inbox by clicking here!

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8 Responses to The Busy, On-the-Go Momma’s 3-Step Guide to Maintaining Work-Life Sanity: STEP 3

  1. Alexandra says:

    Are you this organized??

    Oh, please tell me no because I will burst into tears.

    I know organization is key but how do you fit fun in???

    Great tips, if I followed them, I know it would be for the better.

    xo

    • Kate F. says:

      Hehe :) I am (mostly) this organized. Because when I’m not – that is when you will see me burst into tears. The funny thing is Alexandra, I fit in SO MUCH MORE FUN when I am able to schedule out my work day. Before I did this, my work day (since I work from home) would fall way too far into my personal and family time. Now I am able to separate the two a lot better.

  2. Justin says:

    I find this to be the hardest, but it reaps the best rewards. Let it go! (-and- Don’t feel guilty about it!) I often think that people will think less of me, but most of the time, especially when it involves family, they “get it.”

    Sometimes I have to tough it out though – so I also always evaluate the longevity of a task if it’s repeated. Is this temporary? Is it inevitable? Will I be better or worse off if I stick with it? Who will be affected (now and later)?

    I am constantly re-adjusting my priorities – I used to think this was weird, but now, I’m accepting it and realizing it’s just an essential part of my life. (It also makes my life more interesting – I enjoy being in a constant state of motion).
    Justin recently posted..Two steps forward, one step back…

    • Kate F. says:

      It most definitely is the hardest part to remember AND do – but it’s also the most important in terms of managing a better work-life schedule.

      One of the reasons why this system works so well for me Justin is because I have to re-look at my priorities, my time restraints and my commitments on a weekly basis – thus helping me to re-adjust and re-evaluate on an ongoing basis. This IS key. (And you’re right! It does make life more interesting – LOL. I think I too enjoy the constant state of motion!)

  3. Missy says:

    Letting things go… so hard. But I’m improving in that area, and I’m getting better and not adding extra stuff to my plate. I no longer have volunteer-itis. THANK GOODNESS. Now when I say yes, I know I’ll be able to devote the time and actually enjoy the activity. Most of the time, that is. ;-)
    Missy recently posted..Puppy Update and More

    • Kate F. says:

      Sometimes I still “catch” volunteer-itis now and again… but most of the time when I do volunteer, I still think to look ahead at my schedule and also try to take on only things which I feel more passionate about.

      P.S. I hope you are gaining back your sleep after the new family member addition ;)

  4. Alison says:

    I actually find that when I’m 100% focused on work and writing, and I get it done, I’m more able to be fully present with my kids, and enjoy my me time guilt-free. Being organized is key. I write down everything I need to do, and I get them done. However, life isn’t perfect, I’m far from that too, so when some things don’t get checked ‘done’, I don’t beat myself up. I just move on.
    Alison recently posted..Saying No

    • Kate F. says:

      Yep! You have to cut yourself a break sometimes when the checklist can’t get completed. Also, I completely relate with your 1st sentence! In my case, working more has helped me to be a more present mother. Now that I have a professional outlet that I enjoy, I feel like I also enjoy parenting so much more. I realize this is not the case for everyone. But, personal goals and professional challenges help to fulfill me in a way that I never realized I needed so much before having kids.

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