How many times do you get to the end of the day and realise that you’ve still got loads of things to do but you’ve just run out of time? Would you like to be more organised and use the time that you DO have in your day more productively, so you can do everything you need to do and still find a bit of time for the things you WANT to do? Guess what! It’s all possible but it just requires a little planning and organisation from you. To give you a hand, check out this post on 24 life-changing habits to include in your daily routine which will help you get organised, increase your productivity and enjoy your mum-life!
Why we never get everything done
We all wish for more than 24 hours in a day, that everything will get done, that we won’t forget anything or run ourselves ragged in the process. No matter whether you’re a stay-at-home mum or have a high-flying career, there’s always too much to do and not enough time to do it in. We end up having to make sacrifices somewhere along the way, and too often, we end up prioritising everyone else except ourselves. Or we simply forget some of things we should be doing or remember them (but are too tired to do them).
How making small changes to our daily routine can help productivity
You can make things SO much easier and simpler for yourself by making a few small changes to your daily routine that can have a BIG impact on what you get done and how you feel in the process.
Creating a solid daily routine can help you plan, prepare and be organised. More time for doing fun things knowing that your home and your life are under control (as much as possible!).
These changes needn’t be mind-blowing. They won’t take up much time, needn’t be yet another thing for you to remember or to add to your To Do list. They just involve a little planning, perseverance and motivation from you to make sure they happen – on a daily basis.
Implement habits to help you focus on the important things
If you don’t have any habits in place as such and feel that you just ‘wing it’ every day, fighting metaphorical fires rather than preventing them, then check out the list below. There are 24 habits which, if you include them in your daily routine, can have a big impact on how productive and organised you are, and they can enable you to focus on the important things (like spending time with your kids, partner and have still have some time for yourself).
The list contains 24 habits so you can implement 2 per month. This is enough to keep you motivated, you’ll begin to see and feel a difference quickly and it’s long enough to allow each habit to be really embedded in your day before you introduce a new one. Of course, if you want to change the pace, then go ahead!
24 habits to include in your daily routine
- Make your bed – Your bedroom will look neater and tidier and it’s part of the process of getting ready physically and mentally for your day.
- Get up early – get a head start on the day by waking up before your kids so you can create a bit of time for you before the craziness begins. Do the things that you can’t do with the kids around (like read a chapter of your book and actually remember what you’ve read!) or which are easier without the kids (doing an exercise work out). Check out my other post on how and why to set up a morning routine.
- Do something for yourself – Whatever sort of day you’ve had, try to factor in some time for yourself to do something that’s just for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hot bath, a YouTube video on karate or doing some gardening – whatever floats your boat. It’ll help you realign your purpose, prioritise yourself in a day spent doing stuff for others and just help you remember that you are more than ‘just a Mum’. You can have interests, dreams and goals too.
- Put a laundry load on – Keep on top of washing your family’s dirty laundry by doing a bit every day. You’ll always have clean clothes, never run out of clean school shirts and you won’t have to play catch up on Sunday with seven loads of laundry to get through.
- Fold/put away laundry before you go to bed – Once you’ve washed the clothes, don’t let them lie in a jumbled pile or in a laundry basket for days on end. You’ve washed them so you can use them, so fold and put them away before bed every night!
- Don’t check emails first thing in the morning – Especially if they’re work emails! If you read them first thing in the morning you’re not likely to have time to deal with them, especially if they’re important or need a prompt response. You’re more likely to get stressed out if you know what’s lurking in your inbox but still have to wait to deal with it. Instead, wait until you start work, or allocate a time in your day when you can open and take action on relevant emails.
- Prepare school bags the night before – Don’t wait until the frantic busy morning to pack homework, signed school letters and PE kits. Get it all ready the night before when you’ve got time to concentrate on what you’re doing and less likely to forget things (or put the wrong homework in the wrong bag like I do!). The bags will be ready to grab and go when it comes to the morning. Check out my post on setting up an evening routine for some more ideas on what you could do the night before.
- Lay out clothes the night before – remove one decision (out of a million others) that you’ll have to make tomorrow by choosing what you’re going to wear the night before. Lay out your kids uniform too (if they’re not old enough to find it themselves) so they can get themselves dressed whilst you get on with doing something else.
- Self care – I know it’s really easy to push ourselves to the bottom of the pile, especially if we’re running short of time. But, try to make sure you spend a bit of time (even 5 minutes) on making yourself look and feel good. Wash your hair, have a shower, do your nails, wear clothes that you make feel and look great. It’s not so much a vanity thing, but more that when you feel good about yourself then you’re more confident, positive and ready for anything. What you do to look good is different for everyone but do whatever you need to do to make yourself FEEL good – that’s what I care about most for you (not whether you’ve got a pedicure recently!). Check out my other post on 5 essential daily self care practices for busy mums for some ideas.
- Get some fresh air – Blow the cobwebs away, get a change of scene from the four walls of your home (or office), let the natural daylight work its magic and enjoy being outside in nature!
- Do some exercise – Your body and mind will both benefit from some exercise. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hardcore weights or a gentle stroll, just get moving. Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy, you can maintain over the longer term and not just give up after a week. And, if you’ve got the kids with you all the time, pick an activity that’s possible with little ones around!
- Catch up on the news – Keep up-to-date on what’s happening in the news. It’s easy to get insulated from the outside world when you spend all day with little kids and it’s a good conversation opener for when you’re chatting to other grown-ups but can’t think of anything else to talk about apart from potty-training and how to cope with sleepless nights!
- Write a To Do list for tomorrow – Make a note of everything you’ve got to do, either using the Notes on your phone or good old pen and paper. Keep your mind clear and focused by getting your thoughts down on a list rather than stored in your head. You’re less likely to forget things or prioritise the wrong things.
- Write a morning gratitude list – We all get down or overwhelmed by life but writing down 5 things you’re really grateful for first thing in the morning will help you have a better day by keeping everything in perspective and realising how lucky you are. Check out this post on how to write a morning gratitude list.
- Journal/brain dump – When things get on top of you, you’re facing a difficult situation or decision or just need to mentally re-group, try writing in your diary or jotting your thoughts down on paper. They don’t need to be a beautiful piece of prose or in your neatest handwriting. Just write down your thoughts as they come to you and as you write you’ll find the mental fog will clear, you can identify the main issues or problems and clearly work out an action plan to move forward. Writing a daily diary, even if it’s just a few bullet points, can help you get clarity and focus your thoughts.
- Check the post and deal with paperwork – Don’t let the paper clutter build up. Open the post that’s arrived that day, deal with anything that needs actioning and then file it or throw it as appropriate.
- Check your emails and deal with them – Choose a time or specific times of day when you check your emails, action the ones that require you to do something, and deal with junk or spam. Don’t let your inbox build up with irrelevant or unnecessary junk and don’t lose the important emails in the midst of the unimportant.
- Chat and spend time with your partner – It’s easy to forget how important this is when you’re busy with kids, work, school and general life. It doesn’t matter whether it’s mundane, day-to-day stuff or life-changing conversations, spending quality time together reinforces your relationship and it’s good for the kids to see that strong relationships need work and nurturing. For more ideas, check out my post on how to maintain your relationship when you have loads of kids.
- Spend some quality time with your kids – Try to find a bit of time to be with your kids, not whilst you’re multi-tasking doing something else like cooking dinner. Read together, play a board game, watch their favourite TV show snuggled on the sofa. Whatever it is, dedicate that time to them, even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes. A short time one-to-one with them is better than an hour spent distractedly doing something else at the same time.
- Prep the lunches for tomorrow – Don’t make yourself rushed in the morning by prepping the packed lunches for the day. Do it the evening before as much as you can and keep them in the fridge overnight to stay fresh.
- Go to bed saying I love you and never end on an argument – Tomorrow is another day. Give yourself a peaceful night’s sleep by not ending the day on a bad note, harbouring a grudge, or wasting the night being angry with your other half or irritable with the kids. Kiss and make up and start fresh tomorrow.
- Check your calendar for tomorrow – Avoid any last-minute surprises, forgotten birthdays or missed appointments. Know what’s coming up for you tomorrow so you plan and be prepared!
- Spend 20 minutes doing housework – Don’t spend your weekend doing a 12-hour deep cleaning session. You could be doing far more exciting things! Keep on top of the chores by doing a little bit often and you’ll keep the house clean and tidy with minimal effort and time.
- Do dishes after every meal – Don’t leave the dirty dishes to pile up in the evening. If you do, you’ll need to reach for clean plates, cutlery and so on every time you eat or drink and this will mean you need more sets than if you were to just re-use the same items (once they’ve been washed obviously!). Also, I’m sure there are much better ways of spending your evening rather than catching up on piles of dirty crockery!
Now try including these habits in YOUR daily routine
These are some of the more important habits which you could try incorporating into your daily routine. They’re designed to be quick and easy (some will only take you a few seconds) and they won’t add to your already long To Do list. They may be things that you do already but there may be some others which you hadn’t thought about yet. Give them a try and see what works for you.
You could always switch them out with some others if the ones I’ve listed aren’t relevant to you at the moment. For example, your kids might not be at the school stage yet, so you don’t need to worry about packed lunches! Maybe swap that habit for a more general look at your meal plan for tomorrow instead? Do what feels right to you as this list is about making it simpler and easier on you to get organised and simplify how you manage your time!