Bouncing here and there and everywhere…
Anyone remember the Gummi Bears? That would be where that lovely intro came from. I feel it’s very fitting for parenting, though. Wouldn’t you agree?
No Rest for the Weary
No one prepares you for the truly busy days once your children start school and begin activities. Birthday parties, sleepovers (if you allow those), baseball, swimming lessons, choir concerts, dance recitals, art showcases, carnivals, fundraisers, sports/activity pictures, volunteering (my husband likes to call some of these opportunities as being voluntold), different school schedules for different ages, early releases, after-school science classes, book fairs, camps, doctors appointments, and the list seriously goes on and on.
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I always thought the older (and thus more independent), the more time I’d have for my dreams and goals. As a single mom, I was able to earn an associate’s degree with some late nights and determination. For the most part, I pursue regardless of what my life looks like. However, nothing short of time travel could have fully set me up for what it would take to succeed while parenting.
Once I removed the rose-colored glasses and faced reality, I am in awe of the women in my life who have paved the road before me. The strength and capabilities while extremely exhausted truly amaze me. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of men out there who fill the role well, but I speak from experience and, fellas, I sure don’t have experience of the male perspective. Sorry, not sorry. <3
What To Do, What To Do
As a virtual assistant and mommy, I need to keep track of personal schedules, client schedules, client tasks, business tasks, and any changes that come up in each given day. Some days I knock it out of the park, and other days I completely strike out. (Do you like that baseball analogy?) What helps me the most, I’ve said before, is my planner — when I use it. I go through weeks where I simply don’t find the time to use it fully, but I also notice those are the weeks I have the most obstacles.
Something about writing out everything I need and want to do is almost cathartic and relieves some of my stress surrounding the chaos of how to manage time.
Besides my beloved planner, which helps me throughout all of the rest of these tips, here are my “secrets” on how to manage time when working from home.
Numero uno. I have some incredible friends and family that I can call and ask for help when I need it. We have crossover times for practices and the like that would be VERY hectic if it weren’t for others helping me shuttle the kids to and fro. This does NOT go one way. If you are asked to help, and have the capability, why not? You show that you are willing to step up and give them a hand so when you need a leg up, they will likely be more inclined to assist if they have a clear space in their schedule, too. Golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. It honestly takes a village, and that goes both ways.
It’s important to note that you need to actually reach out and ASK for help, though. Without verbalizing that, you can be sure most will not intuitively know that you need support. It’s a great piece of the puzzle for helping you manage time.
Needs VS Wants
Another aspect my planner helps me sort out are my needs and my wants. I have certain revolving tasks I have pretty much down pat for checking off. For all the other bits and pieces to fit in, I have to organize and be a smidgen more diligent about. If I have something due by Wednesday, then it goes on my Monday list as a want to get done. That way, if I have the capacity to get it accomplished, YAY I’m ahead a little. If something comes up and I need to move my schedule around, guess what? I can bump it to Tuesday and know that all will be well and no one will be disappointed. My head tells me to knock it out Monday, so I don’t tend to procrastinate unless it’s necessary to push it back; but the space is there to do so.
Clarity on what is a must do versus what work (yes, even dishes) can wait is vital. I would either never sleep or not accomplish much if I did housework and client work every single day. I tend to do most of my cleaning on weekends with spot treatments here and there during the week. You’ll get a basic rhythm going, and although it will be disrupted from time to time, you’ll settle back into it again. I find comfort in that fact when the busy overtakes everything.
Grant yourself some grace. I have memory lapses now and again. Recently, I forgot about my son having a piece in the art gala… well, let me clarify. His piece in the art gala didn’t slip my mind, but the date of the art gala did. We had an illness, I onboarded a new client, getting a list rolling of what needed to happen for a rebrand and new website, etc. My brain got a little overloaded and out the date of the art gala went. Guess what? I didn’t write it in my planner. My mistake. But, it won’t be the last art gala and it wasn’t a soul crushing blow to my son because we’ve been to many other important nights. Also, sometimes, you just can’t be everywhere. You must learn to say, “sorry, can’t make that.” and not feel super guilty about it. Priorities sit alongside grace. Choose your priorities and let grace be on your side to feel good about them.
Take these tips on how to manage time, use what you like, add in whatever may be missing for you, and get your sh*t done. 😉 What works best for me may not work best for you. A big part of my day is spent playing and talking to my girls while I’m working on one project or another. Heck, both of my daughters have a keyboard they can type on so they are “working” alongside their mama. Or we set them up with painting or playing in “centers” of sorts where I have a kitchen area, an area with blocks, an area with books, scratch paper, dolls, cars, etc. They can freely move from one to the other and we either clean up as we go or they help pick up before we have lunch, etc. You do what you can when you can, and keep doing what you do.
If you think you may have an interest in becoming a virtual assistant, I’d love to chat and see if we’re a good fit to work together. I help women elevate their lives by building a business that incorporates their children so they can experience true fulfillment in all of their roles. Click here to book a discovery call with me.
I’d love to hear what makes your life easier when accomplishing your to-dos. Share below how you manage time.
And grab your freebie on how to Get Lost in Your Child and really engage with them even on busy days. (I’m off to spend the day with the girls before brother gets out for the long weekend.)
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