After a wonderfully loosey goosey holiday season, I’m looking forward to having a routine around here again. And one step further, I’m adding more structure to my days than I had before. This feels attainable to me this year more than in years past for several reasons.
First, the girls’ ages. Hailey is 7 and Kaitlyn is 4 1/2. While they are at home with me, they are old enough that I can (and should) expect autonomous play. Reason number two this feels like the right time for this shift is the restructuring of how I blog. Focusing in on more thorough topics (quality over quantity), I am no longer hostage to waking up early and running to my computer to crank out a post. I’m excited that my Instagram stories and weekly newsletter (sign up here!) offer insight into our day to day life, while blog posts can be my creative space to explore more in depth topics.
I also want to be more transparent with you this year. I think I’ve done you and myself a disservice by not sharing more openly about the time and effort I put into blogging. I guess I was nervous that if I called it a job, it would make it less fun or it might turn you off. However, blogging is my job. It’s a flexible one that I am passionate about and thoroughly enjoy, but it does require consistent attention. So with that, I want to be open about what it looks like to try and balance working from home, homeschooling, living a healthy lifestyle, and maintaining a strong family bond as a wife, mom, daughter, and sister. Spoiler alert: it’s an ongoing challenge!
Just as every year David and I do the State of the Family date night where we comb through our finances, discuss the previous year’s successes and shortcomings, then address the coming years’ goals and plans, I like to do a similar self-analysis. This conversation happens mostly in my own head, but I also bounce a lot of this off David because he is my best friend and sounding board. I tell him my goals for the coming year and together we refine them, then delineate a plan to put them into action.
If you don’t do something similar, I’d encourage you to. The new year is the perfect time to pause, reflect on the last year, lay out goals, and develop a plan. It doesn’t mean you’ll stick to it perfectly all year long, but having a direction and a starting point is empowering.
It may be that January energy pumping through my blood, or the Tim Ferris/Tony Robbins podcast I recently listened to, but now more than ever I believe we are in control of our lives more than we give credit to. We have the power to make real changes if we put forth targeted effort. If you don’t like your income- change it. If you don’t like your relationship- change it. If you don’t like how you spend your days- for goodness sake, change it. So I’m taking my own advice on this one and changing how I set up my day to ensure I can get to all the things I want and need to accomplish each week to get me to my goals.
Long story short (though, I guess I’m a little late for that), I’m excited to take control of my days in 2019. I’m sure things will evolve as the months go by, but to start the year, this is how I am structuring my days.
- I’m starting each day at 5:00 AM. The girls usually sleep until 7:30 AM, but even if they don’t, it is a house rule that they are not allowed to come downstairs until 7:00 AM, so the hours between 5:00-7:00 AM will be my personal hours. I’m using them to exercise, journal (a new habit I’m trying this year!), plan my days, sip tea, meal plan, work on personal projects, get dressed, etc.
- Once the girls wake up, I am switching to mom mode. I like breakfast to be a time of bonding where we sit down, talk about the dreams we had last night and our plans for the day.
- After breakfast we start school. We do school until lunch time, which is usually around 12:15 PM.
- After we clean up lunch, I’m punching in for work from 1:00-3:00 PM. I use this time to write new blog posts, respond to emails, plan future projects, make phone calls, etc. During this time the girls can play, read, sleep (though they never do)- whatever they want to do honestly, but I want them to understand that mom is working and I expect them to treat my work time with the same respect they treat dad’s work (if not in the hospitals, David works from home). This will be a learning curve for all of us, but I am ready with a list of chores to dole out if needed. 😉
- After 3:00 PM, I put my mom and wife hat back on. That means sports and activities, making dinner, doing laundry, quality time with David, etc.
I am really looking forward to this new structure. I’ve always worn the fact that I’m a multi-tasking master with pride, but I think in some ways it has been a weakness. I believe the secret to success in this new structure will depend on these things:
- Being protective over the time segments and not bringing a task from one area into the next designated time slot.
- Being fully present in the segment I am in. My girls will have my full focus during our homeschooling hours and a lot of my attention after 3:00 PM, too, so I won’t allow myself to feel guilty for not being present with them during my work hours.
- Turning off notifications on my phone. I’m the person that can’t stand seeing notification bubbles on my phone. I must rush immediately to clear them, but I’m learning how much of a time suck that is. I usually pride myself on how quickly I respond to emails/DMs, but I need to check myself and make sure I’m not letting the notifications dictate my time.
- Batch work. I’m new to batching, but I’m going to give it a try. Here is a great post on the benefits of batch working. I also want to apply this to homeschool (planning lessons out 1-2 weeks at a time) and meal prep (I’m drinking celery juice every morning now and it makes a lot more sense to wash a ton of celery at once rather than prep it each morning).
I’m jazzed up about 2019 and the good things to come. More than ever I believe in the power of a positive mindset and a plan and hope you are feeling a similar energy, too!
What is in store for you this year?
What goals and intentions do you have?
What steps are you putting in place to reach them?