Thank you to Always Infinity for sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
I’ve always been the kind of person who has to have a big goal to work towards. Whether it was finishing my senior thesis in college or getting my first job. Getting my first promotion or starting a blog. Getting married, trying to get pregnant or buying a house, I’ve always had something big on the horizon. Something to hyper focus on.
Right now, my family feels complete and I love my job, so for the first time in probably 10 years, I don’t have a big goal to hit or change to make. It’s a strange feeling to be honest.
But despite that fact, it feels like I’m working harder than ever, spinning my wheels from the minute I wake up until my head hits the pillow, a feeling that I’m sure every working mom out there can understand.
To be any type of working mom, whether it’s entrepreneurial or in a more traditional role, you need a few tricks up your sleeve to get it all done. Over the last year, I’ve tried a lot of tactics, and here are a few of the life hacks that have helped me the most.
1. Accept that you can’t do it all perfectly. I’m a perfectionist. Always have been. Always will be. When I got pregnant, my mom was constantly telling me that once the baby came, perfection would no longer be realistic. I laughed it off and secretly said to myself, “Yeah right!” Oh, man was I wrong. My house is now often a mess, there are typos in my blog posts, and sometimes I even forget to wash my hair. Who does that? New moms. That’s who.
While these things would have completely set me off a year ago, I’ve accepted this as my new reality, and that has been quite freeing! I find that Amalia is always on the back of my mind, even when I’m at work, so my focus isn’t what it used to be. And when I’m with her, the work building up is always looking over my shoulder.
When I try to be as present as possible at work and with her, and accept the fact that having a perfectly clean home, a perfectly written blog, and a perfectly made up face are not in the cards right now, I’m 100x happier. Accepting imperfection, clearly, has been a biggie for me.
2. Time block like your life depends on it. I want to dedicate an entire post to time blocking soon (yes?) because I’ve been doing it for five weeks now and it’s increased my productivity and reduced my anxiety around work-related projects in a major way.
If you haven’t heard of it, time blocking is essentially planning your day (or a section of your day) down to the minute or hour. It sounds insane but for my time “at work”, it can really be a life saver.
For me, it might look something like the schedule below. It changes day to day but this is fairly typical. It works for more traditional jobs if you have some control over your schedule as well as anyone who works from home or for themselves.
9am-9:30am: Answer emails
9:30am-11:30am: Write the next day’s blog post
11:30am-12:30pm: Plan outfits and anything else for photo shoot
1pm-1:30pm: Answer emails
1:30pm-2pm: Answer DMs
2pm-2:30pm: Schedule social media posts for the next day
2:30-3:30pm: Photo shoot
3:30-4pm: Break to walk the dog
4-4:30pm: Answer emails
4:30pm: Daycare pick up
You get the idea. When I have a schedule like that written out in front of me, and I prefer to do it hand-written, I tend to stick to the task scheduled for that time. If I don’t, I bop back and forth between emails and writing and then end up straightening the house which is my biggest fail in productivity when working from home.
3. Be prepared for the worst. Hope for the best. I have never in my life been more prepared for what life will throw at me. My purse is literally always stocked with everything from snacks to band aids to hand sanitizer to baby pouches to a secret diaper for emergency situations. I’m also fully stocked on tampons and pads because I always seem to forget when my period is coming these days. Why both? I have a heavy period (Yes, I just went there!) and always double up to be safe.
I have been testing out a new pad for the last few months called Always Infinity. They sent me a box last month and asked me to try them out and write about how it felt. I told them I would but that my feedback would be completely honest, toting the good, bad, and the ugly. They said ok which is always a good sign for me when working with a brand.
My feedback is that the Always Infinity pads really are the opposite of old school pads that feel like a diaper. AKA my worst nightmare. They’re made from a FlexFoam core that gives a zero-feel experience which I think any woman can appreciate. They also are Always’ most absorbent thin pad absorbing 10X its weight™.
It also has little holes all over it called Microdots that quickly draw fluid away from your body with the first layer, and into the denser bottom layer.
Check out my Instagram today to see how you can win a $250 gift card (to spend on wherever you want on whatever you want) and a year’s supply of Always Infinity pads for yourself!
4. Ask for help when you need it. Whether that means delegating tasks at work, which has always been a challenge for me in every job I’ve ever had, or figuring out how to get more child care, sometimes you just need an extra set of hands on the task at hand.
5. Automate what you can. I used to pay all of my bills manually each month. It would be a mad rush to get it all done and inevitably I’d forget one or mess something up way too often. I started automating almost all of our bills and it saves time and the headache of dealing with one more thing on my plate.
Once I realized how helpful that was, I tried to automate anything that I could! In my mind, meal planning is a form of automation and we usually order in on Thursdays which takes the load off one night and I always know it’s coming down the pipe.
6. Review your week on Sunday nights. I recently wrote about this, but on Sunday nights Anel and I go over our weeks and figure out how we can split up tasks like groceries and laundry and literally schedule them into our calendars.
When we’re done, I take it one step further on my own and review my own calendar for the next week to make sure I’m not double booked. I confirm everything coming up whether it’s lunch with a friend or a phone call for work on Sunday or Monday, and reschedule anything if I need to. A friend of mine recently taught me this trick and it’s saved a lot of last minute changes and avoided last minute cancellations.
7. Take breaks. My favorite quote about motherhood is “you can’t fill from an empty cup” because it’s so true. If you’re going going going and don’t take a minute for yourself to perhaps enjoy your lunch outside one day or exercise a few times a week, the burn out is real.
I used to feel guilty about these breaks or any sort of self-care, but I’ve learned that when I prioritize them, I’m more productive at work and a better mom to Amalia. It’s hard to find the time, so scheduling them into the calendar is key.
What are your life hacks to get it all done? Whether you’re a mom or not, I always love learning how other people do it all.
Photos by Julia Dags.