I always used to think, ‘How do these ladies do this?’ Sticking to one stay at home mom schedule, like, daily??
I also knew research said the difference between real achievers and daydreamers is more about their daily routine than their intelligence, but the sad truth for me has always been, following a daily schedule always felt strict, boring and tight.
Writing down a perfect routine was only the easy part of my journey to organizing. The real challenge hit (hard) once I struggled to keep at it! The struggle continued as my baby grew into a toddler and then into a preschooler. I wanted discipline in life at home with a kid.
All the routine haphazard got me SOOO tired!
‘The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change, the signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency’
From The Book Great by Choice
Staying An Organized Stay At Home Mom
Being a chronically disorganized person, I understand first hand how difficult it can be to stick to one course of action every day, but the following (mostly mindset) changes have turned my life around just as they have helped others I learned these from.
I hope they work for you too.
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1. Know Thy Enemy
We often leave ourselves unguarded to let our enemy push us off the schedule. Here’s how: You know those instant second thoughts that follow when we remember we have work to do?! They are the devil’s whisper!
When you think of your next chore, if you pause long enough instead of getting up right away, you WILL get a second thought, and it will try to justify a delay.
I call such second thoughts the devil’s whisper because they’re subtle, seemingly in your favor, and soooo in-line with what your heart may desire or prefer right now… that you quickly fall into this trap!!
Just stop your
self thoughts right there and get yourself up to the task.
Another thing that helps me in conjunction with going-getting is when I remind myself whatever time I have right now is the only real time I can trust. Future is the most fickle, disappointing, get-you-into-trouble, humiliating thing to rely on. Let me show you why:
The entire universe has betrayed me more often than I’d like to think. Whenever I delay something, later on, the work becomes more difficult as the rest of the day unfolds. (Yes, a stitch in time saves nine!)
For example, if I did not vacuum now when I should as I know someone’s visiting in the evening, either my vacuum won’t work later or the electricity will go out or something (ANYTHING!!!… but really, SOMETHING) will go wrong, as if all the powers out there want me to fail.
I used to complain, why God, why can’t I work when I am ready. Why do things always go wrong when I don’t act right away?
Late Dr.Covey explained it best. He said there are consequences tied to our decisions. And each decision we make and the consequence tied to it is like two ends of a stick. You can only choose to pick an end of a stick or not. The other side of the stick always follows!
So next time remember: those deceitful second thoughts, delays, procrastination etc will never result in peace and an accomplished day. You only get what you choose.
Practice Time: For the next big chore that’s waiting for you, literally, drag yourself there and do it now.
2. Stop Banging Your Head Against Parkinson’s Law
This law says a task WILL stretch to the amount of time YOU give it for completion.
So, set a time boundary to complete your chore and don’t let one task expand through your entire day when it could have been managed in half the time! Pick the earliest time possible because you want to be relieved now and spend the remaining time without carrying the unnecessary weight of worrying ‘I have to do X in a while! + this face —> 😖‘.
For example, I REALLY hate doing the dishes especially because I don’t have a dishwasher. So I tell myself: out of today’s 24 hours, I’ll only give the dishes 30 minutes. Once the time’s up I’ll leeeeave even if the sink is not clean.
Now here’s the catch, who wants to leave the last couple of spoons unwashed when you’ve already convinced yourself to stand there this long? This doesn’t imply you’ll always be late, you can take it as a challenge to finish work before your time is up. I often finish the chore just in time.
I have learned this time blocking strategy from the most focused mom blogger I know and now I rush to complete my work during my time block.
Practice Time: Pick up one big chore you’ve been pending. Assign a time limit to it, start and race through it till you are done.
3. Stay Fueled
We feed our bodies food so we are energetic enough to work. But what about feeding our mind and heart, which actually convince us to continue showing up for that work?
I mean inspiration for your mind and heart. If inspiration made you create a schedule, then keep feeding that inspiration. Make sure you listen to/read one inspiring person that least once daily, taking care of when your mind is most receptive to inspiration (early mornings for me!).
I read books or listen to podcasts from people who I know will fill me with excitement as I stick to my busy mom + blogger schedule.
Please know that inspiration should not be the only thing you should depend on for building routines. Because it is unstable by nature and will always remain the same.
That said, it IS a fun thing to be inspired and using some will help for sure.
Practice Time: Watch The Pursuit Of Happyness.
4. Use God’s Method
Set rewards and punishments for sticking to your routine just like how God makes us do (or stop doing) things.
But don’t choose what you only like as a reward for a day spent as planned. Choose something you’re addicted to! And let that be your reward (or the lack of it as your punishment).
Practice Time: Choose a reward or punishment for sticking to your plan each day e.g. coffee, your book, Netflix, a call to your grandma.
5. Train Your Feelings
Feelings can prevent you from achieving your goals. But they can also help you, depending on what you allow to pass through your heart.
What stopped me most from sticking to my schedule was that I didn’t feel like doing the same thing every day.
Here’s what I do now. I direct my focus to the feeling I would like to feel after doing my work for the day. I want to feel accomplished, at peace and relaxed. So I’d think about those as my target feelings and focus on them only.
I feel guilty if I don’t pray on time during my routine. So now when I think of the prayer time, I remind my self of the guilty feeling I don’t want. And also the peace I want to feel after I’m actually done praying!
Practice Time: If you struggle to start with a task at hand, shift the feelings from discomforting ones you’re feeling right now to how you ultimately want to feel once the work is finished. Also, think about the bad feeling you don’t want to feel if you didn’t complete your task. Do this in writing.
6. Leave Nothing On The Table
We all do our best to maintain a healthy stay at home mom schedule. But having to take care of an entire house and ever hungry bellies andddd a blog etc etc becomes too much for me. After all, we’re only a human with limited strength for accomplishing so many things each day.
Well, guess what’s limitless?
And it always comes when we seek it, as my friend Amber Fox says, in ways we understand or not. Ever since I read her book, which I think every SAHM mom must, I have gotten back to my praying-for-everything habit which I had lost in the middle of so many other things I had to do.
Let me share a few beautiful quotes from the book with you:
- Daily, I need to seek Him and ask Him to change my heart, to keep me focused on Him and the priorities He has for me. When left to my own ways, I would always choose to do what I most want to do. My priorities would not be the way they are if it were not for God’s grace in my life.
- ‘Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can’ – Dwight L. Moody
- …It’s all about surrender…
So pray for everything you’re struggling with.
Practice Time: Don’t wait for the perfect time, bow your head now and pray to God to help you build consistency with your stay at home mom schedule.
7. Physically Track It
Research says things that get written down have better chances of getting done.
As you write your schedule, write your progress too. It takes less than a minute to track your progress. Here are a few options you can use:
- physical planner like this pretty one I use.
- free habit/goal tracking worksheets from Pinterest
- free habit tracking software
- A vertical habit chain drawn (with a pencil!) on your bedroom wall where you as well as others can see it. The vertical chain that builds upward shows how tall and solid my integrity has grown.
Practice Time: Start visually tracking how consistently you stick to your schedule from today.
And If You Fall Back…
Our lives are already busy. Sticking to a schedule is a big challenge but once we know what we want done, we shouldn’t stand in our own way. Things will go wrong but accept that it is human. Forgive yourself and forget it. Do all these things in three seconds max. Pick up from where you left and just continue forward.
The Key To Staying Sane
You could find the best stay at home mom schedule from Pinterest, make the perfect one yourself, ask your best sister/friend to help you map out one, but the only thing you can’t ask others is how to keep at it.
That only you can do. There’s no one out there to blame or seek help from. The first habit of highly effective people is being proactive or response-able. (from 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People).
Respond to your situation instead of enduring it!
More than outside tweaks and remedies, you need a shift in your thoughts and feelings. Overpower things that prevent you from getting up. I like to tell myself that Satan doesn’t physically pull us up to do things like we hold our kids’ hands and make them do stuff, he only convinces us (remember second thoughts?) and we decide to make our bodies act on his suggestions or not. We need to know if what we’re thinking is in our real favor. The biggest question to determine if a feeling or thought is from him is this, ask yourself will it benefit me later? The devil makes us bargain now for future. Keep your eyes on how you want to feel or be later instead of now.
Also, feed your spirit some motivation daily just like you would feed your hungry belly; reward (or punish?!) yourself for every day you make it through, and the best one, physically track your daily (sticking-to-a-schedule) progress. And if you fall back, quickly get back on track.
Whip up a nice stay at home mom schedule for yourself today for the next week. Then close your eyes and take 5 minutes to imagine: if you stuck to it, how would you feel at the end of the week? If you like what you saw in your mind, then get going now, you got work to do.
And yes, you got this!
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