Creating a Cleaning Routine with Your Kids

Creating a Cleaning Routine with Your Kids

Creating Cleaning Routines with Your Kids

 

Looking to have a cleaning routine that your kids help with? It can be hard to find the best ways to have your kids help around the house without getting in the way. Know that the work we do to equip and teach our kids now will help them become better adults (and take away some of our stress!)

 

Still to this day, I can remember the sounds of Motown Classics playing on the radio on Saturday mornings. Waking up to this sound was the dreaded signal that our mornings would be filled with dusting, vacuuming, and cleaning. My brother and I had our routines and we knew them well.

 

Growing up, I thought the routines and processes my mother had in place were crazy. Today, I absolutely love them and even have modified them to create my own system.  It’s helped me create a 3 part cleaning system that not only gets your kids helping you around the house, but teaches them skills that will last a lifetime.

 

Having a house with 8 children can get a little bit messy! The amount of dishes, dirty socks, and sticky tables is enough to make anyone want to pull their hair out. My anxiety levels rise to the highest heights when my house is a wreck.  It doesn’t mean that our house is spotless. That would be a gross exaggeration. Our house is definitely lived in! I just admitted that the task of keeping the house clean could not be left to me. We believe in getting everyone involved, because we all live there. My general rule of thumb is, If the child is old enough to make the mess, they are old enough to be a part of a system to learn to clean.

 

Over the years, I have tried many systems and chore charts to help me teach my kids about chores. The majority of them focused on ways to remind my kids to do their chores. Stickers, charts, calendars, apps, there are tons of ways to REMIND your kids. However, I realized I wanted something more than just reminding my children when to do their chore. I wanted a system that gave them essential life skills and taught them HOW to do their chore.

 

But maybe you’ve had these thoughts in your head…

 

It is so much easier to clean without my kids!

 

I don’t want my kids exposed to cleaning products.

 

They aren’t going to do it right.

 

These are common reasons many moms don’t get their kids involved with the cleaning process. I get it. Honestly, I do. The thought of leaving my kids unattended to clean an area or the entire house was enough to make the hairs on my neck stand up. However, I promise, the reward comes in the work you put in upfront.

 

 This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Teach Your Kids to Do Chores Around the House

 

 

Show Them! Support Them! Send Them on Their Way! Is not designed for parents who want a quick fix to getting chores done or the house cleaned. There is work involved and it takes time for kids to really learn how to clean, but once they have mastered it, Holy Moly! You will find your cleaning process to be much simpler.

 

 

Setting Up Your Kids to Do Chores

 

 

Before you can even begin to show your kids how to clean, the first step is to separate your house or chores into zones. In our house, we have four children who are responsible for four zones. As a homeschool family, our house hot spots are the kitchen, dining room (which is our school room), the living room, and our bathrooms. These four spaces are the most used and can be perfectly straight to looking like a tornado hit them in under 5 minutes.

 

After selecting your zones, come up with a list of tasks that are needed to clean each zone that can be completed in under 15 minutes. The tasks on this list should be thought out and when they are completed and followed properly, the assigned zone is considered “clean” according to whatever standard you have in your home. It is easy to just say, “Ok, I know what needs to be done.”  or “I will just tell my kids what needs to be done.”

 

It may seem a little cumbersome, but WRITE THE STEPS DOWN! It will save you a ton of time later and it will serve as a checklist for your kiddos when completing the task independently. Do you want to take it a step further? Snap a photo of your zone when it is clean.

 

Related Post: The Best Digital Cleaning Systems for Moms

 

The next step is to gather all of the supplies that are needed to clean each zone. In my house, I find it easier to purchase multiple bottles of the same product so that each zone has its own supplies. This eliminates excuses such as, “I couldn’t do the mirrors because (insert sibling name) had the glass cleaner.” Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean you have to have multiple vacuum cleaners. It just means, having a caddy with the necessary wipes, products, etc. in one bin already in the zone will set your kiddos up for success. In addition to the cleaning caddy for each zone, print and laminate the cleaning checklist you already created and place it with your supplies or you can even hang it up in the zone.  Did you take a picture? Put it in your caddy or hang it in your zones.

 

Lastly, determine a cleaning rotation for your house. How often does each zone need to be cleaned? Several times a day? Daily? Weekly? Twice a week? Make the rotation based on what works best for your house. Don’t set yourself up by creating an unrealistic schedule or unrealistic expectations.

 

Feel free add in some fun incentives! Allow kids to earn badges or certificates based on their accomplishments. Cleaning the house may sound like a dreaded thing to your kids. It’s important to remind your kids of the reasons they are being asked to keep the house clean, how much you appreciate them for being a part of the process, and celebrate them for mastering each zone.

Here comes the real work!

Show Your Kids How to Do Chores

 

The first part of the system is to just show your kids how to clean. Make sure you first assign each kid a zone for a designated period. In our house, my kiddos will shadow me for one week while I clean their assigned zone. So in reality, if you have four zones, your kids will be shadowing you as you clean for four weeks. I told you this wasn’t a quick fix!

 

During the cleaning session, give your kiddo the checklist you created. Have them observe you as you perform each step. Allow them to ask questions and ask them questions, such as “Why are we using this product for this area? Or How do we safely use this product? Each of these questions gets them thinking of the “why” behind the cleaning and not just trying to rush through. Remind your kiddo that the zone should take no more than 15 minutes. (If you went over 15 minutes, it should only be because you were explaining and dialoguing).

Support Your Kids As They Learn Chores

 

Once your shadow week is over, it’s time for the kids to start cleaning. Unfortunately, you are still not off the hook. In our house, we believe it is necessary for our kids to master an area. We decided that we would rather have them master the zone than have to constantly go back and clean up after them. We usually stay on this step for about two weeks. If you find that one of your kids has mastered their zone while the other has not, let the other kids switch and continue your rotation. Put the child struggling in their zone back in the rotation once they mastered their zone.

 

If you don’t have time to do it right, you must have time to do it over!

 

I love this phrase because it sets the expectation that trying to rush through their zone is not going to fly. I have been known for calling my kids in from playing because they half-heartedly cleaned their zone in an effort to go outside.

 

It may sound too tough for some, but getting called in from playing or made to turn off their video game a few times is enough to get the job done right.

 

During Support Them! your job is to shadow them while they are cleaning their zone. Make sure they are set up for success by making sure they have their supplies, the checklist, and even the photo of the cleaned zone, if you took one. Now sit back and observe! Do your best to keep your mouth closed and refrain from criticizing while they are cleaning. If you find they missed a step, gently remind them. Your child should not feel stressed out or afraid of failing to clean properly. Use this time to encourage them and use words of affirmation! Sayings such as, “ You are doing a great job!” “Wow! I love how clean you got that!” will go much further than a criticizing them for not doing it right.

 

Challenge your child to effectively clean their zone in 15 minutes or less. If the cleaning process is taking longer than that, it is possible that a second person is needed because the zone is too large or they are taking too long on a specific task.

Send Them on Their Way!

 

You have successfully showed your kids how to clean their assigned zone. If your child has mastered their zone, you will be able to tell during this step. Your child should know when they are expected to clean their zone. This is a great time to use a chore chart, app, or rotation calendar that is visible for everyone. It will help to get rid of the famous unwanted house guest named, “I Don’t Know.”

 

When it is time for zone cleaning, send your child on their way. You have already given them the skills and tools needed to clean their zone based on your standards and expectations. Just make sure you go back and check their work. Every child makes mistakes and some will even try to cut corners. Use this time to encourage your child to clean their zone properly. This is a great time to instill the incentives and rewards that were mentioned.

 

If you have multiple zones and multiple children, you will walk through each of the three steps over and over. It may seem like you are still doing all of the cleaning. Actually, it will feel that way for a while. That is perfectly okay. You are doing more than creating a quick system. You are giving your children skills they will use for a lifetime.

 

Show Them! Support Them! Send Them on Their Way! Is a great way to lay some of life’s foundational skills. The system can work with even your younger kiddos. There are tons of age appropriate charts that give examples of chores that can be completed by various age groups. The system works great and helps our crazy and quirky family of 8!

 

Did these tips help? Make sure you PIN them to come back to later!

 


 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Guest Post by Christel Brewer of Perfectly Blended and Blessed.

 

Christel Brewer is a wife and homeschooling mother of 8 beautiful blessings. She is no stranger to knowing the importance of understanding one’s unique self. Born shortly after the passing of her father, becoming a young mother while in college, and struggling as a single mother of five children, she uses her life experiences as the foundation for her workshops.

 

How to Fit Self Care into Your Day

How to Fit Self Care into Your Day

Self Care Ideas for Moms 

 

What is self care for moms? The term ‘self care’ has most definitely become a buzzword recently. And while it sounds like it’s mostly spa days and taking naps, self care is so much more.

 

Self care means realizing that you need to ‘fill your cup’ or you are no good to those who need you. Self care is taking time for self love and being proud of yourself for doing so. Self care is doing the things that make you feel less stressed, set yourself up for success, and living a more enjoyable life.

 

But the thing is, most moms don’t spend much time with self care.

 

Related Post: 5 Podcasts to Jumpstart Positivity 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

Why Moms Don’t Do Self-Care

 

One of the top reasons that the moms I work with don’t spend time on themselves is that they feel they are too busy to do so.

 

I mean here is the thing… we’re all pretty dang busy. There are NOT enough hours in the day to do everything we need to get done and, life can get pretty crazy.

 

But that doesn’t mean we should neglect ourselves.

 

I make sure to take time daily for tiny forms of self care from reading for 10 minutes, to exercising, to simply decompressing with a cup of tea at the end of the night. You don’t need to take a weekend to go to a quiet retreat (though it would be nice) to do self care and, so often as moms, if we can’t do things ‘perfectly’ we don’t do them at all.

 

We find time to do things that are priorities to us. The things that we think are important are the ones that get done during the day. And self care, like anything else, isn’t about ‘having the time’, it’s about ‘making the time’. You need to prioritize YOU, find pockets, schedule dates with yourself, and make yourself a priority.

 

Related Post: The Benefits of Healthy Living

 

Faithbox - Embrace Your Faith Today!

 

The second reason I hear from moms for not doing  self care, and the one that honestly can trip me up too, is MOM GUILT (which if you struggle with this, head over right now and get the book Mom Set Free.. it's life changing!)

 

Ugh the dreaded mom guilt. I have it a few times a day and it often rears it’s ugly head when I’m about to do something that I want to do. It’s that voice that always just pops up when I am about to take 60 minutes to get work done in the office while my mother in law stays with the kids, the one that tells me to take a quicker shower, and the voice that makes me feel bad that I let my kids watch an episode of Daniel Tiger while I workout.

 

But mamas… we gotta shut that dang voice up.

 

We deserve to take some time during the day to center ourselves and do what makes us happy. So often moms lose themselves in ‘being mom’ and eventually can get grumpy, bitter, and unhappy. It’s so important that we take time for us because, we set the mood for our homes.

 

Related Post: Printable Scripture Cards for Anxiety 

 

How many times have you snapped or been in a bad mood and all of a sudden you can see everyone else’s shoulders lower just a little bit? Have you ever been cranky and can feel everyone else get cranky too? As mom, it’s up to use to set the tone and mood for our homes and, when we feel good, confident, and happy… that radiates to our family.

 

It is also up to us to be the example for our children. If all your children see is a mom who takes on everything, never gets help, takes breaks, and is stressed out then that is the image of ‘mom’ that gets ingrained in their brains. That might be the type of mom they are when they get older or the way that they treat their future wife.

 

Decided to change the tone in your home, decide that you matter enough for some ‘me time’, and decide that it’s time to prioritize you!

 

Now… how the heck do you do that?

 

What is Self Care?

 

Self care comes in many forms and can look differently for every person. Like I mentioned above, it can totally be a massage or a trip to the spa but it can also be as simple as a phone call with a friend that fuels your soul.

 

Here is a list of my favorite ways you can get self care in your day. Think about which ones you love to do and make it a goal to hit at least one of them each day. I find that I am able to fit many of them into my day and they really become great routines that I look forward to!

 

 

 

 

15 Minutes or Less 

  • Read
  • Sit outside
  • Call a friend
  • Color
  • Listen to Music
  • Buy yourself some flowers or something you’ve been wanting
  • Draw
  • Journal
  • Meditate
  • Enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or glass of wine ALONE
  • Paint your nails
  • Put on a face mask
  • Have a dance party
  • Listen to a podcast or audiobook 
  • Read a magazine
  • Indulge in a treat
  • Stretch or do yoga 
  • Read positive affirmations 
  • Cuddle your pets
  • Braindump goals and dreams
  • Look at old photos
  • Aromatherapy
  • Spend time planning out meals or activities
  • Practice gratitude and text someone something you love about them

 

30 minutes or more

  • Get a manicure and pedicure
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Declutter
  • Go to your favorite store alone and walk around
  • Enjoy a long shower
  • Watch a movie
  • Enjoy a lunch date with your spouse or friend
  • Create a vision board
  • Volunteer
  • Grab a massage
  • Take yourself out shopping
  • Take a nap
  • Do a craft you enjoy
  • Exercise 
  • Have a girls night
  • Enjoy a meal alone
  • Bake or cook
  • Go for a long run

 

Why Schedule Self Care?

 

Self care doesn’t need to be complicated but  it does need to be scheduled. If I don’t create routines around my self care, such as daily exercise, reading, or even when I’ll shower, it won’t happen. If I don’t text a friend and actually put a date on the calendar for a coffee date, we won’t see each other for 6 months or longer. It’s just the way life and human behavior is.

 

My suggestion is to make sure you put in your planner ONE THING you can do each day that fuels you. If you check out the above list, you can certainly find something that takes 15 minutes or less just to feel like you again. The most common form of self care in my home is listening to worship music and singing. All day long, we have worship going on our Echo Dot and, if I notice I’m a little snippy, I can typically pinpoint it to the fact that our music is off.

 

Once a month, schedule out a self care habit that is 30 minutes or longer, let your spouse know you’re taking some time to do whatever it is and ENJOY. Let go of the guilt, go to groupon and find something you want to do, and just be YOU again.

 

 It’ll make you a better and more cheerful mom and bring much more fun into your life! And I know what you’re saying … ‘well that’s nice for you, but I can’t take a long bubble bath everyday’.

 

Well neither can I! And on those days, I say some affirmations, or make sure to enjoy my end of day tea and realize that is just the season I am in.

 

But I’ll tell you what… I’ve never regretted treating myself well. I’ve never regretted doing something that I know will make me happier for myself, my family and my kids. And when I do take care of myself, I am reminded how valuable and loved I am.

 

And guess what… so are you!

 

So grab a positive podcast, stare at some clouds, or spend time planning your meals for the next week so that you have less stress in the next few days. They are all important forms of self care and you deserve it!

 

If you need some accountability and a little push, go and grab my 30 day self care challenge! Print the chart out and do the task listed! Each task takes 15 minutes or less and I bet you can find 15 minutes of your day to prioritize you. Make it a goal for yourself to not mindlessly watch a show or scroll facebook for 15 minutes (unless that’s part of your self care !) so that you can get the task done! And make sure to share this on your social media to help other mamas and PIN it for later!

 

5 Tips to Meal Prep in 2 Hours or Less

5 Tips to Meal Prep in 2 Hours or Less

Does Meal Prepping Save Time?

 

Meal prepping can save you time, save you money, and help you eat healthier. Instead of worrying about it taking a lot of time over the weekend, start to view meal prep as a way to give yourself time back during the week.

 

I am a firm believer in meal planning and meal prep.

 

I believe in anything that saves you time, money and helps you stay healthy and meal planning… well it’s the whole trifecta.

 

I know that a lot of people think meal planning and prep, since it can take time upfront, isn’t as simple as it actually is. Though meal planning and prep is an upfront time investment, the hours it saves during the week are crucial. As a busy mom, I know the less time I have to take to do anything and the less decisions I need to make in the moment, the better.

 

 

 

meal-prep-beginners

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but help me fund this page. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

 

 

It’s taken me a few years to actually get a system that works for me, but I finally have came up with easy steps that, when I follow each week, set me up for success.

 

I started to meal prep because I wanted to lose weight. I was following an at home workout program, the 21 day fix and committed to planning and preparing all of my meals in advance so that my temptations were limited. Thanks to the preparation I took during this time, I was able to lose 70 pounds and get a great system for my family’s meals.

 

 

Related Post: 21 day fix for the Breastfeeding Mom 

 

 

 

Top Tips to Create a Meal Prepping System

 

So you’re probably wondering… how the heck do I get started with meal prepping without it taking 8 hours of my Sunday?

 

I stretch out my meal plan and prepping over the weekend so as not to get overwhelmed. Each week I follow the same system and complete the planning and preparation in chunks.

 

 

Fridays: Create Meal Plan

Saturday: Grocery Shopping

Sunday: Cooking and Preparing

 

If you follow these next 5 tips and the system that I’ve created, my hope for you is that you will be able to get your prep done in 2 hours and save yourself HOURS during the week!

 

Related Post: Healthy Once a Month Freezer Meals

 

 

How to Create a Meal Plan

 

My number one tip is to make sure you’ve created a meal plan for yourself. On Friday  nights I sit down with a good episode of TV on Netflix and my recipe binder  to create my meal plan.

 

Related Post: Free Recipe Binder Printable 

 

I start with picking out our dinners for the week based on what we have in the recipe binder and then pick my new recipe for the week. One of my resolutions this year is one new recipe a week to mix it up, so I grab a recipe (most often from the Fixate cookbook) and put it into our weekly plan. Dinners tend to be the hardest ones to pick out and plan because they are different each night. I rotate 1-2 breakfasts and lunches which keeps it simple for me.

 

meal-prep

 

Once A Month Meals

Simple Meal Planning 

 

On Saturdays I  go shopping for anything  I need to make my meals. While I am meal planning I jot down what ingredients I need for the week and then cross check my pantry inventory so I know what I need to get.

 

I recommend not trying to make too many meals each week. Keep things simple because you will need less ingredients and it will save you time and money. When you try to make too many dishes each week you’ll be spending WAY too much time cooking and running around getting specialty ingredients.

 

Find your family’s top meals to mix it up and have a rotation of a few things they like for breakfast and lunch. This way you keep your basics on hand at home and each week, only need to get a few things.

 

This also saves you time because, if you are making similar meals each week, you pretty much know what to get at the store. When I run to BJ’s each week to get my groceries (their produce is a great deal!) I know that I could literally shop blindfolded since I get many of the same ingredients.

 

 

Related Post: Save Money While Meal Planning

 

Have a Family Meal Prep System

 

Since I do the meal prep for the whole family and all of the meals, I know that I need help to make sure it gets done. There is nothing that makes me feel more accomplished than a full fridge of food each Sunday!

 

Ask your kids and spouse for help each week to get it done. Some weeks I get up early to get it done before church (if we have afternoon or evening plans) but most often, it happens after church while everyone is sitting around relaxing. I tell my husband I need 2 hours where he is in charge of the kiddos so I can be in the kitchen.

 

So often as women, we try to do everything and not ask for help and then get frustrated or angry when we don’t get the help we actually didn’t ask for. Because y’all can I tell you….. Our husbands are not mind readers! We have to be explicit about our needs and we can’t get upset if they aren’t met if we weren’t clear. (I know, I know, we just want them to ‘know’ but it doesn’t work that way!)

 

You could get your meal prep done in stages but trust me when I say how much easier it is if you can get that straight 2 hour time chunked for you. So ask for help and put on that apron!

 

 

Related Post: 4 Tips for Meal Planning on a Budget

 

 

Create a Structured Meal Prep System

 

This #1 way I am able to get my meal prep done in 2 hours or less is because I have a system I follow each week. I’ve created a checklist for you if you want to follow a similar system but, you can always adapt it to hit your own needs. This checklist includes the order that I make everything in and then I mix up my meals based on what’s prepped.

 

I prepare foods for breakfast, lunch, snacks and sides and most days, dinner is cooked in the moment. The only time it isn’t is when I am using a freezer meal or the crock pot and make the bag of food in advance.

 

My suggestions to make this streamlined are;

 

  • Start with anything that has to cook in the oven for a longer time (for me I roast sweet and regular potatoes as sides for our meals so I can just reheat them when needed since they take about 1 hour)

 

  • Season up and cook any meat on your stove or in the oven (ours is normally baked chicken breast and ground turkey that we toss in salads or lettuce wraps)

 

  • Work on any sides that have to go on the stove top. You only have 4 burners and I recommend using all four at a time. While you get these things on the stove, you can still be browning up meat and multi tasking. (these could be things like rice, quinoa, and hard boiled eggs. I might also steam up some frozen veggies so they are easy to grab for the kids lunches during the week)

 

  • While all of the hot food is cooking, you can now prep the cold stuff. If you start with the cold stuff, it’ll take twice as long while the hot stuff cooks. Since your stuff is already in the oven and on the stove, you can stir things up while chopping veggies for your salads or other meals.

 

  • Each week I make a simple egg and veggie frittata or egg cup so after the veggies are chopped, I whip it up and toss it in the oven with the potatoes. I tried making omelets in the morning fresh but honestly, I really couldn’t spare the 10 minutes while the littles were running around. Frittatas heat up super easily and taste yummy!

 

  • Take those chopped veggies and prep up some salads so you can grab and go during the week

 

  • Wash and cut up any fruit you need for the week.

 

  • Assemble meals in advance in tupperware or bento boxes. These are my fav bento boxes and you can check out more of the tools that make meal prep easier here.

 

 

Fill your fridge with meal prepping

 

If you’ve just spent this time multi tasking (carefully I hope!) in the kitchen than your counters are probably filled with food, your sink piled high with dishes, and your kitchen smelling great.

 

The last item in getting this done is to prepare and assemble any meals you can in advance. The easiest way that I have found to take care of myself and have meals ready (many of them I eat one handed while nursing the baby) is to have them all packaged out.

 

I always end my meal prep with a full fridge. I take some time to clean out anything old and we typically do a ‘empty the fridge’ Sunday for lunch and dinner so we can start fresh. Organizing your fridge will also help your kids get their food more independently as well.

 

My two year old know exactly which section the fruit is in and, if the fridge is open, knows where to go to grab what she needs. The more you get into the habit of keeping an organized fridge, than the easier your kids decisions will be too when it comes to food.

 

So take the time, organize and assemble, load the dishwasher (probably more than once unfortunately) and take a deep breathe. You just kicked booty and prepared for the week, saving yourself a ton of time in the moment!

 

 

beginner-meal-prep

 

 

Meal planning and preparation is most definitely a skill that gets better with time. When I started I would have loved to be as efficient in the kitchen as I am now. Give yourself some grace and know that you’ll get quicker and develop a system that works for you.

 

My hope for you is that you come up with a system that works for you and your family, one that saves you TIME, wastes less food, and keeps you on your grocery budget. And while you are doing your prep, take some extra time for you, put on a positive podcast and get in a good mood!


I’d love to know how your meal planning goes so make sure to comment below with what you typically meal plan and, drop your email if you want the exact step-by-step checklist I use to meal prep fast!

 

How to Find More Time to Be Productive as a Busy Mom

How to Find More Time to Be Productive as a Busy Mom

How to Find More Time to Get Things Done

 

Since we have a finite number of hours to get things accomplished, it’s important to have systems and routines that help you get things done.

 

 

These don’t always have to be where you spend hours and hour cleaning your home, making elaborate meals or working on your goals.

 

 

Sure, these huge chunks of times are helpful but, as a super busy mom, I’ve found that I get more done in the margins of my day and 15 minute chunks than anything else!

 

 

time-management-moms

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

How to Find More Time in the Day

While I know we all think that we truly are maximizing our time, I want to encourage you to start looking for those minutes where you can sneak in a few time saving productive tasks.

This is not to say that you have to always ‘be on’ and doing things - that’s just a recipe for burn out - but start looking at ways you can get small tasks done instead of putting them off.

To start, I encourage you to do a time inventory for 3-4 days (or a week if you can!). This is where you literally write down every single thing you’re doing and the time it takes you to do it.

Spend 30 minutes folding and putting away laundry? Write it down!

Scrolling Pinterest for a dinner recipe for 10 minutes? Track it!

Commuting to and from work for an hour a day? Mark it on your sheet!

Related Post: Healthy Freezer for a Month

Writing down and doing a detailed time inventory will help you see a few things. First, it’ll show you where the bulk of your time is spent (obviously). After you see this, ask yourself “is this where my top priority lies?” Because if not, you might need to move some things around!

Now I know we can’t always change work or school schedules but if one of your top 3 priorities is your children and you spend more time doing housework then with them, it’s time to make some shifts.

The second thing you’ll learn from a time inventory is where you can delegate, where you are wasting time and places you can sneak in small and mindless tasks.

I bet that you’ll find that there are moments in your day being wasted (like when you’re commuting) that you could fill with phone calls (hands-free of course!), listening to audiobooks or talking intentionally with your kids. You’ll also find time where you truly could sneak in minutes to get your housework done, easy emails written, or short tasks completed.

Related Post: How to Use Time Blocking for a Simple Weekly Schedule 

 

 

Using Small Pockets of Your Day to Get More Done

 

Once you’ve identified where you might be wasting time (either doing things you have to do or just letting time pass you), the next thing to do is to tell your time what to do!

 

 

I like to use what’s called ‘microwave minutes’. Since we’re all standing at the microwave at some point, instead of using those minutes to scroll your social media feed, you could use them to do small tasks.

 

 

Every time I’m at the microwave waiting I do one of a few tasks that I’ve discovered I can squeeze in throughout the day. These types of tasks could be things like putting a few dishes away from the dishwasher, folding some laundry, or answering an email or two.

 

 

We often think that because we can’t do everything in one shot or spend a long time doing a project that we can’t even get some work done at all. If you have 25 thank you cards to write, why not spend time writing one out every time you’re at the microwave? By the end of a few weeks you’ll have them all finished, the tasks will be done and not overwhelming, and you wouldn’t have had to take anytime from your busy schedule to get it done.

 

 

Stop having an all or nothing mentality and get done what you can! We have more time than we realize!

 

Time Management Tips from Experts

 

This year the team at Ultimate Bundles put together an incredible productivity bundle! The resources are INCREDIBLE and perfect for women who want to get more done! It’s full of ebooks, planners and courses (including our course Organize Your Life with Trello!)  

 

If you’re reading this during February, they have also come out with a FREE e-book that will help you discover how to get more done in the margins! Head over here and grab your copy while it lasts!  

 

 

Free Productivity eBook

Here are some snippets and my favorite tips from some of the contributing bloggers!

 

 

“I keep a master list of all the things I need to get done but aren’t a high enough priority to be scheduled into the day. When I find some free time, I tackle one of these. If I can’t get motivated to do one of the tasks, I’ll spend time reading or message a friend.” Corinne from Wondermom Wannabe  

 

 

“I use small pockets of free time to read! I love to read and I have the Kindle app on my phone so I always have a book with me.” Cassandra from Mom Choose Joy  

 

 

“I keep a running list of 10-minute tasks I can accomplish in the margins. (I’m currently Mom to a toddler, so this is key!) I might use a small pocket to post on Instagram, or I might unload the dishwasher. I might pick just one room to vacuum, or I might check the grocery list for the week. Tidying is a great 10-minute task, and if I do it quickly, it’s a mini workout that gives me a burst of energy for my next big thing. I also love listening to podcasts, online courses, and audiobooks while I’m driving, cooking dinner, or doing household chores. You can learn so much while you’re doing manual labor of some sort, and I’ve listened to over a hundred books and at least 20 online courses this way!” - Beth Anne from Brilliant Business Moms  

 

 

“I am often most productive with housework during those small pockets of time. It’s amazing what you can get done in 5-10 minute increments. Other times, I use those moments to text friends to check in with them or do nothing and enjoy peace, stillness, and rest”Julianna from The Simplicity Habit  

 

 

And I love this last one from Laura of I Heart Planners   “I try to spend little pockets of time throughout the day really connecting with my loved ones instead of trying to get one more thing checked off my to do list. I snuggle with my kids, read them a book, or I turn on the music and we have a mini dance party - that one is a bonus because it also gets us some exercise.”  

 

 

If you want more tips on how to get more done in the margins, productivity tips from the experts and tips on taking care of you, head over and grab this free EBook with over 175+ pages of tips! (But hurry! You only have until February 11th!) 

 

 

And if you are really ready to take it to the next level, grab my course (a $47 value) and a TON of others in this year’s productivity bundle!  Click here to check it out! 

 

 

 

Conquer your to do list - reach your goals!

The Ultimate Bedtime Routine for Adults – Free Printable Chart!

The Ultimate Bedtime Routine for Adults – Free Printable Chart!

Evening Routines for Adults

 

 

 

 

Even adults need a bedtime routine! As parents, we know how key it is for our children to have a solid routine to make bedtime easier, so why don’t we do it for ourselves? An evening routine can help you go to bed less stressed and wake up ready to take on the day and be more productive.

 

 

 

By the end of the day, we’re often so tired we just want to relax and ignore everything. I know for me, I have a little mini ritual that I do. As soon as the kids are in bed (around 8:00 pm), I walk across the hallway to my bedroom, lay in my bed, and take 10-15 minutes to scroll social media, decompress from the day, and enjoy having no one touching me (come on mama, you know what I mean).

 

Evening-Routine

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

The hardest part of that ritual is what I do after. Once I’m laying in my bed it’s super easy to get a little lazy, spend closer to 45 minutes on my phone and not get the motivation to do anything. I set a 15 minute timer, and use the principles from the 5 second rule to get myself out of bed and moving downstairs.

 

 

Daily and Evening Routine Examples

 

 

When I get downstairs, I often just sit in the chair and think, “Look at this mess and my to-do list, where should I start”. I used to become paralyzed with all that I had to get done and feel helpless about getting started.

 

It wasn’t until I came up with a simple system that I realized that my evening routine can  be done easily and doesn’t have to be daunting. I truly can get all that I need to get done pre-bedtime in just 20-30 minutes.

 

I firmly believe that a concrete bedtime routine can set your day up for success. There is nothing more frustrating for me than when I wake up and the house wasn’t cleaned up the night before, I Have to rush to get lunches going and I just generally start the day already feeling behind.

 

When you consistently implement a bedtime routine with yourself and your family, you are setting the next day up to be more productive, less stressful and a win for everyone.

 

Related Post: Creating a Nighttime Routine for your Infant

 

There are a lot of different things you could do in the perfect evening routine and I suggest that you come up with a list of (no more) than 5 things that would have the biggest impact. When we try to put too many things on our to-do list, we often quit the routine before it becomes a habit because it’s unmanageable.

 

 

A quality and effective evening routine has a few simple things in it:

  1. A Clean Up
  2. Preparation for the Next Day
  3. Reflection, Gratitude and Unwinding

 

 

Related Post: The Ultimate Cleaning Routine for Moms

 

 

My personal bedtime routine has been the same for a few years now. I do it almost every night with the exception of Saturday nights (which I always regret Sunday morning). I take Saturday ‘off’ from most things; I don’t work unless I feel like it, I don’t follow any of my week day routines, I try to take a nap if I can, and I just generally relax.

 

 

Evening Routine

My bedtime routine is (typically) as follows:

 

10 minutes - Load Dishes, Clean Up Dinner and Table, Make Lunches for Tomorrow, Fill Up Coffee Pot  (while this is happening, I listen to a bible study or a podcast. I find it makes the time go so much faster)

 

Related Post: 5 Podcasts to Jumpstart Your Positivity 

 

10 minutes - Quick Pick Up: I put on a 10 minute timer and do a quick pick up of our kitchen and living space. I find the rooms we spend the most time in and just see what I can get put away in 10 minutes. If it’s not done in 10 minutes, I can either keep going or stop. I find I get a lot more done than I realize I can when it’s with the timer.

 

10 minutes - Reviewing Schedule and Setting Priorities: I go through my list from today on Trello, move anything over to tomorrow, check out what tomorrow looks like and determine my top 3 priorities and tasks that I want to get done before the kids get up (this helps me when that 4:30 am alarm goes off to only snooze a few times and not just ignore it completely)

I then take some time in prayer, thanking God for the day, and focus on the gratitude in the moments. I’d love to say that I have a better gratitude practice but honestly, at the moment, I don’t. I highly encourage you to get a gratitude journal or find a practice that works for you! (making it one of my next month goals too!)

 

Bedtime Routine Chart

 

When you’re first getting started with a new evening or bedtime routine, I suggest using a chart to track your behaviors. While it seems silly, as a former high school teacher, I know that every one of us likes to get that gold star and see our progress.

 

I use a simple printable chart (like the one below) in the beginning to help reinforce the habit that I am trying to create. It takes me almost a month to really establish a good routine of any type and only a few days to get out of the habit.

 

Using a chart can help you stay focused on what you’re hoping to get done, see which things you skip more than you should (like that quick pick up) and applaud yourself for mini wins and success along the way!

 

You can download this blank checklist to use and put on your fridge to keep motivated until it becomes a habit! This chart is also great when you want to involve your spouse or kids because they can see what to do next, you can assign them a task and more can get done in a short amount of time!

 

Make sure you PIN this post for later when you’re ready to start your bedtime and evening routine!

 

Habit Stacking to Make Routines that Stick

Habit Stacking to Make Routines that Stick

Habits for Success: Achieve the Goals that Matter

 

 

When you work to achieve the goals that matter to you, you need to come up with a plan to create habits and routines that will work. Using habit stacking will get you closer to your goals faster.

 

So often, we set out to hit these big goals and fall short. We’re told DREAM BIG and REACH FOR THE STARS but we go about achieving these goals the wrong way.

 

I’ve been there. I’ve created an ‘all or nothing’ mentality way too many times in my life. Maybe you’ve been there too.

 

You’ve created these grandiose statements about how you’re never eating sugar again, decluttering your entire house in one day, or finally sitting down to write that book you’ve always dreamed of (which you of course plan to finish in just one month).

 

Making big goals and not creating a system to attack them is just setting yourself up for failure. If you’ve ever started a diet on Monday and by Wednesday are back to your old habits because you’ve ‘fallen off the wagon’ than you know what I mean.

 

Related Post: 5 Steps for Creating a Virtual Vision Board

 

This post may contain affiliate links which cost you nothing extra to use but may provide me with a commission. To read my full disclosure head on over here.

 

 

 

Habits of Successful People

 

When successful and productive people make habits, they do it strategically. Yes, they dream big and make huge and mighty goals (because playing small never served anyone) but they also come up with a PLAN to get things done.

 

 

To create habits that really will produce results and get you to your goals, you have to make them concrete. It doesn’t do you any good to say that you’ll ‘eat better’ or ‘read more’ or ‘be happier’. Those are just words tossed up in the sky. You need to put a concrete measure on what you really will accomplish.

 

 

Change ‘eat better’ to ‘eat 5 servings of veggies a day’ and ‘read more’ into ‘read 2 books a month’ and ‘be happier’ into ‘have coffee with a friend each week, take a dance lesson every month, or go on a solo vacation’.

 

 

Writing down your goals in such a way that you can measure will set you up for tremendous success. When you know exactly what you’re shooting for you can create a plan to track your results and take steps to achieving it.

 

 

Related Post: Successful Goal Setting in 3 Steps

Habit Stacking and Creating Routines

 

But how do you actually make a plan that you’ll stick to? How can you take your goals and DO SOMETHING with them without quitting?

 

 

Enter habit stacking.

 

 

Habit stacking is the #1 way that I’ve seen success with my goals and the way I teach all of the women I work with to go after theirs. Instead of trying to change everything overnight, you need to pick small pieces of the goal to tackle each week.

 

 

Let’s go back to the weight loss example. If you’ve decided that you want to lose weight and eat healthier, you might decide overnight that you will only drink water, eat vegetables at each meal, eliminate unhealthy carbs and stop eating after 5pm. Where you set yourself up for failure is when you try to do them all AT THE SAME TIME.

 

 

Related Post: How to Find Time To Workout as a Busy Mom 

 

 

 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to change and do better but, if you truly want to make lifestyle changes and achieve long term goals, no one says that you have to make all of the changes overnight! By breaking them down into smaller habits, and really developing those habits as part of your day to day routines,  you can create systems in your life that just become second nature and impact you long term.

 

 

So, if you’re looking to get healthier and lose weight, you might want to pick one of those small goals to work on for 1-2 weeks. Take 2 weeks to just focus on your water intake. Don’t worry about any of the other stuff and put all your efforts into doing one thing really, really well. You’ll become a water expert, hitting your water goal won’t feel as hard after two weeks, and you’ll be able to celebrate the small success and win that you had.

 

After 2 weeks, now that you’ve tackled that goal and it’s become second nature, ADD in a second small goal. For the next 2 weeks you’ll not only focus on your water intake (which won’t be as hard to achieve since you’ve mastered it these past two weeks) but you’ll focus on eating one serving of vegetables with each meal. Focus on that for two weeks and then add your next small goal.

 

 

 

 

The Best Way to Organize Your Goals

 

 

 

Will it take you longer to get all of your habits down? Maybe. But by tackling your goals this way you’re more likely to not quit along the way because you’re trying to change too much too quickly. This way you’ll start to create habits that last you a lifetime and not just for the short term. And you can celebrate the little wins along the way!

 

 

Staying Motivated

When you’re on your way to achieving your goals, how can you stay motivated?

 

Well with habit stacking, it’s not as tough. I suggest using a goal tracking sheet to mark down which habits you’re sticking to. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a gold star or needing to check a box to stay motivated in the beginning.

 

As you are tackling these new habits and making them more part of your lifestyle, external motivation will be a big part in keeping you going. After a few weeks of seeing success with your ‘little wins’, these habits will become more internal and you won’t need to track them each day.

 

But to start, don’t hesitate to track! Tracking will keep you focused, help you see the big picture, and allow you to applaud yourself for your success. Without tracking, it’s so easy to miss a day of your new habit and completely stop. When you track your new habits, you get that little reminder of what you need to get done and that little push to keep going!

 

 

So this week, break your goals down and pick 1 thing to focus on and get really great at it! Comment below with what you're focusing on this week and keep me updated!

 

 

Want to work on being more productive? Download the weekend checklist to get started (and just pick one area to focus on this weekend)