Hello there, Madame Woo here. What is happening? I hope you are feeling the vibe that I am unleashing upon you. Whether you are here for the first time or you have been here a while, I hope you are gaining. I am excited to be starting my first series, it will be interesting to see how it will unfold. My pastime has always been to dwell in my old writings. It is like talking to someone you once knew so well. If you do not enjoy reading, then there is an attachment of an outline list at the end of this post, you are welcome to download it. I will try to keep it simple with this piece, yet still satisfy myself.
We are capable of doing anything we put our minds too. Everyone faces challenges, I am sure folks who do not have kids could benefit from this entry. Still, it is something about being a parent that just kicks this game up a notch. Trust, there are plenty, to speak on, that hopefully, I can bring to you. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know, hit that hotline. I have chosen scarcity of time, seemingly, it gives me the most trouble. I can handle the long list of to-dos. The tasks themselves are not difficult. You wake up you start your day, you go to work, you pick the kids up, you cook dinner, you get the kids ready for bed. At the end of my day, I am exhausted and have been left feeling as though nothing done was worthwhile. When I am positive, body and mind are not exhausted for no reason. Considering ways to combat the feeling occurs another job. I turn to the blogs for help, one alone, did me no good. Some suggesting things that would have me be someone, I am just not. Know thyself, you can do all as you, live by that. It would not be an awful thing for me to bring some self-improvement into my life. Shoot, I desire as anyone would, to do better, be better. However, that is easier said than done. I need a quick fix, small steps, right now, not when I have overcome my flaws. Just a few tips that can push me in the right direction until I can get over the big humps.
Folks confuse my mental exhaustion with being well fed. We find ourselves, hopping on that never-ending hamster wheel, just getting the basics covered. Trying to learn ways to generate more time for self. I am still left with internal questions. What have you done besides get to the next day? How do you pursue your interests? How do you maintain the chores? How do you pursue higher education? Managing your projects and setting aside time for yourself is important. We are many things to many folks, being pulled in all directions. I have learned a lot about a lot. I still have yet to discover how to add things to my plate. I want to conquer the world but I do not know how to manage. I need more time in my days, more days in my week, more weeks in my month, and more years in my life, if Allah wills.
We are not here for the cookie-cutter ideas like “preparing the kids clothes at night”, which does not help things run more smoothly in the morning. It does not create more time for me it just gives me something else to do in the evening when I am already dog tired. Start with searching yourself and finding out what works for you, I can not stress that enough. We could always use a little help to get started. In a world full of new apps, picking a new app could be essential, you decide. I have tried plenty of applications that, look good, sound good, do not function good for me. If I could recommend an app that has supported me in my endeavors as a procrastinator, it would be one of these. My Effectiveness and Todoist, these apps taught me not only how to make goals but sensibly structure them as well.
Getting Started: First Steps
Step #1: Download both apps.
Try them both out to see which one better suits you. You do not need both. I used my effectiveness before I started my website. When I looked for a more professional lane, I came across todoist. You name it I have tried it.
The way it works is it starts with your mission. I look at my mission about every month, it is nice to know you still agree with yourself. Next, you should set up the roles you play in your life. For example, my roles are La Mere(The Mother, I love french words), The Hustler, The Breadwinner, The Self Healer, The Priestess, and The Scholar. All of my life’s avenues are covered, you could even name your roles to make them alter-egos, have fun with it. From here I set my goals to bring these characters to life. What could I do to improve being The Hustler? Stay committed to my blog. It is okay to generalize your goal but being more specific could be helpful. Get 1000 views on my blog. I then set actions to accomplish the goals. For argument’s sake, you do not know how to achieve your goal, the perfect time to do some research. My first action is to do some research on getting 1000 views, to stay committed to my blog as The Hustler. Have fun with it, with little effort, you will not be disappointed in its effectiveness. Also, if you work from hope it has a timer so you can set intervals to work, that was bonus.
Todoist works by building projects. You can use the free templates as well if you need help or examples on how to bring it all together. My main projects are Fitness, Cleaning, Job Hunt, and Blogging. Once you have chosen your projects, you can set your sections. Your sections are your goals. My blogging sections are Getting Started, Post Ideas, Weekly Editing Schedule, and Promotion. Then there are tasks which are your actions to get you to your goals. The tasks under ‘Getting Started’; are pick a topic, choose a name, design a logo, etc… What I like about this app is it keeps track of your progress. Encouraging you to zero out and level up. I like this app better as a premium which is 4 dollars a month, being able to put things on repeat helps.
Step #2: Planning your day.
Pick a time of day when you are most focused, productive, and least distracted. I am an early riser, I get up an hour or two before the children. If you are not an early riser then getting up early will not be a good idea. If you want to try and train yourself then, by all means, get to it. Not knowing when to work will is detrimental to the process. Let’s say you do not get something done that day, putting it off to the next day is perfectly okay but not knowing when you will follow through with that commitment could leave you procrastinating. You could procrastinate right into a deadline which stops you from not completing goals. Throwing me right into my next step.
Step #3: Setting a deadline.
Setting a deadline gives you a projected completion date. Now I am a major procrastinator, MAJOR, so I always set deadlines 3 or more days out to the actual day of completion. Even if your activity does not require a deadline set one anyway. Setting a deadline keeps you productive.
These three steps have given you structured goals, time and plan of action, and productivity. These are the building blocks to relieving difficulties at least the mundane ones. Yes, we all know but can we execute. Do we know how to make goals? Do we stick to the things we write down? Do we have time to commit to our projects? Here are a few tips.
A Few Tips:
Do not overwhelm your time. Be realistic in what you can get done. Think of your life in terms of the long term effects and you will be able to see the bigger picture of things. Over time you will be able to see what you have accomplished, nothing happens overnight.
Do something every day. Though you may perceive there is no move to make, no time to make it, and no money to move it. My mother says there is always something to be done. Generic, I know, heard it a thousand times probably.
Pace Yourself. Depending on how your goals and actions line up, tackle just one task at a time in a prioritized order. Dedicate no more than 2 hours a day to any one project. Setting multiple tasks over an extended period spending only 15 to 20 or so minutes on each task, allows you to work on time managing and multi-tasking skills. 20 minutes of focused work time is a lot of time, get an understanding of how time works. The apps help with that as well.
You have the building block you need to figure out what works for you. Now, let us free up some time with a few tips on essential chores. I do not have all the time in the world and you are already tired of reading, I know because I am tired of typing. Essential chores that everyone has to complete; you have to feed your kids every day, do laundry, clean, and extracurricular activities which for some could mean spending time with your children. You know what it is that you need to do. Building routine only works if you are honest with yourself, do not play yourself, I can not stress that enough. If you follow that “Super Mom” that looks like she has it all figured out then you are fooling no one but yourself, she is not you. I know she does not have it all together, everything that glitters is not gold.
Essential Chore: Cooking.
Cooking has always been a challenge for me. It is not just the effort it takes to get it done, but also the planning and cleaning up afterward. In the beginning, dinner alone would take 1-2 hours out of my day. I am only a beginner when it comes to meal prep. You will not find me prepping all that up, no matter the benefits. It seems cool but it is just not me, at the moment. I keep things simple, overdoing anything just turns into another job or chore. These efforts help with keeping track of your grocery spending. You know what it is that you need to do.
A Few Tips:
Meal prep for beginners. Young children love consistency, they like to know what to expect. Eating the same things over and over again maybe every once in awhile adding in something new is good for you and them. Fundamentally meal prep is just picking out your meals for the week which we all do in some form or another. Creating a grocery list that fits your plan, keep the basics stocked at home to execute except for produce, which result in a weekly grocery trip. Cater your meals around you stockpile, venturing out only once in awhile. You will need a meal routine.
Create a meal routine. The more you practice a recipe the more comfortable you become, the less time it takes to make it. To start building a repertoire of meals, I would say first determine how many times a week you are willing to cook, two weeks of meals should be good. Currently, I have 2 one-pot, 2 crock-pot, 3 casseroles, and 4 pasta meals(kids love pasta) as well as 3 vegetables on stand by. I rotate and mix it up. I will not lie to you it took me time to build this repertoire, I have picky eaters. When doing anything be realistic, if your kids are not going to eat it, then do not waste your time making it. I say if you feed it to them 3 times and they are not receptive then move on. Children need a few tries before they catch the wave, so do not get discouraged after the first time. Keep it simple, kids like simple, take a break.
Freeze. What helps is to over make a recipe and freeze part of that recipe. I freeze food because it takes no extra work to freeze leftovers or double up on a meal. I do not do this excessively, my freezer is not stocked with frozen meals. You never know in the future you might need some time. It is a lifeline for me.
Essential Chore: Laundry.
Laundry was a huge time-waster in my life. You may be one of those folks who love to do laundry. Me, however, I dread it. It is not so much putting it in the machine but the before of separating, the after folding and putting away. I do laundry for 4 folks if you have more than that I feel for you. Instead of letting it all pile up until it needs to be done, which is terrible. A whole day dedicated to laundry or cleaning is just too much. Free up that day you spend doing chores. You will start to notice that the laundry is already done. Now if you do not have the money right now to invest, that is perfectly okay. Make due with what you have.
A Few Tips:
Hampers. I suggest at least 3 hampers, one for whites, colors, and darks. I would go as far as one for dedicates and bedding. If you have a hamper everywhere and for everything, you can grab and go. I keep the color clothes hamper in the bathroom. Color clothes are the most popular in my house, I have two girls, so when you take off your clothes to take a bath most everything can go right in the hamper in the bathroom.
Separating. Let the children do the separating if you can, if they know their colors and can pick things up then you are in the game. Separating should be minimum if you are utilizing the hamper system but mistakes happen. When the basket is full throw it in the wash.
Washing schedule. What helps me here is throwing laundry in the washer in the morning when I wake up. Because I wake up early in the mornings, it takes in an hour for a wash, I can do one full load in the morning. If you do not have that kind of time or you are forgetful, happens all the time, then put baking soda or vinegar in before the wash. This will help it stay fresh while you are at work or overnight, whatever your schedule. You will notice the difference in doing one load a day makes if it is available. I find myself doing laundry no more than 3 days out of the week.
Finding time to fold. Staying committed to folding is a task. I would have piles of clean laundry all over the house. We would end up picking out of the piles all week. I suggest folding during TV time or while you are on the phone, making every moment count. Honestly your loads will get smaller if you are implementing the plan which take less time to fold.
Essential Chore: Cleaning.
When it comes to setting a cleaning schedule, I do not. You can’t imagine how many times I have done this and I never stick to it. The alarm will go off, the time will come, and I will just ignore it. If this is the case for you then I suggest dedicating which spaces in your house are everyday active spaces. You can not play in every room, every day. If no one goes in the space then it can remain tidy for the most part, less work is needing to be done. Think of your space only in terms of what you desire. I do not desire a pristine living space. I like my space to look tidy but lived in. I do not mind a few toys on the floor of the children’s room. I do not mind a load of clean laundry on the couch. Figure out what works for you.
A Few Tips:
What to clean? When it comes to cleaning, prioritizing is important. We are not talking about cleaning out the garage or organizing your cosmetics. That is a project, that is to be done in your extra task time. Understanding your everyday needs to a clean house by your standards is important. My rule of thumb is I never pick up anything off of the floor. My children are closer to it than me and even a 2 year is old enough to pick up things. Training children to do needless tasks will help you in the long run. Also, they enjoy it, they love to feel needed and accomplished just as you do. Give out treats or rewards.
How much time to spend cleaning? I have dissected every room of my living space into three major parts. these tasks take no more than 10 minutes. I spend 30 mins or less out of each day cleaning. You must understand time and what you can accomplish. I would dread a task thinking that it would take so much time to complete. It only took so much time because I did not want to do it, most of the time was spent placating.
When to clean? When you walk into your home, pick a section, start cleaning, and just get it done. I am not saying tackle the whole bathroom, maybe just the tub and change the kids’ sheets. Also, clean during commercials, feel free to clean the mirror in the bathroom or spray all the doorknobs with Lysol. I hate watching commercials anyway. Which is why I record everything so I can fast forward.
Essential chores: Spending time with the children.
Lastly, not least extracurricular activities. How to occupy your children is crucial as a parent. Children need constant stimulation from the time they rise to the time they lay their heads down at night. As a working mom, I will dedicate no more than an hour a day and 3 days a week on extracurricular activities projects. This does not include outside playtime or trips to the playground which I never do two days in a row and only for 30 mins. Do not be afraid of sending your children to bed early, they need sleep.
A Few Tips:
Set standards. I know how hard it can be to occupy your children throughout the day. Here is a tip, I know as parents that we want to give our children all the encouragement in the world. However, when setting an assignment or project in front of your kids, do not just accept the first thing they give you. Just say this is nice, but you can do better. Give them some criticism and some ideas to make it better.
Choose independent activities. If you happen to be a stay at home mom then I feel for you. If you are, you will need a repertoire of activities, make sure you have a few things your little one can do without you. I know this may be harder for a 2 to 3-year-old, their attention span is for shit, and they need a play by play. Do not underestimate them, it is okay to lean on them a bit. Hide and seek with a toy can be extremely entertaining, it is kind of like I spy. Pick a favorite toy, hide it from them in plain sight and have them try to find it. This still entertains my 4-year-olds and my 6-year-old. For older kids, riddle games are a cool trick. Try anything that keeps them guessing for any amount of time. Prepare hints in advance, they will always give up and come and ask for help. Engineering is a cool trend right now. Investing in building tools is always a must. Show your child a picture of something and let them engineer it in their way.
Cut screen time. This is difficult to do, not to stick them in front of the Tv or screen. But making it a luxury, this is more beneficial to you in the long run. This way it can be used as a constructive form of punishment, a treat, and a special event.
A Few Tips:
Keep the Sabbath. You may not be religious, this to me goes beyond that. We all need to rest. I am the type of girl that will keep the Sabbath day holy. To each its own but it is something that keeps me grounded. My Sabbath day is Saturday, it makes sense in my schedule. Sunday is the first day of the week for me and I spend it preparing. You must have one day out of the week to yourself, for reflection.
Set boundaries. As a single parent setting boundaries with your children is a must. You do not have to entertain them all the time, you are not their friend, let them entertain themselves. You do not have to feed them all the time, let them feed themselves. Having filling snacks in between meals, at reachable heights is the way to go.
Think things through. Sit down and think, reacting will just have you lost. You need to assess your situation, realistically.
“Do what you can, where you are, with what you have.”-Theodore Roosevelt
This post took me 3 days and 5 hours total of my extra project time this week. I know you are overwhelmed, I brought home twins from the hospital and I thought I would never make it. Today, I can not see myself even thinking that way. Some parents bring home more than two others have more than three. You got this, one day at a time. Peace is love, Madame Woo.