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Feeling Frazzled? 8 Tips for the Mom with a Mile Long "To Do" List

Do you ever think back to the days of your wayward youth and wonder, “What in the world did I do with all of that free time?”

I know I do. I recall one semester in particular in college when three days a week the only item on my to do list was to attend a single one hour class. At least once a week this proved to be too much for my 20-year-old self and I would inevitably wake up at lunchtime and have the audacity to feel bitter about the fact that I would have to put on pants to walk to the cafeteria to be served lunch.

The horror! 

Nowadays, by the time the clock strikes noon I’ve bathed and dressed myself and two others, packed a gym bag, a diaper bag, and a book bag, gotten the kids off to school, survived an hour-long commute, and am three meetings deep into my day.

I am mom. Hear me roar…or yawn.

Balance is something I’ve struggled with since becoming a wife, a mother, and beginning my career all within the same 12 months. I still haven’t quite mastered the art of whittling down my to do list while carving out an adequate amount of “me” time, but I have picked up a few tips and tricks over the last five years and today I’m going to share them with you.

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  • Identify your time wasters 1 of 8
    Identify your time wasters
    You climb out of bed ready to put a dent in your to-do list right after you check in on Facebook and Twitter and then google the name of that actress you couldn't remember last night. And ooh! Free shipping at your favorite clothing store and then you look up at the clock and realize you've wasted half a day surfing the internet. An easy way to find more free time is to identify where you're wasting it and make an effort to steer clear of potential time sinkholes.
    Photo credit: Stock.xchng.
  • Just say no 2 of 8
    Just say no
    For some the urge to be accommodating borders on self-destructive. Put a little more you in your day and repeat after me: "I'd love to, but I can't."
    Photo credit: Flickr.
  • Don’t sacrifice sleep…ever 3 of 8
    Don't sacrifice sleep...ever
    I recognize that as a mother uninterrupted sleep is the stuff of fairytales. Middle of the night feedings are non-negotiable, but how often do you find yourself delaying bedtime to perform menial household chores that can really wait for morning? Losing that extra hour can make an impact on the next day's mood and productivity.
    Photo credit: Flickr.
  • Shut the door…and lock it 4 of 8
    Shut the door...and lock it
    All those bathroom trips with an audience are piling up. It's time to cash them in with a little relaxation behind closed doors. If your children are unwilling, let your husband know he is up and lock the door. Sometimes all a woman needs is a little time in an empty room.
    Photo credit: Stock.xchng.
  • Schedule around peak hours 5 of 8
    Schedule around peak hours
    Standing in line at the post office, sitting in rush hour traffic, navigating the crowd at the grocery store on Saturday afternoons -- these are everyday annoyances that chip away at our free time. Make it a habit to live your life "off peak." Arrive at and depart from work an hour earlier to shave time off your commute. Drop off that package or pick up your groceries during less trafficked hours. Less time spent waiting is more time available to devote to the things you love.
    Photo credit: Flickr.
  • Group like tasks 6 of 8
    Group like tasks
    Save time by grouping like tasks together. Instead of sprinkling phone calls throughout your day, try blocking out time to take care of them all at once. Check email only twice a day instead of all day long. This will allow you to accomplish more through the increased ability to focus on one task for an extended period of time.
    Photo credit: Flickr.
  • Unplug 7 of 8
    Unplug
    In a world saturated with smartphones, we find ourselves constantly connected. We can receive an e-mail, a text message, and a phone call all without straying from the dinner table. We have to make an effort to be unavailable and it is an effort worth making. Everyday set aside some time to let your brain recharge in a room away from your electronic devices.
    Photo credit: Stock.xchng.
  • Make ‘me’ time an essential 8 of 8
    Make 'me' time an essential
    If down time is something that you offer yourself as a reward, it's time to change your way of thinking. Time to yourself is a must, not a nice to have. When writing down your list of to-do's, don't forget to write "relax" above the fold.
    Photo credit: Flickr.

 

Thanks very much to Brita for sponsoring this post. Check out more posts in this campaign.

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