*Sigh* You finally got the baby (or toddler) down for their afternoon nap and you have at least two hours of uninterrupted free time, and thank goodness, because you have So. Much. To. Do. Then two hours pass and the only thing you've accomplished is eating half a package of Oreos (I'd like to make the argument that Oreos are good for our mental health!) and running down the battery on your phone. You wasted two whole hours — how could you possibly have let this happen??? Is it because you're lazy? No. Is it because you're bad at prioritizing? Probably not. Maybe you just have terrible time management? Not quite. I think as moms we have soooo much on our to-do lists and so much on our minds that it's overwhelming, and we don't even know where to start, so we just don't. The other side could be that interruptions are really hard to bounce back from and it's inevitable, once you start any kind of project or even doing something for yourself, you will be interrupted and that project goes unfinished for who-knows-how-long or that "self-care" activity wasn't even worth starting because your disappointed that you weren't able to enjoy your time. And sometimes having a project unfinished is even more frustrating that not having started it at all. I get it and I see you.
Being a mom is a full-time job that requires juggling many responsibilities. Whether you are a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, or a mom who balances both, planning your day the night before can help you stay organized, reduce stress, and maximize your time.
Reasons for Planning Your Day the Night Before:
• Reduces stress: When you have a clear plan in place, you won't have to worry about forgetting important responsibilities or feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work you need to do. By having a plan in place, you can relax and focus on your tasks without the added stress of trying to figure out what needs to be done next.
• Increases productivity: Planning your day in advance allows you to prioritize your tasks and make the most of your time. This means that you will be able to complete more in less time, ultimately increasing your productivity.
• Helps you stay focused: When you have a plan in place, it's much easier to stay focused. You won't be distracted as you will know exactly what needs to be done.
Tips for Planning Your Day the Night Before:
Make a to-do list
The first step in planning your day is to make a to-do list. First, create a running master to-do list. You most likely already have one, and you'll inevitably keep adding things. You can use a planner, notebook, or a digital tool to keep track of your to-do list.
Prioritize your tasks and be realistic
You won't be able to tackle the whole master to-do list in one day, so start small and prioritize 1 big chore and 1 or 2 smaller things you need to do the next day. It's important to set realistic goals that you can actually accomplish in the time you have available. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting overwhelmed. You can even add one or two small wish list tasks in case you find you have more time.
Schedule your day
After prioritizing your list, schedule your day. Allocate time slots for each task, starting with the most important ones. Be honest with yourself about how long they will take and be sure to give yourself enough time.
Finally, remember to be flexible. Unexpected things can happen, and plans can change. If your days are like mine, something usually gets thrown in and I have to adjust. In those instances, try really hard not to put anything back on the master to-do list. Instead, whatever didn't get done today is put on the list for tomorrow. This will help you to stay on track and ensure that you are able to complete everything on your list.
Planning your day the night before can help you stay organized, reduce stress, and maximize your time as a busy mom. Also, instead of adding a few wish-list tasks to your days, you can always do something for yourself (some Oreo indulgence, perhaps).