Do more, stress less. Here’s how.

By Kirsten Adshead/motherbility

UPDATE: I’ve decided to take this up a notch and actually time-block my week.

With everything I’m trying to balance — writing, editing, running motherbility’s social media accounts, upgrading the website, parenting three children, managing our rental property, running our household — my days just feel so disjointed. (Who’s with me on THAT one?!?!?)

So, rather than simply committing to working for at least one hour on every aspect of my life, I’m scheduling in those hours to build out my day.

Otherwise, my mind looks something like, “Ooh, I should social media post, and that reminds me to check my email, ooh look, there’s a message from the contractor, I should respond to that, and it sounds like the dryer has finished it cycle, I’ll just go put another load in and, oh yes, I should really do the dishes and go grocery shopping, and shoot, I was just in the middle of writing something and … .” That’s hardly efficient.

So … time-blocking it is. Wish me luck. And please comment below with your time-blocking and organizing tips!

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I often think of my life in terms of children’s stories.

If it’s cloudy and rainy with wind gusts up to 40 mph? It’s a “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day”.

Getting my youngest dressed in the morning? “One foot, two foot, red foot, blue foot.”

As the crowd of neighborhood kids stampedes toward my house? “‘And now,’ cried Max, ‘let the wild rumpus start!'”

This is what nine years of parenting has done to me.

And I’ve decided that if my entire life was a children’s story, the perfect title would be this: “The Berenstain Bears And Too Much To Do.”

That’s the reality of mothering, and entrepreneurship — and doubly so when you’re trying to do both.

Anytime I’m confidently juggling a ball or two, I’m fully aware that there are another five I’m dropping. So I’ve devised a simple plan for getting everything done. And doing it all guilt-free.

I’ve broken my life down into five categories: Self care, home, family/friends, writing, and business administration.

Every day, I devote at least one hour to each category. On really organized days, I plan the details out ahead.

Today, for instance, here’s what that looks like

Self care: Shower, half-hour exercise, watch TV at the end of the day

Home: Fold laundry, go to the bank

Family/Friends: Meet with Erin; cookie sales with child 1, read with child 2, play with child 3

Writing: Blog

Business Admin: Website redesign

Right now, is my writing hour. So as I sit here and write this, the laundry needs to be folded, I’m not yet ready to meet my friend at 9, and I didn’t exercise this morning. And I’m not worried. Because when this hour is done … whether or not I’ve finished this post … I’ll set the computer aside and work on something else.

Somethings will take longer than an hour, and that’s fine. As long as at the end of the day, I’ve put in at least an hour toward every category, I can feel confident that I’m successfully progressing on motherbility, while honoring my relationships and getting housework done as well.

That feeling beats stress and guilt any day.

Adapt this system as you will. Maybe you prefer larger blocks of times — maybe even a whole day — devoted to one task. Maybe Monday is household day, Tuesday is administrative, etc.

Maybe you work best when you strictly adhere to a plan. Or, if you’re like me, you may prefer flexibility. (If I spend all day at a conference, for example, am I going to worry that I didn’t check off each of my hours that day? Nope. I just roll with it.)

That’s all fine. Whatever works for you.

I’ve found that this is a nice, simple way to organize my life. I may not be the most graceful juggler, but at least all the balls stay up in the air.

More productivity and less stress every day? “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

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