How to get your *#&! together

October 22, 2018

When you have a lot going on, it can feel like life really gets on top of you. Sometimes it feels like you're a complete mess, but more often it's a subtle thing and you'll feel just a little behind all over, in each area of your life. For me when this happens, I find myself being rushed and/or late wherever I go. I notice that I buy a lot more food on the go. And my inbox and texts seem to pile up throughout the day while my attention is scattered. That is no good and results in feeling stressed. So I have picked up and learned a few tricks that have really helped.

Share your calendars
On our iPhones, we use iCal and we have our calendars shared with one another. It's really handy, because when I go to schedule something, I can see if there is a conflict without actually asking J. Of course, this only works if you're actually consistent about putting your appointments and plans in the calendar. But since we've started doing this, the bonus is that you can schedule something just for yourself. Yoga, shopping with a friend, happy hour with my sisters are all things I add to my calendar and then J knows I won't be home. I also have "Family", "Coco" and "Theo" calendars I share with J. When we're busy, it serves as a good communication tool for plans as well.

Simplify menu planning
I started getting Hello Fresh last spring and it's been a lifesaver during particularly crazy times. While J is not usually a fan of cooking and tends to make really simple meals (mac & cheese or spaghetti, anyone?) he actually kind of likes cooking Hello Fresh meals and it's definitely expanded his repertoire in the kitchen. We find that with our two kids and us, a standard two-serving, three-meal box takes care of most of the week. We also do weekly meal plans that don't vary much - that means I can keep the shopping list relatively identical from week to week. My new favorite thing is 5-ingredient meals that are healthy, quick and tasty. Because eating well is key to having it all together and not getting overly stressed or sick. (If you would like to try it, you can get $40 off your first Hello Fresh box here;)

Outsource where you can
We hired a house cleaner a few months ago and she comes every two weeks. It is easily the best money we've ever spent. Because let's be honest, keeping up with the day-to-day, laundry, grocery shopping and so on is enough!

Use an old school calendar
In addition to our phone calendars, it is really helpful to have an old school calendar on the kitchen wall, right by the back door, where we see it every time we leave the house. I'm really visual, so I like being able to glance at the week, and it's helpful to remember upcoming events, holidays, kids' birthday parties (so many parties!) and so on. As much as I love technology, I will never get rid of my fun pens, paper calendar and agenda.

Embrace the night before
Obvious things to do the night before are make lunches and pick out clothes. These are hugely helpful - especially the clothes with kids. But there are other things you can do the night before, too. I have taken to showering at night instead of the morning. And recently, a friend told me that she does yoga before bed when I complained that I never seem to be able to find the time to do my Headspace app for meditation during the day. As long as it's not an overly stimulating activity, before bed can be a good time to make time for things you don't seem to have time for - reading, knitting, meditation, yoga, and showering (!) are all good before bed activities that actually contribute to a restful sleep.

With kids, take care of yourself first
This one took me the longest to wrap my head around. I used to wake up in the morning, make the kids their oatmeal, take care of them, dress them, make sure they had their lunches and all their things, and then when it was time to go, I wasn't ready! Or sometimes I was only half ready and it meant we'd either be late, or I would go to work feeling disheveled. Not good! When Theo was a baby, I remember mornings when I would get up and instantly be responding to demands and not even have a moment to go to the bathroom. Sigh. Moms, get up, get yourself in the shower or wash your face if you don't shower every day, brush your teeth, get dressed, do your makeup, put on your jewelry and deodorant and perfume before you help your kids! Be ready for your day first. Then help or direct your kids with a coffee in hand. It makes everything so much better.

I'm curious, what are your best tricks to keeping life running smoothly when it gets busy and demanding?

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