I don’t know about you, but I often find myself feeling like my day is running away from me before I even wake up. This could be because I am a perpetual night-owl, who thinks the work day (and children’s schedules for that matter) would make more sense if it was 11am-7pm, but I’m not sure that’s entirely it. It is HARD to juggle work, and kids, and housework, and school fundraisers, and bible study, and playdates, and laundry. Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working in an office as well as working remotely, from my home with my kiddos in tow. Through both of these experiences, I have tried many different methods to gain some semblance of balance. Through much trial and error, I’ve found a few strategies that worked for me. They’re not perfect, and many a day I just aspire to do these things. But if you too are looking for some balance in your life, I hope these may work for you too!
Intentional Prayer in Small Doses.
I recommend three times a day of intentional, personal, guided prayer. 30 minutes to start the day (for me, this is a daily devotional or daily Scripture readings), 15 minutes in the afternoon (I often pray the Litany of Trust or Divine Mercy Chaplet followed by 10 min of silence listening for the voice of God) and 15 minutes right before bed (I reflect on the day, do a possible examen, and write down thanksgiving).
Pause Your Inbox.
Whoever at Google thought of this should get a raise. Having to be available both during and after business hours and having a personality that values providing immediate response to needs, left me jumping at every email. The simplest email would send me into a bad mood, simply because it was interrupting what I was doing. It took a while, but I decided that pausing my inbox for 2 hours in the middle of the day was the best option. I was still accessible by phone and text, and let’s be honest, responding to an email that came in at noon at 2pm, is more than acceptable.
Do not do it all, every day.
I grocery shop on Tuesdays, and I don’t do any other chores on that day—aside from loading the dishwasher. No vacuuming, no dusting, no laundry. Laundry is done on Friday and dusting is for Mondays. You cannot do it all every day. Find a good method of spreading out responsibilities so you can take a little time each day, rather than have much of the housework pile up and leave you more stressed out and distracted from other responsibilities.
Find a Planner that Works For You.
I LOVE planners. A few years back I bought a planner that gave me a monthly, weekly and daily breakdown, including breaking down each day to the hour. But life with two toddlers pretty much means that nothing ever goes to plan. And every time I looked at that planner, I would see how everything went wrong. The scratching out, the arrows, the whiteout—it disappointed my over-achieving self every time. Now I have an AWESOME weekly planner and I use iCalendar on my phone for a detailed daily schedule. This way, as soon as something goes wrong, I update the rest of the day on my phone, and I never know what it used to look like.
Wrap It Up Right.
Take a half hour at the end of the day to review your day and look at the next day. Think over what you accomplished and what needs to be done. Write your to-do lists for the next day so you are not running through all the tasks you need to do tomorrow as you are trying to fall asleep.