I hate to break it to you, but there’s only one Superwoman - and she’s a fictional character so stop trying to be her and that’s how you stay sane!
Women put a lot of pressure on themselves to “do it all” these days and we’re driving ourselves insane trying to live up to this made-up standard we hold ourselves to. I’ve been asked on more than one occasion “How do you do it all?”
Spoiler Alert – I DON’T!
I don’t “do it all”, but I do A LOT and I’m happy to share how I run a small business, blog, take care of my kids, work out, cook, sit down with my family at dinner, do the dishes before bed, spend time with my husband every night, make time for friends, and… well, you get my drift.
Here are the key components that I practice to get sh*t done – in no particular order.
1. BE EFFICIENT
“Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says ‘Oh crap, she’s up!’” -Unknown
Every single weekday - hit the ground running. If you make every minute count during the day then there’s time to relax at night, and truly enjoy it – because you deserve it! The biggest perk of being my own boss is making my own schedule and not letting anyone dictate it. I do my best to schedule clients that require travel on the weekdays between 9:30am-3pm and group those meetings into the same day(s).
As with anything there will always be exceptions, but they are few and far between. This allows me to miss rush hour both ways and be home for dinner with my family. Until I grow my business enough to be able to hire people to stay in the office while I’m out in the field, this works for me. Efficiency is so important whether you work for yourself or for someone else. Map out your days, put them in your calendar, set reminders and TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS!! If your phone and email are going off all day, you'll get nothing done. It's OK if you don't respond to something immediately. We all survived just fine before cell phones, and even pagers (haha, a little throw back for ya).
2. MAP OUT YOUR WEEK AND PHYSICALLY CHECK THINGS OFF
“Rename your to-do list your opportunities list.” – Steve Marabou
Even though this is second on my list, I consider it the most important. All of my appointments go in my calendar with reminders and alerts, but in my iPhone notes I created a template that I update each Sunday night or Monday morning (example below) which includes everything that has to get done each weekday. Anything else is gravy.
The first thing I do every morning is look at that day’s tasks. As things get done I check the button and figure out what I have time to tackle next, if other things come along I add them to my list and if something doesn’t get done one day then I move it to the next day (but don’t allow that to happen too often). Due to sheer laziness I’ve only NOT mapped out my week a couple times and let me tell you how absolutely UNPRODUCTIVE my week was - simply because when you wear a lot of hats you tend to forget the little things. Like putting lunch money in my sons account. Mom of the year right here! So that quickly got added as a permanent Monday item. The only other things that don’t change are the gym on M-W-F and blog posts on T-Th. The blog post thing doesn’t always happen, but that brings me to my next key component…
3. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
“When grace moves in guilt moves out.” -Max Lucado
Mapping out your day is important but so is prioritizing. When I refer to my daily tasks I work on the things that cannot get pushed, first. For instance, if I’m working on something for a client then that takes priority over an unsponsored blog post, and I’m OK with pushing that to the following day or publishing one blog post instead of two that week. Sometimes if there isn’t much going on at night, I’ll crank out a post (like right now, haha) but I try to reserve my evenings for family time and weekends for friends and family, so I remind myself not to feel guilty if I didn’t check every box on my list for that day. It just means I have to be extra focused and productive the following day.
4. BE OK WITH SAYING NO
“Tone is the hardest part of saying no.” -Jonathan Price
I love this quote because it SO true and why I said yes to everything for so long and hated myself for it. I didn’t know how to say no. Plain old NO is harsh no matter how you slice it or dice it, but there is a way to politely decline something without having to explain why or feel guilty about it. It’s your right not to do something if it’s not the best use of your time, if you are stretched too thin, or if you simply don’t want to do it.
Being on Instagram is what taught me to start saying no more often. After overcommitting myself to one too many collaborations and being super stressed about something I otherwise enjoy, I was the only one who could change that. It was incredibly foreign, and difficult, and guilt ridden, and didn’t come without an explanation at first, but the more I filtered my “yes’s” and saw that the world was still turning after the “no’s”, the more I got comfortable with delivering a polite decline - sans explanation. It’s actually really easy to do:
A. They’ve taken the time to think of you and reach out, so acknowledge and respect that by thanking them for reaching out.
B. Let them know that you are not able to commit at this time but appreciate that they thought of you. You can leave it at that, or you can leave them with a small explanation due to prior commitments or take a rain check if that makes you feel more comfortable in delivering a “no”.
C. Wish them well (i.e. “I hope you have a great day!”).
5. ASK FOR HELP
“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit for doing it.” – Andrew Carnegie
Basically, there is no medal to be given at the end of the day for running yourself into the ground. In my house, we all pitch in. Both of my boys are teens and were taught young that mom isn’t a maid. It’s still a frustrating daily reminder at times, and while I’m perfectly capable of doing what I’m asking others to pitch in to do – that’s not the point. The point is that nobody’s time is more valuable than anyone else’s.
I’ve always been a working mom, so my boys (husband included) pick up after themselves, do their own laundry, and help out with household chores. In my younger years I tried to do it all and I was miserable. Miserable in how I felt and miserable to be around because I couldn’t physically keep up – and why was I trying?? Why was I trying to do everything just so my guys didn’t have to do anything? Makes absolutely no sense.
Let's pause for a quick picture break so I can keep you with me. So many words!
If you're still reading this post then I'm pretty sure we're on the same page with this Superwoman thing, so click here for an affiliate link if you want to be my mug twin.
6. SCHEDULE IN FUN AND FITNESS
"Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity." -John F. Kennedy
Believe me, I’ll be the first to say that fitness and fun do not belong in the same sentence. However, as much as I despise working out I love the benefits even more so this is part of my routine that isn’t broken often. I schedule my days around it and leave the excuses at the door. The gym is less than an hour out of my day. It’s a 5 minute drive there, 45 minute workout (25 minutes of strength doing supersets + 20 minutes of cardio) and a 5 minute drive home. Being healthy and having energy is not only for me, it’s for my family. I love life and I love my family, so I want to be around as long as possible for both.
After a productive, efficient, responsible and organized week you deserve some fun so make time to nurture your relationships (marriage, friends and family). Notice how I said “make time” rather than “take time”? If you’re finding that you haven’t been nurturing important relationships in your life, then you need to start scheduling in coffee dates, lunch dates, date nights, etc. Otherwise, next week turns into a month turns into a year and it is just as important to surround yourself with a good social circle as it is to organize your week wisely. You’ll even notice on my task list above that I had a lunch date scheduled in that week, so I do practice what I preach. Promise!
So this, my friends, is how to be Superwoman and stay sane - without being Superwoman and still staying sane.
I hope you’ve found a key point or two that will help you with productivity and organization if that’s an area where you seem to struggle. If you only take one thing away from this, I would recommend that it be key component #2 – Map Out Your Week and Physically Check Things Off. You’ll find that the rest starts to fall into place if you make this a religious part of your routine.
Leave a comment and let me know which part of this post resonated with you the most. A little accountability never hurt anyone. ;)
Be well, friends!