As a busy working mom, I get it. You have a lot on your plate right now. But trying to manage to have time for yourself only seems like a luxury.
News flash. It doesn’t!
Having time for yourself every day can and should be the norm. But it takes effort.
Check out this episode as productivity ninja shows how to increase your productivity and make time for yourself.
Because you need it.
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Cara is a wife and mother of three. She is the creator of A Purpose Driven Mom.
Before having her blog and podcast, Cara was a high school teacher for children with special needs.
She was feeling overwhelmed and struggled with anxiety and wanted a way out.
Cara started Beach Body and later lost 70 pounds. Because of her success, she started helping other women to lose weight with Beach Body.
After 8 years of teaching, Cara was able to replace the income as a teacher and work as a Beach Body coach.
After two years, Cara felt a tug to do more.
Cara was always good helping others with productivity and systems, so she started A Purpose Driven Mom to help moms feel more confident, less of a hot mess, and start to structure and run their mom life in a way that allows them to live a life by design.
Weekly planning System to Eliminate the Overwhelm During the Week
As moms, we have so much to do during the week. Then we have the unexpected things that life throws at us on top of that.
The way to reduce the overwhelm and get in control is to have a plan.
I know that there are moms out there that are maybe more like type B and you say routine and they’re like, no thank you. But I just want to encourage you that it doesn’t have to be like a structured schedule. I don’t believe in them. I just believed in patterns that you can create to feel a little more in control when life feels out of control.
For Cara, she struggled with anxiety. One of her coping mechanisms was to plan and have systems in place.
The number one thing that I will recommend to all moms is a weekly planning system. This is something that I do every single Sunday.
Plan out your week on Sunday. Start by taking out your planner, whether it is digital or a paper planner.
Plan out the entire week ahead as much as you can.
Start with the things that you can’t change. These are things like:
- Doctors appointments
- Work schedule
- School schedule
- Drop off and pick up from school and activities
Put all of these things on your calendar.
What most moms want to do next is put in everyone else needs. Like the laundry that needs to be done or the bake sale that you have to help your child with.
Instead, I recommend you start with what you need and then you fill in the gaps for your family. Because when you look at just stuff you have to do, you’re like, Oh, I actually do have time, but we fill that time up so fast for other people.
Yup, that’s right. Put your needs first.
Determine a personal goal
Start with a goal and put in one thing every day that is going to help you reach that goal.
For instance, if your goal is to read 1 book a month, schedule 15 minutes every day to read without interruptions.
Start with 15 minutes and give yourself a task each day until you’ve reached your goal.
I know it’s easy to come up with a goal for the house or the family. But this time, pick a personal goal that is important to you.
Many moms struggle to find a goal for themselves.
This is because we tend to lose ourselves in motherhood. We get so caught up in being a mom that we forget what we like and what our hobbies are.
If you’re struggling with coming up with a goal, first, listen to this episode with Katie.
I promise it will change your life.
Then start by looking up different hobbies to pick up on SkillShare.
Remember that your goals don’t have to be something big and grandiose.
And don’t compare your goals with other mom’s goals.
Plan how you will accomplish your goal
Next, you want to work on a habit. This could be getting into a morning routine, drinking more water or trying to run a 5k.
Plan out what it would look like then move on to learning time. This is something for you and your own growth. It could be a podcast or a digital course.
You could learn how to knit, how to start a podcast or how to do your own nails.
Take 15 minutes a day for just something for your own growth and learning. That’s only what, 45 extra minutes that you’re just strategically adding into your day for you and then fill it in with the other stuff.
By putting yourself first, you end up being more productive and have a purpose during the week.
Accomplishing your goals with 15 minutes a day
Cara is adamant that with 15 minutes a day you can accomplish even your biggest goals. She shared the story of wanting to get back to reading fiction books again.
Cara set a goal for herself to read two books a month.
First, start by looking at your baseline to determine a reasonable goal that will push you but is not completely unrealistic.
At the time, Cara was reading two books a year. So two books a month was a good goal.
Cara saw that if she reached her goal she would read 24 books in a year.
Because Cara was already passionate about reading, the second she got back into it she couldn’t stop.
I think I just hit 40 for the year, so I’m absolutely crushed my goal. And about halfway through the year, I stopped. I reassess. I made a new goal based on my progress.
Start by taking imperfect action and you may surprise yourself just like Cara did.
And I just do 15 minutes a day. 15 minutes at a time. And you see that momentum starts to build and you grow this internal muscle of like, Oh, I can do this.
If you’ve never read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. It’s the first personal growth book I’ve ever read.
And it was actually one of the main principles in my coaching I do with women in this small thing every day creating the habits, the routines and everything you need. It doesn’t have to be all at once.
Managing our own personal goals with family and work too
Cara has a different way of breaking down goals. Instead of looking at 2020 and planning gout your goals, Cara suggests doing something a little different.
The first thing I recommend you do is you pre-plan out the goal for the quarter.
So I use the principles found in the 12 Week Year, which essentially says instead of looking at goals for the whole year.
Like maybe someone made 2019 goals, you look at goals in a 12 week period, you give them a little sense of urgency
Instead of having one long year to accomplish your goals. You have 4 mini years that you are being strategic and knocking down goals.
So first, set a date. Giving your self 12 weeks is plenty of time to make progress and reassess to see if you need to change your goals.
Next, you want to break your goal down into steps or chunks.
If you have steps that take 15 minutes, this will allow you to make progress without it taking so much of your time.
Let’s the example of decluttering your home in 12 weeks.
First, break down your home into 12 weeks.
Then break it down even further and write out each area that needs to be decluttered in each room.
Cara loves Trello. And she will put her goals into Trello so that she can easily track her progress.
You can also write out each step in a notebook or journal as well.
Throughout the week, schedule 15-minute blocks of time to work on your goal.
So then when you do that weekly planning I talked about, and then you say, okay, what am I working on?
Oh, well it’s week three of my quarter and I said that I was going to do the kids’ toys.
So these are the five rooms I’m doing. I’m going to write them down in my planner in advance. Boom, it takes five minutes.
This prevents you from wondering what you should be doing or losing motivation because you have it all mapped out.
How to create habits to be more productive
I’m sure you’ve seen it quite a bit now, but 15 minutes is the golden amount of time to be more productive and get things done.
We always underestimate how much time we have and how much we can get done in just a short period of time. So if you’re getting started with any sort of habit, what I recommend using is a concept called habit stacking.
Habit stacking is building new habits from old habits. Start by identifying a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new behavior on top.
For instance, you want to lose 10 pounds. Instead of setting yourself up for failure trying to go on a restrictive diet, start habit stacking.
Instead, you say, these are the four things I’m going to do.
So week one in this example, I would tell women just worry about your water … And drink half your body weight in ounces of water every single day.
The rest of the day, whatever happens, happens.
But if you can just focus on that one little piece for seven days, get really good at it. It becomes second nature. Then by week two, depending on how you did in week one, you can always adjust and look at the data.
Then on week two, you can set the goal of eating a healthier breakfast.
Week 3, add in exercise and week 4 could be eating more vegetables.
By habit stacking, you start to create lifelong lifestyle changes that are going to help you reach your goal of losing weight and keeping it off for good.
Cara’s encouragement for moms
Cara shared a tough mom moment and wants moms that feel like she has felt know you are not alone.
My kids are biting each other lately and I’m like, what is happening? No one is listening to me.
Like I literally feel like I’m not in the room and I had like a moment.
And I want to just talk to the mom out there who probably feels the same way but feels really alone because I think in motherhood we can feel so invisible because people don’t share these moments.
Know that you are not alone when you’re kids are acting up and you are wondering what demon child has influenced your son at school.
You are not alone when you feel like no one is listening to you and feel invisible.
You are not alone when you question if you are a good mom and if you are actually doing a good job.
You are not alone.
If you want to share some real moments and not the highlight reel, make sure to join Cara on her Instagram stories.
So to any mom out there right now who feels invisible like I see you girl. I see you. You got to start seeing yourself.
Then process your feelings. Don’t ignore them.
Know that you’re feeling that you’re not a good mom is not true and move on.
Because you can’t stay in a state of feeling like a bad mom all day. You are a good mom.
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Links mentioned in this episode
- Losing Yourself in Motherhood with Katie Kahvo
- The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
- The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran
- Our Deepest Fear By Marianne Williamson
- Andy Mineo
- Cara on Instagram – @purposedrivenmom
- Cara on Facebook
- A Purpose Driven Mom Community – Facebook group
- A Purpose Driven Mom – Cara’s Blog
- A Purpose Driven Mom Show – Cara’ Podcast