Managing Your Time

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Pajamas: Kate Spade | Bedding: Listed Here

Photography by: Angie Garcia

P.S. Who spots Maxi in the photos?! Love seeing my bump on the blog again!


I’m sure it’s safe to assume most of us wish we had more free time. Free time to do things like lay in bed, read a magazine, eat a sweet or two and stay in your pajamas! ūüėČ Each stage of our life requires so many different things from us, but it all centers around time.

Because¬†time is so coveted and escapes us so easily, I thought I’d share a few things I do to manage my time in work, in home and with family. Before I dive into organizing, I wanted to share the step prior: prioritizing.

As women, we wear a lot of different hats. I’m actually going to be sharing a post on Monday talking about women and balance, so I don’t want to divulge my thoughts too much just yet. However, I think the beauty in being a woman is that we have so many different compartments in our heart that allow us to be a million different things to people. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mama to a few littles or a girl in grad school, your time is so important. You are so valuable and sometimes when your time isn’t your own, you can feel like a slave to¬†a certain role. It takes the joy out of your choice in time and can wear you down. So first things first, let’s talk prioritizing.

At the beginning of each day I remind myself of my priorities. It seems silly because for days, months or years of your life, your priorities will most likely¬†stay the same. But because we wear so many hats as a woman, guilt tags along. When I remind myself of my priorities each day, I’m giving myself that freedom of guilt.

I remind myself that:

  • First and foremost, I’m a mom and a wife. My daughter needs me not only emotionally, but physically. There will be a day that she is grown up and I’m dying for her to call me to chat one afternoon. I’ll have all the free time in the world and I’ll wish I was busy.

Here’s a small example to give you an idea of why I have to remove that guilt. It’s definitely a trivial one, but an example of how things can pile up!¬†Right¬†now I still have thank you notes to send to people who brought us food. I always write thank you notes at night but at this stage in life, I get her to bed and I’m exhausted. So. Stinkin’. Exhausted. I can’t even think to write a thank you note because I know I have to get up again in 3 hours to feed her. I only get to about one a day and that means most are a few weeks¬†late.¬†I feel so guilty about it, but a girl I went to college with posted this on Facebook¬†the other day and I repeat it to myself whenever I feel that guilt.

“Very few dishes have been washed and not enough loads of laundry have been done the past few days, but my baby sure has been loved.”

It was such a simple statement and removed all guilt I had! I just thought, “Not a big deal.¬†People get a thank you note a few weeks after they send a meal. They won’t remember that, but I’ll always remember the days I never put my baby down and I solely focused on her.”

Whatever role consumes most of your time, remind yourself that you’re doing that job and role so extremely well. You won’t do everything perfect and that’s the point of priorities.¬†

Now that you’ve reminded yourself of your most important role or roles, you can easily organize your time without guilt. I find that when I skip the step of prioritization I am trying to schedule every second of my day and it just sets me up for failure!

Time Management Tips:

  • Planner System

Find a planner system that works for you and cling to it. I have to write things down and could never live off my phone’s calendar, but that may be best for you. I use four different systems for organizing my job and personal life: planner, Google Drive and two paper notepads. It sounds a bit excessive but I enjoy the process and it helps me not forget my tasks at hand.

I use a planner to schedule my months and write out appointments. I need a physical planner to be able to see what I’m doing weeks from now and write down any commitment or appointment I make.

I use Google Drive to schedule my work. From my editorial calendar to all my contracts, Google Drive is my little command center. Be sure to keep the Google Drive app on your phone so you can quickly pull up anything when you’re out and about!

I keep¬†two paper notepads on my desk at all times. One I use for my daily schedule. I look at my planner to see my commitments for that week and then schedule each day around Maxi. This way when she goes down for a nap, I have one spot to look and see what I need to do next in terms of work, home and personal life. I’ll write everything down from looks I need to shoot, blog posts I need to write, contracts I need to negotiate, chores I need to finish¬†and people I need to call back. The second is used more for spur of the moment planning¬†and brainstorming if you will. I map out blog posts, draft¬†out social media scheduling and list things I’d like to accomplish in the following weeks. It’s the messier of the bunch but this way when an idea or thought comes to mind, I don’t forget it.

  • Get Up Earlier

I hate to say get up earlier, because if anyone knows how precious sleep it is, it is the mama of a newborn. Now that Maxi’s sleep habits are a bit more predictable, I gauge when she will get up and try to get up about 3 hours prior. Lately, I have been getting up at 5 and while it’s rough after feeding her at 3:30 or 4, it’s worth it to get my best work done! This way, by the time she is up for the day I have showered, answered e-mails and maybe cranked out a blog post. I feel much more organized, which helps me to be a better mom. Try getting up 15 minutes earlier for a week, then 30, then an hour if need be. An extra hour in the mornings helps so much and allows you to have more free time in the afternoon or evenings to do something you love! By me getting up earlier, I’m also able to get my work finished so I can maybe sneak in a nap later on in the day or get to bed once Maxi is asleep. I honestly find that if I get up earlier, I’m given more opportunities for sleep which helps me to be rested. Whereas, if I sleep in more I’m frazzled throughout the day, constantly behind and staying up late to finish tasks.

  • Apps

I won’t harp too much on apps here, because I’m not a big app person. But because of that, the apps I do use I truly love! I already mentioned keeping Google Drive on your phone, but I’d also add Planoly, Cozi and 30/30. Planoly is the app I use to schedule out my social media for the week. I like to do this on Friday before the following week. Granted, unless you work in social media or as a blogger that app will probably be of no use to you. However, for me it’s a life saver! The next app I love is Cozi. Now this is considered a family planner, but anyone could use this app married or not! I love to make lists on my phone for things like items I need to purchase or products I’m interested in, but Cozi keeps¬†my lists, grocery list, planner and appointments all in one hub. It also allows you to share the calendar with family members so Paul knows when we have commitments ahead of time. He can let me know when he has appointments on the weekends so I’m not planning something for us he can’t do. Lastly, I love 30/30 for when I’m working. There are definitely times when I’m able to sit for hours and answer e-mails or write a blog post. But to¬†clear my inbox out in a day would require me to sit for 8 hours. There is never a day that would work out! Paul helped me a lot to just give myself time increments here or there to accomplish tasks and it works so much better than I thought. Before Maxi, if I would spend 8 hours answering e-mails I found it took longer than it should have because I’d get tired from the specific task and would dawdle around in my inbox. Now I use 30/30 and set up a list of tasks with a timer. So during Maxi’s naps I’ll give myself 30 minutes to answer e-mails and 30 minutes to write a blog post. When the timer goes off, I move on. I find I’m so much more efficient when I cycle my work this way.

  • Schedule Productive Quality Time

Schedule productive quality time for your relationship. Now that Paul and I have less free time together, I want to make sure the time we do have together is productive. I don’t mean I want to go¬†take care of our flower beds or meal plan, in fact, I want to take our quality time and get away from chores. But I also want to get away from unproductive conversations. Sometimes we can be so tired and we will watch a movie and talk and I realize we just spent 3 quality hours scrolling our phones and talking about things that don’t matter. That “unwind” time is important for anyone, but it’s not how I want to consistently spend time with my husband. Last Saturday I made it a point for us to have a few hours together having productive conversations and just enjoying that time. We put our phones away, left the TV off, Maxi was asleep and we sat in our room talking. I think we talked for 3 hours about SO many things [none of which involved things we needed to do] and it felt so good. It was productive for our relationship to have those uninterrupted hours like we did when we were dating. Make it a point to carve out a little slot each week with your spouse and have that time doing whatever would nourish your relationship most. I take that time to not vent, not complain and not nag about things we’ve got to get done because none of those things would be productive!

  • Schedule Home Maintenance

Last year I shared my cleaning schedule and here is the post if you are curious! While I love the feeling I have after a deep clean, I don’t want to spend 6 hours cleaning my house on the weekends. I break it up into little tasks each day so that it’s a lot less work. This also helps so much with a busy schedule because if something doesn’t get done one day, you just move it to the next day.¬†My mom always reminds me of this because it’s less guilt to not do one chore, than it is to just not clean your house when you were supposed to do it all in one day.

  • Be Conscientious of Waiting Time

We all have those free minutes waiting. Doctor’s offices, standing in lines or waiting for a friend at a restaurant are all moments we can accomplish little things. When you have to wait, it’s so easy to want to automatically be annoyed someone else isn’t on your schedule. Instead of being irritated, I always remind myself this is a huge blessing. I’m given 15 or so¬†uninterrupted¬†minutes to check e-mails, respond to texts and check off my lists.

  • Keep An Hour or Two Free

When I’m planning my weeks it’s so easy to get overzealous and schedule every spare moment. #TypeAForLife Depending on your schedule, allot some free time in case other tasks run late. For me, I always need to keep an hour or two in my day free because things will always come up or take longer than I plan!

  • Sunday Evening Scheduling

Lastly, take advantage of Sunday evenings. I really like to give Paul and Maxi uninterrupted time together to bond since she is with me while he is at work. I let them do tummy time together and he will give her a bath and read to her. I know that time is so important for them, so I will stay in my office for that hour and plan for the week. I outline my schedule for the week, plan out my shoots for the blog and lay out all my clothes. Ironing or steaming ahead of time is one of the biggest tips my mom taught me to save time in the morning. Because once I get Maxi fed and changed, I always have less than 5 minutes before we have to head out the door to meet a friend or get her to an appointment. If everything is out on my clothing rack, I’m doing fine on time!

Do you have any time management tips you live by?! I’d love to know! Or what is your biggest priority right now in life?

XOXOKatey-2

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17 Comments

  1. Thank you for the advice. Major admiration for you – how do you balance everything! I’m much more disorganised and I’m not even a mom!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  2. Tawny wrote:

    I’ve always been one of those people who try to clean the entire house in one weekend day. Something else would always come up and it wouldn’t get done and I was feeling so stressed out on Monday mornings when my house wasn’t clean. I admire the way you always seem to have everything put together so I searched for your cleaning routine post and started my own routine this week. I already feel so much better knowing that this weekend I can actually enjoy my days off. It really doesn’t take that long in the evenings to check off a few tasks. Thank you for being so real and for focusing on all aspects of our busy lives from fashion to daily chores.

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  3. Yes girl, yes! Living with intentionality is so important! It helps us live a proactive life instead of a reactive life!

    http://www.veiledfree.com

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  4. Caitlin wrote:

    Thanks for sharing all this wonderful advice Katey! Sometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day and I’m not even a momma! I don’t know how you do it!

    xo, Caitlin
    http://caitlincarol.com

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  5. Laura wrote:

    Your words are so helpful and although I’m not a mom I work as a professional and can relate so much to this article. This morning I prayed and asked God to strengthen me. My work life can weigh me down and your words encourage me!! Thank you. Your blog today was an answered prayer. ????????????????

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  6. This is one of my favorite posts, Katey. Your insight is so helpful and motivating me to make my days more productive. I’ve heard great things about Planoly, so I’m excited to finally download it!

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  7. Lindsey wrote:

    Thanks for this post Katey! I just started working from home full time and am working to establish a productive routine at home! It’s only been a month, so I am still adjusting to my new schedule/routine.

    One app that I LOVE is the Wunderlist. It also syncs with a desktop app. It sounds somewhat similar to Cozi, except this is just for lists.

    I have lists for everything! For example: daily to do, long term to do, Publix list, Target/Costco, Home Depot, family to dos, weekly meals, new years resolutions/intentions. I can’t live without lists.

    Separating my lists by store, really helps me. For instance, on my Publix/grocery list, I add items in categories (ex, P [for produce] P:Berries, P: mushrooms, D [dairy] D:eggs D:cheese) so that when I go into the app in the store I can sort from A to Z and then REALLY QUICKLY get all my necessary items in each section of the grocery before moving on.

    I work at an accounting firm so it’s safe to say I’m pretty Type-A as well! ha! ūüôā

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Okay, I love that!!! And which that I’m downloading the app and dividing into categories! You just made my Type A heart so happy! haha! Thank you for reading girl. ūüôā

      Published 23 Mar 17Reply
      • Kelsie wrote:

        First, LOVE this post. Second, I have to second the Wunderlist obsession! It’s the BEST!

        My fav part is that you can share lists with friends/family (sounds similar to the one you discussed) so my husband can add to it and it syncs on mine in real time. It’s AMAZING for grocery shopping, target, etc., it’s even more awesome when I’m in the shower (where all my best thinking happens) & think of something we need & can just yell out and ask him to add it to the list. :))

        I also share lists with my mom & friends that has books we’re reading or want to try, sephora things I want to try, etc.

        Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  8. Lindsey wrote:

    Since you and Paul both work full time, how to do you “split up” chores/errands? Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by being lucky enough to have a career that allows me to WFH because I feel like the “burden” of cooking/cleaning/errands is more on me. I know this is in my head, but I do have the thought! I know my hubby is great about helping. For instance, we love to travel and he plans almost ALL of our trips down to a T. He also spends a lot of time each month working on our finances to make sure we are paying our bills, hitting our savings goals etc. If you are open to sharing, are there any “set” things that Paul does in your routine that you find really helpful to keeping that balance?

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Lindsey!

      Love this question, thank you so much for reading! Before Maxi, I definitely preferred to take on more of the chores because I felt as a wife that is what I wanted to do to make things easier on Paul. However, it can feel like a lot when you work from home. Now that Maxi is here that thought process has completely gone out the window just because we really have to both do things to get it all accomplished. Right now we view it as, “Whoever isn’t taking care of Maxi helps around the house.” So while I’m feeding her, he will unload the dishwasher and if he is giving her a bath, I will fold the laundry. But we do have a bit of a routine down and this is how it normally ends up!

      I’ll do deep cleaning [just because I prefer to do it! ūüėČ ]
      Paul will fold laundry, put it away and unload the dishwasher
      I’ll cook,vacuum, dust and put clothes in the washer
      Paul handles all of our outside chores [yard work, etc. LOL at me doing yard work, THAT would be something to see!]
      I pick up all the clutter, tidy up and organize things as need be!

      I hope this helps! ūüôā

      xoxo,

      Katey

      Published 27 Mar 17Reply
  9. Amanda wrote:

    Would you share what your nail color is. It is a really pretty pink. Great advice and reminder about how to use our time wisely and productively!!! Thank you, Amanda

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Amanda!

      It is OPI Let’s Be Friends!

      xo,

      Katey

      Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  10. Your pajamas are so cute!!! <3

    BlondieInTheCity.com

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  11. Jessica Contreras wrote:

    This last week I have felt so emotionally and physically exhausted by all of the roles that I play in my life and for others. I am a graduate student, working full-time and a girlfriend. Your advice is going to help me find that extra time for myself! I especially love the part about not feeling guilty about things I can’t get done because in the end most of those things aren’t that important.
    Thank you so much for this post!
    -Jessica

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  12. Amanda wrote:

    Thank you Katey. I will have to get that nail color. I love it. But double wow, when you read that other women go through what you feel every day, it’s really comforting. I’m not a mom, but a 3rd grade school teacher, and wife. So, I feel like a mom, teacher, counselor, nurse, etc. you get the idea. I love Jesus with all my heart, but many times I do enter my day task first and not priority first. Then, at the end of January, my brother passed away unexpectedly and the reality hit hard what does really matter. Thank you ladies for sharing these thoughts today, and Katey, for esp reminding us that whether it’s my husband or parents or friend, take TIME to really be present with each other and not on your phones or iPads. Many Blessings and again Thank you for such quality in your blogs!!

    Published 23 Mar 17Reply
  13. Katie wrote:

    Love these tips! I just ordered a new Day Designer but it’s so important to manage your time to make sure that you’re making the best use of your time!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

    Published 24 Mar 17Reply