Okay, so here it is, I am going to be completely honest with you. Being a mom is hard, really hard. Like harder than anything I have ever done in my life. The first month of motherhood I literally felt like I was drowning. I slept all of maybe 7 hours total in one month. A lot of the time I just felt like a walking zombie with a cute little alien attached to me. Woah. The whole thing is so surreal.
I totally understand now why you always hear moms complain about being tired and overwhelmed, stressed and braindead. I get it. Being a mother really does take the wind out of you. But, like most moms told me, “It gets easier” and it does. Once Roman got to about 3 months I finally started to get some of my life back. I still was wearing my hair in a bun and yoga clothes on the regular but I definitely felt like I was getting back to myself.
Now that Roman is 5 months and sleeping very well, I feel like a new woman. And to be honest, I actually have become a new woman in more ways that I imagined. However, there is one area in particular I feel that I have become a boss in and I am thankful for what becoming a mom has taught me.
I AM A TIME BATCHING BAD ASS.
According to Brazen.com, ‘Time batching is a simple time-management productivity hack that allows you to take advantage of your full concentration by grouping a bunch of similar activities together and doing them all at the same time.’
Let me give you a little more backstory here. Having Roman in my life has totally changed the way I see time. I used to have my whole day to give to my business. I could spend 7 hours blogging at once, a full days work on a project or travel on a whim. Now, things look much different. I am very aware of ‘time’. I discovered that as a mom with a new baby, 5 minutes is a very long time. I learned quickly that I had to focus intently on Romans time management. There’s napping, tummy time, developmental activities, etc. All of these things require that you pay a lot of attention to time. I even have a handy little white board where I jot down, feed times and nap times, every single day.
Once I began paying attention to ‘time’, everything changed for me. I’ve always been the type to plan my day but never before I had I been so ‘down to the minute’.
Looking back I realize, this whole thing really started after I did some research on Sleep Training. I decided to read the book BabyWise & try and get Roman on a regular nap schedule so he could sleep through the night. I learned all about this routine for babies that goes on a 3 hour cycle: Feed. Waketime. Nap. I like this particular routine because it allows Roman to determine when he wants to sleep but I get to control the flow of schedule and his routine. So, if Roman wakes up at 7:00, I keep him awake for an hour to play then put him down for a nap as soon as I see the sleep signals. This cycle repeats throughout the day until bedtime. As he gets older, the playtime increases, its not super strict but there is a set routine that he now is used to so he always knows that after a certain amount of play, its time for him to sleep. This whole routine works wonders for us. It sets me up to know exactly when & how much time I have to accomplish things I need to.
Now to the good stuff…
So, as I began to understand how amazing ‘time batching’ works for my baby, I started to really implement it in my own life and I am absolutely blown away. This stuff really works. I am so focused on making sure that my baby gets quality time with me and I am fully present. I also am prioritizing my business, blog, books and passions because those things feed me and make me happy. Happy mommy = happy baby. It’s very important to me that I still keep my own passions as priority in my life and keep creating my work. With this new time management hack, I feel like I am killing it.
Let me break it down for you a little bit more.
When Roman goes down to sleep at the end of the day, I plan the next day for myself. I write down a list of priorities or things I want to do for the next day in my planner. That way, when I wake up I have an idea of what I need to do. So that the next morning, after I get Roman down for his first nap of the day, I can plan how I will use that time. This is where “time batching” comes in.
It’s allotting yourself a specific amount of time for each activity and during that time you block out all other distractions and activities so that you can focus completely on the task at hand. For example, I LOVE a bubble bath and my bath time is a non-negotiable for me. I give myself 20 minutes for my bath. During the bath, I do my instagram posts, commenting, scrolling, planning, etc. That’s my time for that. and only that! I don’t take phone calls or respond to text messages, I focus solely on my instagramming. Then, I’ll get to my next things. For me, it usually is 25 minute breakfast break. Then 30 minutes for creating content, this could be a blog post, recording a podcast, going to an appointment or meeting over breakfast, taking a call, etc. Each activity gets a specific amount of time. When the time is up, we move on. It’s almost like having a personal assistant keeping you on schedule. I like to keep it very strict and very specific and it REALLY helps me to be clear, focused and I find that I get things done a lot more efficiently than ever before.
While I used to be able to obsess over something for hours, having a specific time allotted to each activity sort of takes the clutter out of my day. I am loving it!!! That way when Roman wakes up and I am caring for him, I am focused on him and not the 2938901 things going on in my head.
When you know you will get to something because you make specific time for that activity, there is a freedom that comes with that and power. Which gives you confidence in how you are approaching your day. It’s also wonderful because you have control of your time and can fit it your self care as well. I make a specific amount of time for me to go for a walk and grab iced coffee. I do it when I can take Roman for a relaxing walk, I also wear workout clothes and make a workout out of the walk. It’s killing 3 birds with one stone. Wait, actually 4 because I typically listen to a podcast or other learning tool while I am at it. I feel like the most productive mom ever!
HERE’S WHY TIME BATCHING WORKS:
It reduces the time it takes to start something. For instance, the time it takes to load your e-mail inbox might not seem like much, but it adds up over time when you are doing it all day, which is actually a distraction. Also, the mental energy you spend moving around from different tasks draining on your mental energy.
It will eliminate all the excess clutter. Instead of writing blog posts here and there all week, I can choose one day of the week to focus on all my blog posts. Instead of having several scans of my inbox each day, I usually only do one (typically when Roman’s dad is watching him). Instead of doing my podcasts over time, I do them one day a week.
It will dramatically improve your focus. As you work for longer on one specific task, you can begin to enter what they call flow. Flow is the state of mind where work becomes easy and distractions melt away. Successful batching is like meditation for your work. How blissful is that?!
A few tips for how you can begin using the BATCHING method…
Phone calls. I make a list of all the calls I need to make and I make them at the same time everyday. You can also do that with conference calls, I decided to schedule all work calls on Tuesdays. Period.
Cleaning house. I give myself about 30 minutes before I wind down at night to tidy things up, wash Romans bottles, etc.
Emails. You should totally read the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferris. He is king of time batching and he recommends only checking emails once a day. I haven’t gotten there quite yet but I am down to 3 times a day and it makes a HUGE difference.
Responding to text messages. This is a BIG one but if you time batch texting, this is HUGE for your time.
Social Media. Give yourself 30 minutes, twice a day or something like that to tend to these areas.
Meal planning. This isn’t just for fitness buffs, meal planning for the week is something you should do on Sunday and plan out your meals for the week. This helps you save a ton of time rushing around for last minute meals.
As a mom and entrepreneuress, EVERY SECOND COUNTS. Time Batching helps you to be wise with it.
Now, in terms of counting the time, you can use the timer on your phone but I really recommend a timing device. I found this adorable little kitchen timer to be really helpful.
I always write down my priority lists in my planner. For a long time this was my planner set up but I recently bought this pretty holographic planner and it is what I am currently using now. I like that its a spiral and I can fold it in half to write on my desk, it just doesn’t take up as much space.
Okay moms, so I would love to know if you have any other Mom hacks to share. I am all about being a good mom but also an efficient and blissful mom so your tips are so appreciated. Let me know your suggestions in the comments below. XO