This is a guest post from Gem, who lives in Australia with her husband and three young children. She blogs at www.thegoalchaser.com where she documents her mission to simplify, find a more balanced and intentional life and to chase those big ‘someday’ goals of hers. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
5 Simple Steps to Make Time for Your Goals
You’re a busy mother.
But you probably also have goals that you really want to achieve. Maybe one that excites you and gives you something that is yours – outside of your role as a mother.
You’ve got kids who need you 24/7. A husband. A job. The housework needs doing. Babysitters are hard to come by and you’re barely sleeping as it is.
Getting up at 4am is not an option. And there’s no point in imagining large chunks of uninterrupted time to yourself. Forget staying up until all hours of the night to get things done – we all know how that ends.
So where are you possibly going to find time to fit something else in?
(Especially something JUST for yourself?)
Well, it’s not easy but with a little planning and some clear focus, it’s definitely doable!
In fact, up until a few months ago, I would have told you there was no way I could dedicate 11 hours a week to set up a blog (a big goal of mine). After my three little cherubs are tucked up for the evening, I’m often exhausted and ready to zone out in front of Netflix for the rest of the evening!
But doing that every night won’t get me far in the long run. It was time to get more strategic with my time. And surprise, surprise, I found 11 hours every week that I now block off for working on my goals.
So, no matter what your goal is – it might be starting a blog, starting a home business, writing a novel or running a marathon, the following 5 steps will help you to work out the how and when of achieving your big goals:
Related: 15 work at home jobs for moms
1: Break Down Your Goal into smaller steps
Big goals are amazing and exciting. They can also be really overwhelming.
So, the best way to make them more manageable is to write down all the steps required to take you from where you are right now to where you will be hitting that goal.
List out every single step of what will be required. Bonus points if you also write down how long it will take to complete each step.
2: Create a schedule + Block Out Your Non-Negotiables
No matter how much we try to simplify life, there are always things that need to be done, and at set times. No point denying it.
Consider a normal week for you. What are your ‘must-dos’ (school runs, activities, work, sleep, appointments, meal times, date nights, travel etc)? Create a physical calendar with these activities listed.
This weekly template will allow you to take a bird’s eye view of how you spend your time. Block out all your non-negotiables and be sure to include plenty of time for sleep!
Sometimes we tend to think that these things take up a lot more of our time than they really do. But when they are all mapped out in front of us, you may notice a lot more ‘white-space’ than you originally thought.
3: Identify all chunks of ‘alone’ time in your schedule
Highlight all chunks of 30 minutes or more where you can get uninterrupted time to yourself (after the kids go to bed at night, naptimes, screen time for the kids, babysitters, when hubby takes over, if you wake before the kids etc).
You are just highlighting these as possibilities. It doesn’t mean you now set ALL of this time towards working on your goals – remember I promised you didn’t have to give up Netflix?
4: Block out Time for Your Goals
Stand back and take a look at your weekly schedule and the white-space and unallocated time available to you.
Highlight chunks of time that will work for you and your life. Depending on your goal, some steps may need to be completed at certain times (i.e. a weight loss goal may require you to attend a Spin class at 8pm on a Monday & Wednesday night? Or to write that novel you may need to write 1,000 words every day and you work better in the mornings?).
You will need to find a balance that works for you and your family. It will also depend on what stage and season of motherhood you are currently in, so be realistic and kind to yourself.
For me, I have most evenings after the kids go to bed as uninterrupted and unscheduled time. But I don’t want to burn out, be unproductive in other areas of life or completely blank my husband. So, I find that allocating Monday and Thursday nights after the kids go to bed to working on my goals is best- that alone is 6 hours per week! Add in a few naptimes and quiet playtime and I have blocked a total of 11 hours per week to work on my goals.
By blocking out the time for your goals, it will also allow you to be fully present in the other hours – allowing you to focus on the other important areas of your life.
5: Use The Time Effectively
The next step is marrying up all the steps required to achieve your goal, with the time you have available.
I’m sure you would agree, to a busy mother, 11 hours per week is enormous! You may be able to allocate less or more time, depending on your situation. Either way, once you’ve blocked out the time, it’s about how you use it effectively. Figure out which actives will take you he farthest – and focus on those.
Coupled with the list of steps required to get to your goal, you will know exactly what you need to work on next, therefore creating laser focus and saving time.
You will be surprised with what you can achieve in these dedicated hours each week!
Related: How to be a HAPPY stay at home mom
If you’re craving the challenge of a big goal, it’s important to recognise this and find a way to incorporate it into your busy life.
The above steps are simple but effective ways to carve out some precious time to honor yourself. It does take a bit of orchestrating at first but fear not, your family will still be fed, clothed and loved. They will also benefit from having a happy and content mother who is chasing her goals.