new yearHappy 2014!  I hope you and yours had a lovely holiday season, and that the new year brings lots of good things to you.

The start of the new year always means resolutions, and like many people, I make resolutions that rarely stick beyond the winter months.  But this year, I’m really pushing to make a change.  Ever since I quit working full-time to be a stay-at-home mama with my firstborn (almost three years ago now – where does the time go?!) and most particularly since our second was born 14 months ago, I find myself struggling daily to get through everything I had hoped to accomplish during the day.  And I’m not just talking about errands that needed running or rooms that needed cleaning; a lot of days I don’t feel like I’ve read enough, played enough or laughed enough with the boys either (which leads me to wonder what the heck I AM doing during the day).

I for one am tired of feeling that way.  I’m tired of missing out on time with the kids, of being grouchy and frazzled and of feeling like the days slip away and nothing gets done.

I want to manage my time better so I can play more and run around less.

So, how exactly am I going to do this? Well…

1. Make – and stick to – To Do Lists

I’ll admit part of my problem with getting things done during the day is that I forget things constantly.  From forgetting to defrost chicken in time for dinner, to returning emails or phone calls, to things like forgetting to make appointments or order new contact lenses.  Writing a to-do list always helped me stay organized while working, and I know it’ll help me stay focused even here at home.  Plus, I have to admit, I love the satisfaction of crossing things off during the day.

2. Put away Distractions

Thank goodness for my iPhone.  It provides me with entertainment and news while I’m nursing, occupies my oldest when he’s in a mood, and helps me stay in touch with friends and family.  But Facebook, Instagram, Imgur, Pinterest…all those things suck me into a black hole.  I grab my phone for a “quick” peek at Facebook, and end up trolling the net somehow for a lot longer than I intended.  Putting my phone away while the kids are up ensures I’ll be spending my time on what I need to be doing, and will set a good example for the boys to follow as they grow too.

3. Reorganize my Morning Routine

I mentioned before that I have early risers, and that I like to get up before them in order to have time for a cup of coffee and a shower.  I used to find myself saying I would do things (like exercise or return emails) after the kids went to bed, but the truth is, I’m totally useless by then.  After a full day and an early morning, I just want to relax and spend time with my husband, not worry about doing more things.  I’m adding yoga to my mornings (instead of emailing and blogging) and moving that to later in the day.  I love doing yoga before starting my day – it really does help me to feel centered and stronger, and I feel better getting some exercise!

4.  Plan Meals

I love the idea of cooking.  I love having home cooked meals.  I know having family dinners is important for kids growing up.  Heck, I married a guy who was a sous chef for crying out loud.  Yet, dinner is the bane of my existence.  I cannot for the life of me plan meals ahead of time, and instead am always scrambling around trying to piece together meals for my incredibly picky eaters, which means dinner is usually a hot mess of crying kids and a stressed out mom (and usually something pretty lame for my husband when he gets home from a long day at work).  I need to take a few minutes each week and plan our meals so making dinner can be stress-free (or at least…as stress-free as it can be with two kids clinging to your legs).

5. Keep Priorities in Mind

My family is my first priority.  If that means some days the laundry has to sit, or I have to say no to an obligation, so be it.  There isn’t enough time to worry about the things that don’t really matter at the end of the day!