Hi friends! Happy Tuesday!
Hope everyone had a terrific weekend. My dad, sister, and niece were in town. We had SO much fun as we always do when we get the two babies together 🙂 My sister Krystle and I are also collaborating on something VERY exciting, so I cannot wait to share more about that soon!
As ya’ll know, I have been reading AND I have to admit I gave in and started listening to Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living via the Audible app. I just found that I was able to get more “reading” done if I listened. I love that the author Shauna Niequist is the one reading her own words, as she delivers them as she envisioned them being read. On the way to work instead of listening to music, I fill myself up with the amazing perspective of the book. I’ll also lay in my bed and listen to it when Max is napping.
Anyway, not filling your plate to the brim is one of the major themes of the book and something that I whole heartedly believe in. I even included that concept on my very first version of the About Ames page on this blog.
People often comment under my Instagram photos, how do you find the time? You are super mom! ect.
I don’t know about super mom, but I do have strategies I use to make the most out of my day. And I’m not perfect at it, so there times that I faulter as well.
I did want to do a post with a few tips for managing time better AND rules that I live by, in case it can help you to find more balance! Thanks to my friend Sarah for requesting this blog 🙂
Keeping the BALANCE in BalancedAmes
Plan ahead. Okay, so you might be thinking “duh, Amy” but hear me out. Drew and I will start the week by figuring out when each of us can get our workouts in and any other events that we have aside from the normal schedule. Example: if Drew has a going away party for one of his coworkers, we find it best to add that to our plan for the week instead of just mentioning the day of.
Nick and Amanda have more of a standing schedule, which works really well for them, so that’s another option (Amanda works out before work, Nick works out after work). With my nursing schedule (the days I work change each week), Drew and I need to be a bit more flexible. Planning at the beginning of the week is great to make sure that we’re on the same page. Do you plan your workouts?
Time Chunking. I’ve talked about this a few times in the past, but it is the key to being efficient during the day.
Day Home with Max
*I’m skipping Max’s awake time because that includes baby tasks like feeding, playing, bathing, cuddling, changing diapers, repeat.
4:30am: Drew wakes up and goes to the gym.
5:45am: I wake up and go to the gym. Drew hasn’t left for work yet, and Maxwell is still sleeping which allows Drew to get ready.
7am: Get back from the gym and have breakfast.
7:15am: Maxwell wakes up.
9:00am: Maxwell naps. If I haven’t showered yet, I shower first. Then I begin time chunking. He sleeps for 1-2 hours, so the key is doing the most important things first.
In 25 minute time chunks his nap might look like this:
25 minutes: Clean/do laundry. During this chunk I typically will listen to a podcast. Which is nice because it serves as both inspiration/makes the time go by pretty fast.
10 min: Snack/hydrate/go to the bathroom.
25 minutes: Work on the blog post for the next day. Typically this chunk goes really fast and I will just automatically roll into the next 25 minute chunk to try to get as much done as I can.
10:15 am: Max wakes up from nap.
1:00pm: Max’s second nap of the day. The time chunking would very similar to the one above. I do make sure that if I haven’t already, I have lunch before going about the rest of this nap period.
Sidenote: When I was talking to my friend the other day I let her know that I do also take 25 minute chunks to just REST or READ. I deeply believe in that because otherwise you spend your whole day going, going, going and you never take time to reset or inspire yourself.
3:00pm: Maxwell wakes up from nap.
5:30pm: Drew gets home from work. Spend time as a family of three.
7:00pm: Maxwell goes down for the night.
7:30pm: Drew and I have dinner together. This is the only time of the day we really have to connect, so we make sure this is a no phone zone.
8:00pm: Either spend more time together, or do things we need to get done. I might hop on the computer and finish a blog post. Drew may have a work related task to do or something around the house.
9:00pm: Shower and get ready for bed.
9:30pm: Ready for lights out.
Work Day Example
4:55am: Wake up. One of my keys is not having to rush. I like plenty of time in the morning, especially since sometimes feeding and changing Max takes longer. Additionally, 95% of the time I eat a hot breakfast (eggs and turkey sausage.
5:00am: Get ready for work.
5:15am: Feed Maxwell.
5:25am: Make breakfast and pump while eating.
5:50am: If it is a blog post day, I’ll read it over one more time and post it. If not, I start listening to Audible app.
6:10am: Leave for work
7am-3:30pm: Nursing shift. I do still pump twice around 10am and 1:00pm.
4:15pm: Pick Maxwell up from daycare!!!
4:20pm-7:00pm: Spend as much time with Max as possible. Put him down at 7pm.
7:30pm: Eat dinner with Drew.
8:00pm: Workout in basement, (typically going to the gym this late does not work for me), or work on the blog, or just spend time with Drew.
9:30pm: Lights out.
The work days are a bit more full commitment wise, but I typically do use one 30 minute time chunk in the evening to get something done. This does depend on the day, I try to plan my gym workouts on my off days.
Say no. This is one of the repetitive themes of BalancedAmes. Women have trouble saying no to things because many of us are innately are people pleasers. But going through life like this leaves you little time to take care of yourself OR it may lead to skimping on the time with the most important people (a huge theme in Present Over Perfect). Drew and I make sure that at least once a month, we have a weekend planned to stay home and focus on the three of us. Otherwise, every weekend I’m off gets booked up and then we feel like we’re constantly on the go.
It’s okay to ask for help or a break. If I’m overwhelmed with what I have to get done, I ask for help or a break. Sometimes I’ll feel overwhelmed and ask my husband if I can take some time for myself to reset. Aside from working out this could be going to a coffee shop to read a book and then heading to get my eyebrows waxed. It sounds simple, but figure out what helps you reset. When I get back home I’m SO excited to scoop my little guy back up and return to being momma. Even before Maxwell, I found that it was really nice to find some time for just me.
Start your week with a full fridge. For most people, it is weekdays that bring the craziness. Even if we’re out of town or DON’T feel like grocery shopping, we make sure that we’re ready for the week to come. This way, you don’t have to do this task during the week saving valuable weekday time AND you’re less likely to have to eat out or make a less than desirable choice.
Workout on the weekends. I typically workout on Saturday and Sunday because it’s much easier to get to the gym with Drew home to watch Max. We both workout on Saturday morning, usually Drew first and then me. And on Sunday, I sneak some time in during the morning. Think about if this makes sense for you too! This means your rest days can fall during the week, which may make things less hectic.
Stop thinking of TV shows as a “must-do” activity. Drew and I do have cable, so I’m not typing this point to say “I watch ZERO TV.” But, over the past coupe years I have let go of having “must-see” every single week shows. This will save you loads of time. If you cannot free yourself from all shows, at least try to narrow it down to the one or two that you really want to see. Over here, we love watching SharkTank together on Fridays!
Keeping yourself accountable. Yesterday was a PERFECT example of this. I had PLANNED with Drew that I would workout in the morning before Maxwell woke up. Well the alarm went off, and I just turned it off and kept sleeping. Blame it on the Packer blues. I DO hold myself accountable for getting that workout in later in the day. So at 8:20pm when I started doing my my workout because I didn’t get it done at 6am, I’m like “SHOOT I SHOULD’VE just got up when I was supposed to!” This isn’t punishment, it is an accountability factor rather than just saying “I’ll do it tomorrow”.
Simple getting ready routine. On the days I’m home with Max, I typically go without makeup and my hair is on top of my head. I like to give my skin a break from makeup and it does save time. I also know what I’ll be wearing each day: workout leggings, a sports bra, and a comfortable top. This also saves time! If I am working that day, my time to put makeup on and get my scrubs on is legit 10 minutes. I shower at night, let my hair dry overnight. That might not work for everyone, but it works really well for me. Are you spending too much time getting ready?
Don’t skimp on sleep. Ya’ll I for sure practice what I preach when it comes to getting on bed at time. It makes a huge difference for my mood and productivity. Read my sleep blogs (latest one here) if you missed them! One of my top 5 favorite quotes:
“The irony of it all is that many of us are suffering from sleep deprivation so we can work more, but the drop in performance ruins any potential benefits of working additional hours.” -James Clear
After spending the past couple years researching sleep, I make sure to get to bed on time. Sleep deprivation impacts us in many different way, including having some detrimental health affects. Control what you can control: I cannot control if Max wakes up a couple times due to teething, but I can control that I’m in bed at 9:30pm.
I hope some of these tips help you! Most of the time, I can happily say that I don’t feel like I’m running around at a frenetic pace. Even with Maxwell, I feel well rested. 🙂
As an extreme side note, one of my Instagram followers also asked for my hair curling routine. I wanted to share it, because this also only takes me 10 minutes to curl my hair.
Start with dry hair. I know a lot of people say dirty hair curls better, but I’ll curl my hair freshly washed and it works just fine for me. I use this teasing brush to tease the hair at the side of my face. Next I use this Conair curling wand to do the curls (it is $24.99 and I’ve had it for 5 years, works perfect!). Hold the wand vertical and then I curl away from my face. I don’t start too high, and then I just curl to the point where I can still safely hold the piece of hair I’m curling. I don’t use the glove, but when I started I did! I use TRESemme Tres Two Hair Spray after each curl or two. I put this ORIBE Apres Beach Wave and Shine Spray in after the curls are in and create volume by pushing my hair up with my fingers. Next and key for the loose curls: I brush my hair so that curls are looser and have more volume. It is key to do this after they have cooled down!
As you can see I wrote this blog post from two reader suggestions, so comment here or on Instagram and I’ll try to answer your questions!