You’re busy, Mama.
I know. I’m right there with you.
I spent a lot of time pushing all of my goals to the back burner in order to keep up with the demands of being a parent and partner. I had a super clean house and a happy family, but what about me? I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled.
After feeling this way for a while I realized that it was time for a change. I took out my planner and started deciding what I wanted the following year to look like. I planned big projects and set big goals.
I knew that in order to love my life the way I wanted I needed to start working toward goals that were just for me. So that’s what I did.
On my journey to balancing personal fulfillment and motherhood I’ve learned a lot.
I’m sharing the 5 steps that I follow to make the most of my limited time so I can tackle those big projects.
5 Steps to Project Success for Moms
1. Make a schedule (and stick to it)
All of these steps are important, but making a schedule might be the most important. As moms we are pulled in so many directions and the needs of everyone else often overshadow our own. This leads to a day filled with taking care of business, but never any time for taking of ourselves or working toward our personal goals.
The way I stay on track to meeting my goals is by intentionally setting aside time to work on them. I put it on my calendar and then when that time comes, I do it.
If it sounds simple, that’s because it is… kind of. In order to get things done that are just for me I have to shut off my mom brain for just a little bit to focus on myself and that can be hard.
My time for projects is scheduled for early in the morning before my son wakes up, during nap time or after bed time. When these times roll around I resist the urge to unload the dishwasher, fold the laundry or get lost in the endless scroll of social media. All those things can wait. When it’s your scheduled project time – take it! Time for mamas is precious.
2. Plan your project
I love planning. I’ve had a physical planner for as long as I can remember. (This is the one I use currently & highly recommend!) Planning the details of your project is so important, because the time you have to work on it is limited. In order to make the most of your time you need to be organized.
I break down each big project into the small steps I’m going to have to take to accomplish it.
If I’m building a piece of furniture these steps include things like writing up project plans, shopping for lumber, cutting the wood, sanding, building (usually in several stages), finishing and finally moving the project to its final home.
Making detailed plans of what my project is going to require helps me to get right to work when my project time rolls around. I don’t have to sit and think, “Okay, now what should I do next?” The steps are already planned out and I don’t waste anytime fumbling around trying to figure out the process.
3. Set little goals
When I’m working through a big project I set daily, weekly and monthly goals. I write these goals in my planner so that I see them every day. Then, each day I work to complete the steps I’ve planned out and meet those goals. Setting a ‘due date’ for my goals really helps me to stay on track.
Last year after seeing how expensive patio furniture was I set the goal to build all the furniture for our deck. I knew this would take me a while, so I stretched the goal out over a couple months. One month I focused on building an outdoor sofa. The next month I focused on an outdoor dining table. And then, I focused on smaller side tables and decor. Each week I set goals to accomplish the specific steps I would need to take to finish my big project.
Setting little goals helps me to feel accomplished. My time (and probably yours too) for my personal projects is limited so it can feel like I’m working forever but hardly making any progress. Setting small goals and then meeting those goals helps me to see that I’m moving forward. And all of those little steps are what leads to the completion of a big project.
4. Anticipate setbacks
Those kiddos are unpredictable. Sometimes they’re sick or refusing to nap or just really, really need their mama. That’s okay. We’re moms. We know that the best laid plans are always subject to change.
Building my deck furniture was one of the first big projects I decided to take on after having my son. I had just quit my job to stay home with him full time and felt so motivated to finally start knocking things off my big to do list.
This project felt like it took FOREVER! I used to build a big piece of furniture in a couple days, now it was taking me weeks! It was frustrating. But, I had those little goals set and I slowly started reaching each one. I had to adjust my vision of what personal projects would look like because kids really do change everything.
My furniture eventually got built and it felt so good to crush that big goal! All of those little steps led to completing my big goal. I realized that even if I’m moving slowly, I’m still moving and that’s so much better than standing still.
Don’t forget to celebrate when you reach those big project milestones! Seriously! Even if it’s just stepping back from your completed project to admire it with a sense of accomplishment. We work hard and we deserve to have a little celebration of that hard work.
You keep working toward your goals, Mama, and don’t forget to do a little happy dance when you get there.
Start crushing goals
As a mom it is easy to ignore our personal goals in order to take care of everyone and everything around us. BUT it doesn’t have to be that way!
Your goals and personal development are important, Mama! Making time for yourself will lead to being a better, happier mom. (Trust me, I know.)
Start setting (& crushing) goals today by making a schedule and sticking to it. Plan out the details of your project so you always know your next step. Set little goals that will help you reach those big goals. Anticipate setbacks and learn that even moving slowly is better than not moving at all. And, lastly, when you reach that big goal celebrate!