I often wonder to myself how I ever manage to juggle being a mum to 2 small children, study full time at university as well as write blog posts and do everything else. I have to tell you I don’t actually know how I do it or what the hell I am doing most of the time. I thought it would be a good post to talk about a few things that help me stay on top of life.
Keep a diary or journal to stay organised and up to date
With all my other commitments in my life, I have to make sure I stay on top of things and the best way I’ve found to do that is by taking a diary everywhere with me. It’s great to jot down things I need to remember for university like for example exam dates, deadlines, lecture room changes or any events going on that I need to know about or I’m interested in attending. I also use it to write reminders in for any appointments myself or the children may have, school/university holidays, blog post ideas, social events and I also find it useful to write down anything I may need to buy for either myself or the kids. I basically use my diary for everything, I did think about having separate diaries for different things but I sort of concluded I’d be better off just having the one for now. I use the Life Book 2017 by Organised Mum and I have found this diary so fantastically useful to keep up to date with everything. It comes with some really fun stickers and has a really convenient monthly planning section with notes pages, budget planners and lots more. It even comes with a cute little address book which I keep in the little pocket at the back with the stickers and this planner has the prettiest design on the front too.
Stick to a routine that works
Having some sort of routine pretty much comes with being a parent anyway but regardless, it is something that I could not live without having in my life. I think everybody just implements a routine into their lifestyle differently, some people are more relaxed with it and some people religiously stick to their schedule no matter what. I do try and stick to my general routine as best I can but I do move things around a bit if I need to or if things just haven’t worked out the way that was originally planned. I do find it really useful to have though and it helps me to keep on track with everything I need to do throughout the day right from the morning school run to making dinner and getting the little ones settled for bedtime. This also helps me to clearly see any windows of opportunity for study time, assignment writing, blog post writing, housework and I also try to find a bit of me time too.
Have a ‘no study’ environment
As important as it is to keep up with university work and get reading time squashed in when possible, It is just as important to know when your doing too much. Sometimes close to deadlines things can feel a bit overwhelming and it’s important to have an environment where you can just get the space you need to clear your head and reset those batteries. I try and keep all my study materials all in one room and out of the living room as much as I can so that I’ve got that space free from anything to do with university to spend time with the children or to unwind in front of the TV for a while. It seems like a small thing but trust me, having that space helps so much when life is getting a bit too much.
Plan your meals
In the past when things have got a bit hectic, I’ve tended to reach for the takeaway menu which is expensive and although nice as a treat, it’s not exactly healthy to do all the time. I find planning my meals ahead really helps me in terms of shopping for food items on a weekly basis and it helps to know what I’m cooking and when. Don’t get me wrong I don’t do this religiously, sometimes I’ll just see what’s in my fridge and throw something random together. I just think it just helps to ‘try’ plan what your going to be eating because I’ve personally found this really useful. For example if I know I’m going to have a really busy day, I’ll plan to do something quick and easy or I’ll prepare something the night before for the slow cooker. If I know there is a day where I’m going to have plenty of time on my hands, I know I have time for cooking so I won’t need to prep anything in advance. Sometimes I’ll even try go for something a bit more adventurous if I’m in the mood.
If your inspired, write it down
With blogging I’m sure I’m not the only one but sometimes I’ll hit a mental brick wall when it comes to thinking of ideas for new blog posts. I can sometimes get the same with university work if I’m looking into a specific topic or I’m not sure where to start with something. Other times I’ll just find so much inspiration and think of so many great ideas or things to try. I find it really useful to have a notebook handy so when I do get a sudden flood of inspiration, I’ll take a note of it so that I can go back to it later. This might be an article that I’ve read related to the topic that I’m studying that I might want to cite at a later date. It could even be a blog post idea or a brand I want to try. I sometimes even come across a place I want to visit that might be perfect for a day out in the school holidays. This means that when I am looking for some much needed inspiration, I can go back and take a look at any notes that could be useful and sometimes I’ll even find things I’ve totally forgotten about.
Make sure your getting enough sleep
I know this one can be a bit tricky at the best of times when there is so much to do in just one day but getting enough sleep is so important. It’s never going to feel good when you’ve got a whole day of running errands, work, university etc if you’ve stayed up till stupid o’ clock trying to get things done. It feels so much better and easier to take on the day ahead of you if you’ve had a good night’s kip beforehand. If you find that it’s getting late or you know your not going to get everything done at a reasonable time, prioritise things and if somethings not urgently important then leave it till another day if you can. I’ve been guilty of staying up late doing work along with a number of other tasks and then paying for it the next day when I’m fighting the urge not to fall face forward into my dinner. It’s no good trying to get everything done at once and loosing out on sleep because of it. I know its not always easy but try your best to get a good night’s rest because you will feel so much better for it.