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Being a mom can just be HARD, but getting some good habits in place can make your life much easier. I have 3 kids and a career, but I manage to keep myself relatively balanced by maintaining good habits. For me, that means being present with my family and achieving my career goals.
In the past few years, I’ve paid off $40k in debt, radically changed how I keep my home organized, and lost over 40lbs of “baby weight.” None of this would’ve been achieved without the power of habit.
(If you didn’t catch Part 1 of this post, “10 Habits that Keep Me Well and Balanced as a Mom,” go check that out after you read this. It has tips about creating a morning routine, managing your home, and physical health.)
Here are 10 MORE habits that keep me well and balanced as a mom:
Career and Finances
1. Do the most dreaded task first
As a work-at-home mom, I have to be extra organized and disciplined. If I let myself procrastinate on a project, whether it’s work-related or around my home, it might never get done. Fortunately for me, I don’t have many “dreaded tasks” anymore, but we all have ones that we like more than others. Often the things I’m tempted to put off until later are the ones that should be a pretty high priority. Can you relate?
In the book Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy, I found the idea of doing the task that you’re most likely to procrastinate on FIRST. If you have a network marketing business and you procrastinate when it comes to reaching out to people, then put that first on your to-do list every day. When you can check it off first thing, you’ll feel energized and be more motivated to plow through your list.
This concept has changed the way I approach my work. I don’t sit around overthinking and dreading what I need to do, I just do it.
2.Set goals for each month, season, and year.
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Whether you’re a wife managing a household budget, a work-at-home mom managing her own business, or an aspiring novelist aspiring to finish your first book, goals are crucial. You need to know what you’re aiming at, give yourself a timeframe, and create a game plan. If you don’t, it’ll be difficult to progress.
I love setting goals for my business each month, season, and year. When I know what I’m aiming for, I know what I should be working on.
I choose to use both big and small increments because it helps me to stay on track. If my goal is to get 10k Instagram followers by the end of the year, then I can calculate how many I should be gaining each month. And then I can come up with a daily and weekly game plan to achieve that goal.
For more of my tips on reaching your goals, check out a post I wrote at the beginning of this year (by the way, it works all year round): 8 Ways to Succeed with Your New Year’s Resolution…For Real This Time)
3. Create a weekly and monthly budget (and stick to it!)
Budgeting is one of my least favorite tasks, and if I’m being honest, I still haven’t mastered it. But it’s an important part of any household with financial goals like getting out of debt, saving for emergencies, and investing for the future.
I use the EveryDollar budgeting tool by Dave Ramsey, but you can use whatever you prefer. Although I’m still not perfect at it, doing a weekly and monthly budget helps me to feel more at peace about our finances. I know what’s going where, what we can save, and (when we had debt) I knew how much we were paying off with each paycheck.
If you feel uneasy about your finances, start with your budget. You can use a pen and paper if you want but DO SOMETHING. Finances rarely fix themselves. You need to be intentional and take action toward change.
You can read more about my financial story in this post: How I Paid Off $40k of Debt as a Young Mom
Balancing Time and Energy
4. Keep a daily to-do list (but keep it light)
I need to keep a list of what I have to do every day or I’ll lose my mind. Keeping it all in my brain drives me crazy and it usually means that something will slip through the cracks. Practice brain dumping, which just means that you write down all those tasks that you know you need to do sometime soon. From there, you can figure out what you need to do TODAY.
This is for all my overschedulers out there— Maintain margin in your daily to-do list! Make sure your list is actually achievable and gives you room to be present and available to your family. You also need the time to be able to take care of YOU!
If daily to-do your list is too long, start cutting some things out. Guard your time fiercely. In the past few years, I’ve quit a bunch of things because I have a tendency to overcommit. “Oh look, a class to become a certified financial counselor? I want to do that!” “Maybe I should be a speaker and do events every month.” “Let’s all sign up for a martial arts class!”
Now, I’ve learned the power of saying “No”— especially to myself.
5. Rest on Sundays (or at least once a week)
We should all have a day where we don’t have to work. As moms, we don’t get that luxury but we should at least try to rest once a week. I prefer to rest on Sundays. Resting for me means no housework and no job-related work. As a work-at-home mom, I have to be strict with myself on this or I’ll end up working 7 days a week.
Of course, I still have to do the work related to taking care of my family. But on Sundays especially, I try to make it fun and/or peaceful. We go to church together first. Then, maybe we’ll all watch a movie and rest on the couch. Or maybe we’ll visit the zoo or a local amusement park. Maybe we’ll go for a walk or color on the driveway.
This habit keeps my soul, body, and mind refreshed and allows me to tackle the next week.
6. Plan something fun for each week
If I don’t plan something fun for each week, I can easily fill up all my time with work. But at the end of my life, what will I look back on and cherish? What will I wish I had spent more time doing?
Planning something fun doesn’t have to mean spending money. Even if we visit a local park as a family, I’m happy. But we love going on walks, going to see animals at local zoos or aquariums, and just riding around together in my husband’s jeep. We also have season passes to an amusement park and we spend a lot of our summer there. In the Fall, we visit a Renaissance Faire at least a few times.
Whatever you choose to do may be completely different. Just make sure you’re scheduling some fun into your family’s life.
7. Put my phone away at designated times
I have a terrible tendency to get sucked into my phone for long stretches of time. In my defense, I’m not usually just scrolling on social media. Usually, I’m doing some related to work. But that doesn’t mean it should take all my time. I’ve had to learn to put down my phone even when I’ve really not wanted to.
There are certain times of day that it just isn’t appropriate to have your phone out, such as at meal times and the kids’ bedtime. If I find myself checking it constantly for seemingly no reason (just out of habit or to get the “rush” of seeing new notifications), I’ll give myself a few hours away from it entirely.
For more this, check out my post: Tips to Help You Break Your Cell Phone Addiction
8. Stop working before dinner
If you don’t work at home, you can probably skip this one. But if you’re “mompreneur,” listen up. You need to stop working around the clock. I applaud your hustle mentality. I know you have big dreams and that those often require sacrifice. It’s OK to work like this for a season if necessary but you’ll burn out if you try to maintain that intensity.
I have a part-time job as a content writer AND I manage an at-home business. For me, the best balance is to work HARD while I’m working, and then stop working before dinner time. Occasionally, I’ll do a tiny bit of work at night. But for the most part, my evenings and nights are reserved for my family and my own well-being.
9. Pray throughout the day
I believe in communicating frequently with God because I’m a Christian and it’s part of my faith. Like Bible study, I try not to do it from a self-centered perspective where I’m just looking for what I can get from it. But, when I do it faithfully, I realize that I do see many benefits in my life. Prayer reminds me that I am not alone, that I am deeply loved, and that I can handle anything that comes my way (with God’s help).
Prayer also reminds me to be mindful of the needs of others. My heart often hurts for the problems of this world, but it helps to know that I have a direct line to the creator of the universe, and communication with him is one of the best ways I can make a difference.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
10. Practice gratitude
I have some naturally bad tendencies such as worrying, overthinking, and stressing about little things. One of the best ways I’ve found to combat these negative traits is to practice gratitude.
When I’m thinking about what I’m grateful for, the things I worry about and stress over seem smaller. I realized how truly blessed I am and I start to turn my attention to all that is right in my world, rather than all that is wrong.
A great way to start practicing gratitude is to start a gratitude journal. In it, you can list 3 things you’re grateful for each morning. The trick is to never repeat anything that you’ve listed before. So, after the first few days of listing out your home, kids, husband, and other obvious options, you’ll be forced to get more creative. You’ll start looking around in your life for reasons to be grateful. By doing this daily, you’re actually training your brain to start searching for the positive! And believe me, when you look around for the good things in your life, you’re sure to find them.
For more on the importance of practicing contentment and gratitude, check out my post: “Are Your Big Dreams Ruining Your Life?”
There you have it, the 20 habits that keep me well and balanced. (If you missed part one, it had 10 other habits.) When I start feeling crazy, it’s usually because I’ve fallen out of practice with one of these. But as I bring them back in line, I find that my life gets much more peaceful. You won’t know how they’ll work in your own life if don’t give them at least try. 😉
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