The Very Best Tools for Busy Homemakers

The Very Best Tools for Busy Homemakers

The Very Best Tools for Busy Homemakers

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Today I am bringing you some of my favourite tools and resources that I have found super helpful in my homemaking. They’re not just any old tools either, they are specifically geared towards increasing productivity and helping towards time management – which I’m sure you know by now is a huge passion of mine.

For ease of reading I have split these resources up into 5 main categories: Tools, Courses, Books, Podcasts and YouTube channels.

So grab yourself a cuppa and get ready to get super productive in your homemaking! As a wise man once said, any job can be easy, as long as you have the right tools.

I also recorded this blog post as an audio podcast. Click play below to listen!

by HIA #3: The Very Best Tools For The Busy Homemaker | The Homemakers In Action Podcast

^^ Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so that you don’t miss an episode! ^^

TOOLS

  1. Unroll.me

This is a service that helps you to clean up your email inbox. If you have thousands of emails sitting in your inbox where you’ve subscribed to different newsletters and just never had a chance to read them, this service could really help you. It basically lists all of your newsletter subscriptions onto one page, and you can just go through and click ‘unsubscribe’ on any newsletters you no longer wish to receive. It’s so quick and easy and it saves you the hassle of having to go through each email one by one.

Fancy seeing how I organise my emails and keep it at inbox zero? Get my free video training here!

2. Cozi

This is a planner on your phone that is really good for organising your family. It helps coordinate and communicate everyone’s schedules and activities, track grocery lists, manage to do lists, plan ahead for dinner, and keep the whole family on the same page. You can link up other members of the household so that they get notifications from your Cozi account, and it covers everything from shopping lists to to-do lists and reminders.

There are free and paid plans, but personally I think the free plan is pretty awesome so I’d recommend starting with that, and then if you really love it you can upgrade if you want.

3. Trello

This is a fun, visual way of planning and managing projects. You use ‘cards’ almost like post-it notes stuck up on your wall, and you can rearrange them and assign them to different people. Trello can be used for so many different things, but to give you an idea of how you can use it for your homemaking, here is a snapshot of one of the boards from my friend Abby’s course that she teaches on Trello.

As you can see from this image, Abby has used a Trello board to organise her home projects. In her course she also shows you how to use Trello for your to-do lists, your routines, your meal planning, your important information and so much more. To find out more about Abby’s course head on over to Trello For The Rockstar Homemaker.

4. Sleep Time

Sleep time is an alarm clock app that monitors your movement to establish your different sleep phases. The science behind it is that if you’re in the deep phase of sleep and you get woken up by an alarm, you’ll feel super groggy (you know that feeling when you just hate the world and everyone in it???) but if you get woken up during your lighter phase of sleep you’ll feel more bright and refreshed. Now, I don’t know if there is anything on this earth that will help a tired mother bounce out of bed feeling bright and refreshed, but it can’t hurt to at least try to wake up at the right time for your body. You get to set a half an hour buffer so it will wake you up any time between the time you set and half an hour before that. So give it a go and who knows, maybe you’ll stop hating the world first thing in the morning?

5. Audible

I’m sure you’ve heard of this one, but if you haven’t you are seriously missing out! It’s a service that lets you listen to audiobooks. So if you don’t have the time to sit down and read a book (which, let’s face it, who does?) this service could be really helpful to you. You can listen while you’re washing up, while you’re cooking, while you’re driving. It gets in that reading time for you without actually having to devote any extra time to reading. It is multi-tasking at its very finest!

6. The Homemaking Ministries Home Management Binder

This is the binder that I use to organise my home, and then I kind of mix it up and add in some of my own printables that I have released on this blog. It’s super affordable for what it is, and because it’s a digital download it means you can pick and choose which pages you want to actually have in your binder. It has things like meal planning sheets, birthday lists, to-do lists, calendars, prayer requests, books to read, important information, cleaning checklists, a monthly budget… basically any sheet you would need to be able to run your home efficiently and effectively. And, just as a little cherry on the top, it’s really pretty 🙂

COURSES

I’ve just picked out 3 courses here because I know they can take some time to go through, and they tend to be a little bit more expensive, but these are courses that I truly believe will benefit you. If you can actually take the time to sit down to do them for maybe 15 minutes a week they will really work wonders in your life. Invest a little time now and save tons of time in the future… that’s my motto when it comes to courses!

1. Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll already know that I love this course because I literally cannot stop raving about it. I’ve been through it twice already, and I’m gearing up to go through it for a third time this year because I think reviewing your routines and making sure they still work for you is so important! This course takes you through how to craft a morning routine but it doesn’t just talk about fitting in as much as you possibly can in the mornings. It talks about the real reasons behind needing a routine; how to wake up feeling refreshed, how to take some time in the morning to breathe and have some quiet time in the Word or journalling or reading, how to really take advantage of those morning hours to set yourself up for success. It also doesn’t revolve around getting up early. So if you’ve been putting off getting this course because you can’t fathom getting up any earlier than you already do, don’t worry. You can get up at your usual time and still craft a beautiful morning routine.

Pssst… Fancy getting ‘Make Over Your Mornings’ for FREE?! Head on over to iTunes and leave a rating and review on my podcast to be entered into my latest competition!

2. The Stay At Home Mom’s Guide To Life by Abby Barstow

This course is more geared towards new stay at home mothers. So if you have just had kids or you’ve just started staying at home with them, I highly recommend this course. It can be so easy to get confused about what you should be spending your time on when you stay at home, because you don’t have the structure that comes with going out to work. Rather than having a schedule set for you, you have to set your own which can be really overwhelming. Abby takes you through how to set priorities in your home, how to create a family mission statement, routines, finances, making friends, getting hobbies and even the mysterious legend that is… self care.

3. My Homemaking Mentor by Jami Balmet (and others)

This isn’t just a course. It’s an academy run by 12 (yes, 12!) Titus 2 women who all teach classes on their area of expertise. It’s slightly more expensive than the other courses but it is oh so worth it. Just as an example of the amazing women teaching in this academy, you’ve got Jolene Engle teaching about marriage, Marci Ferrel teaching about routines and Hillary Bernstein teaching about housekeeping. The best part is you get lifetime access and there are constantly new videos and new trainings being added to this academy, so you’ll always have something new to dive into if you find yourself with some spare time.

Ahem… Did you know I also have a course? You can find out details of my time management program ‘From Frazzled To Fabulous’ right here and… ahem… if you want to be in with the chance of getting it for free head on over to iTunes and leave a rating a review on my podcast… ahem 😉

PODCASTS

I highly recommend podcasts for busy homemakers because it allows you to learn and grow as a homemaker, without taking up any extra time. Like with the audiobooks you can listen to a podcast while you’re washing up or cooking dinner or driving – it’s the perfect option for someone who has little time for reading books.

Did you know that I have a podcast? I give out a free download with every single episode so what are you waiting for? Start living a balanced life today by heading over to the Homemakers In Action Podcast 😀 

1. Homemaking Foundations Podcast by Jami Balmet

This podcast focuses on Gospel centred homemaking and it revolves around having one foot planted firmly in scripture, whilst also delivery tons of practical tips and advice.

My favourite episode: How To Make A Digital Homemaking Binder Using Evernote

P.S. Jami also has a podcast with her husband called Our Work At Home Life. If you have a business from home or would like to one day, definitely check this one out as well!

2. Married & Tired with JK and Charlie

This one is a little bit different, and if you live in America you’ve probably not heard of this one since it is by a couple living in good old England, but it is just so funny. They talk about topics that are sometimes kind of cringy to talk about, but really need to be talked about. So if you’re looking for a bit of light relief and the funny and honest side of parenting and marriage, definitely head on over and check this one out.

My favourite episode: Crazy Laughing, Anniversaries and Alison Perry (they actually mention my first anniversary in this episode haha!)

3. The 5am Miracle by Jeff Sanders

This one is not aimed specifically at parents (though he has had Crystal Paine and a few other mothers on talking about parenting)  but I still highly recommend it. It’s a productivity podcast that has taught me pretty much everything I know about time management and productivity. It does involve tailoring what he talks about to your own circumstances and life, since obviously training for marathons and having super strict schedules are not applicable to most parents. However, if you can look past that and just pick out the useful information and find a way that you can apply it, you will come away feeling so motivated.

My favourite episode: Forget Annual Goal Setting and Do This Instead

4. Cultivating The Lovely by Mackenzie Monroe

I first found Mackenzie on Periscope and instantly fell in love with her. She oozes joy and has such a unique way of helping you to find the happy in the everyday. A lot of the time homemaking can feel mundane and repetitive, and Mackenzie is really good and getting you to look at things from a positive perspective. So if feeling unsatisfied in your life is something you are struggling with right now, definitely check out Cultivating the Lovely.

My favourite episode: De-Cluttering Your Life with guest Stacy Myers (This one is my favourite because I find Stacy Myers absolutely hysterical)

5. The His & Her Money Show with Talaat & Tai

This podcast tackles the issue of finances and how to have a healthy financial life within your marriage. They have a lot of guests on who share their own financial journeys and struggles, and provide some really good, sound advice. If money is an area of your life you want to get under control I would highly recommend this podcast.

My favourite episode: How Carrie Used Her Side Hustle to Replace Her Day Job in Just 4 Months

BOOKS / AUDIOBOOKS

1. Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

This book honestly changed my life, and that is no exaggeration. You know the feeling… you wake up and you’re instantly in survival mode, you’re rushing around straight away putting out fires, and then bedtime rolls around and you wonder what you actually got done that day. I was exactly like that until I read this book. I’m pretty sure it was reading this book that got me started on my time management / productivity journey.

2. Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

This is a finance book where she dives into how she started to spend less in her life, and yet hasn’t had to sacrifice. She still leads a beautiful, fun, wonderful life without having to go out and spend tons of money which, let’s face it, is something we all need to get better at.

3. Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph

This is a Christian book that goes into how you’re spending your time, and whether or not you are spending your time on the right things. It focuses on faith, marriage, parenting and personal fulfilment.

4. The 5 A.M. Miracle by Jeff Sanders

This is the book that inspired him to start his podcast. Unfortunately it is no longer available for free by signing up to his email list (boo!) but you can still purchase it as a book or audiobook on Amazon. I still think it’s well worth a read even with the new price tag, but remember it isn’t aimed specifically towards parents, so just be mindful of that as you read it.

4. Everyday Hope by Kayse Lee Pratt

This one is a collection of essays rather than a book with a narrative. Each chapter stands alone so you could read Chapter 5 before you read any of the others and it won’t make a difference. It’s just everyday reminders for the mother who feels weary and tired and simply run down. It’s a really quick read and you could read a chapter while your waiting at the school run or the doctors, and just get a little bit on encouragement on those weary days.

YOUTUBE CHANNELS

Did you know that I have a YouTube channel? Whilst this blog and podcast focuses on providing actionable advice, my channel is what I use to provide more a personal insight to my life so that you can get to know me better. So if you’re interested in seeing footage of my daughter and days in the life and all of that fun stuff, head on over to my YouTube channel 😀 

1. Clutter Bug

This woman is so down-to-earth and real. She talks about organisation but she fully admits that she is not an organised person. She’s actually a clutter-bug (Get it? Get it?) who is simply trying to organise her life and is sharing her journey as she does so.

My favourite video: Family Command Centre

2. Love Meg

I am obsessed with this channel and regularly binge watch her videos. She’s a Southern lass and makes videos all about her lifestyle. Sometimes she goes into beauty and things like that, but the videos I really love are her cleaning videos. She is a domestic goddess and keeps her home spotless with two kids underfoot. If you’re looking for some cleaning motivation definitely check her out.

My favourite video: 5 Steps To Love Cleaning

3. At Home With Nikki

Nikki loves all things classy and white and minimalist. She is seriously stylish and has some fantastic organisation tips. She also has a channel called At Work With Nikki which shows you how she organises her business, so that’s also a good one to check out if you work from home.

My favourite video: Organised Kitchen Tour

4. How Jen Does It

This is another organisation channel, but she goes into a lot of cool hacks and unique ideas. A lot of them are budget friendly too so I really love this channel when I don’t have a huge budget and I don’t want to go out and get loads of organisational materials, but I just need a few new ideas for different spaces in my home.

My favourite video: How To Beautify and Love Your Home More

5. Clean My Space

This channel by Melissa Makers shows you how to clean every conceivable area of your home, right into the tiny nooks and crannies. She goes into a lot of natural cleaning solutions and shows you how to get your home clean with minimal effort, and she actually makes cleaning fun!

My favourite video: 6 Easy Habits for a Cleaner Home

6. Home Organising by Alejandra.tv

This woman is full on crazy. Her house is so organised – to the point where it is slightly insane. If you are looking for organisational inspiration then this is the place to come. She has every single corner of her home organised with some really cool and quirky ideas.

My favourite video: Most Organised Home In America

That’s all for today. Don’t forget to grab your free video training on how I organise my emails and stay at inbox zero and please do share a picture of your email inbox with me over on Instagram. You can tag me @homemakersinaction or use the special hashtag #myhomeinaction 🙂

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10 Steps To Work / Life Balance – Is It Even Possible?

10 Steps To Work / Life Balance – Is It Even Possible?

10 Steps To Work / Life Balance – Is It Even Possible?

Whether you work outside the home in a corporate career, or inside the home as a mamapreneur, work-life balance is something that we all seem to be striving for.

It’s that mirage in  the desert, that oasis, that faraway glimmer of hope in every stressed out mother’s eye.

So, naturally, the question a lot of working mothers find themselves asking is… “Is work-life balance even possible? And if it is… how the heck do I achieve it?!”

Yes, even I have found myself uttering these very words.

 

There is a lot of disagreement about whether or not true work-life balance is actually achievable, but I am a hopeful person and I choose to live in a world where the possibilities are endless. I believe I can do anything if I really put my mind to it, and where there’s a will there’s a way.

I have chosen to ignore the belief that we have to choose between being a career woman and being a mother.

 

A lot of people try to tell you that you have to get your career sorted before you have kids, and a lot of women are indeed putting off having children because they want to focus on their careers first.

Now, if that’s something that you want to do and your career is the main priority, then more power to you, but what I don’t appreciate is women like me who have chosen to have kids at a younger age being made to feel like they have screwed up their lives.

We’re made to feel like we’ve had to give up our careers and our ambitions because we are now mothers. The world is meant to be progressing and modernising. We’re living in an age of political correctness and equality, and yet we are still being made to feel like those top level promotions and top levels of success are out of our reach.

The other worry for many women is that they cannot be an effective mother if they are working. They feel like if they are going out to work then they aren’t going to be as good a mother as someone who is home all day with their kids. Well ladies, I’m here to tell you that both of these beliefs are lies.

It is 100% possible to be a career woman and be a mother.

Sure, it’s not always going to be easy, but what part of motherhood is? I honestly believe that work-life balance is possible. I believe that you can reach whatever goals you may have set for yourself career-wise, and also be a fantastic mother. There just may be some shifting and adjustments that need to happen.

I also recorded this blog post as an audio podcast. Click play below to listen!

by HIA #2: 10 Steps To Work / Life Balance - Is It Even Possible? | The Homemakers In Action Podcast

^^ Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast on iTunes so that you don’t miss an episode! ^^

I am living proof that it is possible to get a work / life balance. I have a job outside of the home where I am often finishing work at 2am, or looking after my daughter all day and then going to work once she’s in bed. I also run this business from home, and as if that wasn’t enough I also do some virtual assisting work for other companies. Yes, I do have days where I fall out of balance and I can sense myself spending too much time on my work (or sometimes not enough time on my work), but I always manage to bring it back to centre when I am feeling off balance.

So, how exactly do I manage it? I have a few top tips for anyone who is really struggling to find that balance and feels like they are either spending too much time on their careers and not enough time with their families, or that they’re spending so much time focusing on their kids that they are falling behind in their jobs.

1) SHUT OUT NEGATIVITY

This includes both the voices in your head that are telling you that you just can’t do it, and also any external sources of negativity that you have going on. Maybe your friends or your boss or even your husband are telling you that they don’t think you can handle it? If you have people in your life, even virtual people on social media, who are not being supportive and are breathing negativity into your life, just shut it out.

I actually like to use negativity to push myself even harder. If someone tells me I can’t do something that then spurs me on to work even harder to prove them wrong. If someone is telling you they don’t think you have what it takes to get that promotion or to start up that business, show them that you can do it.

ACTION STEP: Shut out any negative voices, whether they are in your head or external.

 

2) BE PRESENT WHEN YOU’RE AT HOME

When you’re not working and you have taken time off away from your desk to be with your family, make sure you are really with them. Don’t be responding to emails. Don’t be answering phone calls from people at work. Don’t be worrying about the next thing that you need to do in your business. Be present with your family when it comes to that time. Let them know that when you’re finished with work that is their focused time with you.

The best way to do this is to decide on a time when you are going to finish work, and when that time comes turn your computer and even your phone off. That way you won’t be tempted to check your notifications or see if you have any new messages. Anyone who needs to reach you can wait. At that moment, your family is the priority.

ACTION STEP: When you finish work shut off your computer and phone, and focus completely on your family.

 

3) FULLY COMMIT WHEN YOU ARE AT WORK

As a mother you may not have as much time to get all your work done as someone without kids, which means you have to be really intentional and clever with how you use your time. When you’re at work or you’re sitting down to work on your business, you need to be there 100%. You need to be putting in the maximum effort and getting the most out of the time that you’re working.

As difficult as it is to switch off from your family, try not to be distracted while you’re at work. If you’re in a corporate job resist the temptation to text your husband or the babysitter every half an hour to make sure the kids are okay, as it will pull your focus. If you work from home, use nap times so that you’re not distracted by the baby, or if your kids are older see if you can get them settled down with a ‘quiet time’ activity. Explain to them that now is mummy’s time to work, and if they’re good and let you focus you’ll be able to spend lots of time playing with them after you’ve finished.

Another tip is to write out a to-do list for your work day. Those are the things that you need to achieve before you leave work that day.

ACTION STEP: Create a to-do list for your work day and put in the maximum effort to complete this list by the time you finish.

 

4) HAVE A VARIETY OF ROUTINES IN PLACE

When you’re a working mother your schedule can change a lot. If you have a routine for the days when you’re at home and you don’t have any work to be doing, it’s not really going to apply for those days when you do have work. So try creating a routine for your days off, and then also a routine for your work day, and if you have a varying schedule like I do you may want to create a different routine for each type of work day.

What this does is it helps you to stay on track. Your routine won’t be thrown out of the window when you’ve got to work because you’ve got that routine already in place. You’ll still be able to do your housework and spend time with your husband and kids, but it may look a little bit different to those days when you’re home all day with no work to do.

This tip also works really well for those days when you have something different going on, like Church on Sundays or your child’s sporting activities.

ACTION STEP: Create a few different routines for different scenarios and work days.

 

5) CONSTANTLY RE-EVALUATE YOUR LIFE BALANCE

There are going to be times when you fall out of balance. There’s nothing you can do about it. Unfortunately things will come up in your work life where you do need to spend a bit more time working. Maybe you’ve got a big project on, or a tight deadline, or a potential promotion coming up. When there are more things clamouring for your attention, it’s highly likely that you’ll start to feel yourself falling out of balance. The important thing is that you recognise this and are able to bring your life back into balance after that period of busyness has passed.

The way to do this is to constantly re-evaluate. At least once a month (but ideally weekly) sit down and have a look at how you are spending your time. On an average day, how much time are you spending on the following things:

  • Work
  • Family
  • Home (cleaning, cooking, tidying etc)
  • Faith
  • Exercise
  • Self-Care
  • Friends
  • Hobbies
  • Daily (eating, general hygiene, getting dressed etc)
  • Sleep

Once you’ve taken stock of your average day, look at it and ask yourself if it is balanced. Are you spending enough time on each of these areas of your life?

ACTION STEP: Get out a piece of paper (or print out the PDF that I have created for you below) and start evaluating how you are spending your time on an average day.

6) PLAN AHEAD

This is important for everyone, but especially working mothers. If you can get yourself prepped and ready the night before, your tomorrow is going to go so much smoother. If you get your bags packed and lunches made and outfits laid out ready, that’s one less thing you need to think about in the morning. You’re going to be far less stressed out which, in turn, means you’ll be able to spend more quality time with your kids in the morning. Imagine having time to sit down and read the Bible with them or snuggle on the sofa with them, instead of rushing around trying to get lunches sorted. That’s what evening prep can do for you.

If you’re a stressed out, frazzled mess in the mornings and you’re barely saying good morning to your kids, I highly encourage you to make sure you’re as planned and prepared as possible the night before.

ACTION STEP: Start prepping and planning as much as you can the night before.

 

7) SAY GOODBYE TO THE GUILT

Mum guilt hits us all in one way or another, but for working mothers it can sometimes feel unbearable.

“Am I abandoning my kids?”

“Will they think I don’t love them?”

“Will they love the babysitter more than me?”

“I should be playing with them instead of staring at a computer screen!”

These are all worries that can go through our heads. You’re going to feel guilty at times. It’s a natural thing that creeps up into every mother’s mind. But I want to encourage you to think of that guilt as one of those negative voices that we switched off in step one.

At the end of the day, if you’re working on a business or going out to work, you’re doing what’s best for your kids and your particular family’s circumstances. You’re bringing in an income. You’re providing for them. You’re letting them see what hard work is all about and teaching them the value of money. If your work is something you’re truly passionate about you’re going to be a better mother for doing it. The last thing you want is to resent your kids for making you give up your dreams. Pursue the things you’re passionate about and don’t let anyone tell you that you should feel guilty for doing that. As long as your kids are loved for and cared for, that’s all that matters.

ACTION STEP: Write down all the good things about your work life and why it’s important to you.

 

8) ASK FOR HELP

Please, please, please don’t feel bad about getting a babysitter when you need one. If your mum can come round and watch the kids while you get a couple of hours work done, they’re not going to feel neglected. They’re going to be excited that nanny is round playing with them!

If you need help, ask for it. Maybe you don’t need a babysitter, maybe you need help with a project at work. Consider delegating some things to others if you just have too much to do. Give yourself the grace to ask for help. And remember, you can always ask the Lord for help. He is there for you and He will provide for you.

ACTION STEP: Think about what you need help with and ask for it.

 

9) SAY NO TO WORK PROJECTS THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO

If a project or opportunity comes up that you don’t really need to do and it’s not going to massively benefit you or further your career, don’t feel bad about turning it down. If it’s too much for you, explain to your boss that you’re not going to have the time and maybe he’d be better off asking someone else. If it’s your own business and you’re putting expectations onto yourself, it’s okay to decide that you’re too busy for a certain project at the moment.

When you start saying no to the unimportant things that crop up, it frees up your time so that you can really focus on completing the projects that you already have and doing them to the best of your ability. It’s far better to get one amazing project finished than to have million of half-finished projects that aren’t your best work.

ACTION STEP: Next time a project or opportunity comes up, really think about whether or not it is worth it and necessary for you.

 

10) REMEMBER THAT BUSINESS MEETINGS AND DEADLINES CAN BE PUSHED BACK, BUT YOU CAN NEVER GET BACK TIME WITH YOUR KIDS.

That soccer practice that your child has invited you to – he’s never going to score that goal again. If your kid has invited you to a school play – they’re never going to perform in it again. The first steps or the first time they say ‘mama’ – that’s never going to happen again. If you miss them, that’s it, they’re gone. So try to put things into perspective when you’re trying to decide if your priority should be your kids or your business.

You’re kids don’t always have to come first. Sometimes you do genuinely need to spend time on your business or your work. But if you start to notice yourself focusing too much on work and not enough on your kids, just remember that that’s time you’re never going to get back. They’re only small for a really short amount of time. When your kids turn 18 and go off to college, you don’t want to be looking back and regretting the amount of time your spent during their childhood staring at a computer screen or putting in extra shifts at work.

You can always push deadlines back or re-schedule meetings. You can always spend a little bit longer trying to reach that goal in your business. But what you can’t do is get back that time with your kids.

ACTION STEP: Be really careful when choosing between work and life, and make sure you’re not choosing work too much.

That’s all for today. Don’t forget to grab your free work / life balance timecard and please do share a picture of your timecard with me over on Instagram. You can tag me @homemakersinaction or use the special hashtag #myhomeinaction 🙂

Join our

The Time Management Toolkit For Busy Homemakers

Read my

Video: How I Get It All Done

Video: Speed Cleaning My House

Video: Mummy Evening Routine

How To Live With Intentionality

How To Live With Intentionality

How To Live With Intentionality

Intentionality is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot. So often we hear that we need to be ‘intentional’ with our time, but what does that actually mean?

Why is it important?

And what does living intentionally look like in our day to day lives?

Well, they are three very separate (but equally important) questions, and we are going to be diving deep into them today. Ladies, buckle your seat belts, we’re about to start living with purpose!

So firstly… what the heck is intentionality?

 

My definition goes as follows…

Being intentional with your time is about making choices for your life knowing WHY you’ve made those choices.

When you do go about your daily activities, you know exactly why you are doing them. In your mind you have made a choice to do those things based off of your values and priorities. It’s about making sure that everything you do is led by the things that are most important to you.

There’s a quote that I love by a lady called Annie Dillard that fits so perfectly with this topic, and I have it pinned up on my wall as a daily reminder of why I need to be living with intentionality. It goes like this…

“How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”

 

This quote helps me in a number of different ways. Firstly it reminds me that in those days where I feel bored and fed up of all the mundane, repetitive chores that I have to do, that life is made up of small moments. Yes, we may remember the big things. We may focus on the pillar moments of our life like getting married and having babies and buying a home. But in between all of those big moments, there are the everyday moments. The little insignificant pieces that act as the pages within the chapters of our book. If you think of your life like a timeline, you’ll realise that those big moments take up maybe 10% of your life. The other 90% is made up of the everyday stuff, which means those tiny little details are what makes your life. They are incredibly important, no matter how boring or mundane they may feel.

It’s also a massively convicting quote. If the way we spend our days defines how we spend our life, how often are we wasting those days on unimportant things? How often do you spend hours on end scrolling through social media or watching Netflix? We have such a short time on this Earth, and it could end at any moment, so we need to be making sure that we are not wasting our precious time.

I also recorded this blog post as an audio podcast. Click play below to listen!

by HIA #1: How To Live With Intentionality | The Homemakers In Action Podcast

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So by now you may be thinking… “Yep, that’s great Becca. I know I need to be living intentionally, I understand why it’s so important, but how the heck do I actually start to implement this into my life?” Have no fear my little cherub! I have four super simple steps that you can start taking today to start living with more intentionality.

STEP 1: DESIGN YOUR IDEAL DAY

I get my students to do this exercise in my program ‘From Frazzled To Fabulous’ and it really is a beautiful exercise. It basically consists of sitting down and thinking about what your ideal day looks like. This is the day that if you were to live it every day for the rest of your life you would never get bored. It’s the day that would occur if everything went right for you, and there were no kids waking up sick, and no unexpected visitors, and no last-minute stresses. The day you would have if everything went exactly to plan.

Think about the following things…

  • What do you do when you wake up?
  • What do you spend your day doing?
  • What specific activities does your ideal day include (for example exercise or sitting at the table as a family to eat breakfast)?
  • What sort of food do you eat throughout the day?
  • Who do you spend your time with?
  • How do you tackle cleaning throughout the day? In one go or spread out?
  • How do you wind down at the end of the day?

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive. I know this isn’t realistic. We’re always going to have things that throw our day off track. You may get really close to your ideal day, but you’re never going to be in a situation where you are consistently achieving this day every single day. But that’s okay, that’s not the point of this exercise. The point is having an idea of what to strive for.

ACTION STEP: Get out a piece of paper (or print out the PDF that I have created for you below) and write down what your ideal day would look like.

STEP 2: BREAK IT DOWN INTO SMALL ACTIONABLE STEPS

Now we need to start thinking about how we’re going to take that idea of our ideal day, and actually start working towards it. Just as an example, say your ideal day includes exercise. What can you realistically do (emphasis on the word ‘realistically’ here) to incorporate exercise into your day? It needs to be something that you’ll easily be able to do every single day without any major push-back or struggle. Perhaps it means taking the pram out and going for a walk with baby, or doing ten minutes of yoga in the living room to a YouTube video.

There’s no point setting a goal that’s going to be unachievable (I don’t know about you, but going for an hour long jog is not realistic as a mother of a two year old!) Setting achievable, bite-sized steps will mean you’re less likely to come up with excuses and more likely to actually do it.

ACTION STEP: Break down your ideal day into actionable steps, pin it up somewhere that you will be able to see it, and start working through the steps on a daily basis.

 

STEP 3: EXPRESS GRATITUDE EVERY DAY

It is so important when we’re thinking about living intentionally to constantly remind ourselves of what we have and what we are grateful for. We can express gratitude in a number of ways…

  • You could start a gratitude diary and write down all the things you are thankful for
  • You could text a friend and thank them for something they have done for you
  • You could tell your husband you are grateful for everything he does for your family

And there are so many other ways to express gratitude. Try mixing it up and using a different method each day. It’s a fantastic habit to get into. Personally, I love taking a moment first thing in the morning to remember just how lucky I am to be alive, to be healthy, to have a roof over my head and to have access to education and the internet and opportunities.

STEP 4: TAKE A MOMENT TO REFLECT HALF WAY THROUGH THE DAY

You may have heard the concept of reviewing your day before you go to bed to reflect upon whether or not it was a successful day, but I say why wait until bedtime? Taking a couple of minutes to stop half way through the day (I like to do this when bubba goes down for her nap) and reflect upon your day so far will give you a massive head start. It will give you the opportunity to notice unproductive behaviour, and to do something about it while you still have a decent portion of the day left.

So, starting today, I want you to pick a time (set a reminder on your phone if needs be) to make yourself a cup of tea or coffee and sit down to reflect on your day. Ask yourself the following questions…

  • What has gone well today?
  • How am I getting on with my to do list?
  • Am I on track with what I wanted to accomplish today?
  • Have I been making the most of my time today?

If the answer is no to the last two questions, now is not the time to berate yourself and make yourself feel bad. Instead, you need to be thinking about what you can do to change things for the afternoon. Giving yourself this reminder and mental ‘kick up the butt’ will stop you from having that guilty feeling when you go to bed and realise you’ve not got anything done.

ACTION STEP: Sit down with your favourite beverage half way through the day and reflect on how things are going so far. Then make a mental note of any changes you need to make for the afternoon.

So that’s it… super simple right? Think about your ideal day, come up with some realistic action steps that you can take each day to start working towards that ideal day, express gratitude and take a moment to reflect around lunch time. Don’t forget to grab your free intentional living worksheet that’s going to guide you through the process of breaking down your ideal day into those manageable chunks. You can get access to this and loads of other homemaking freebies by singing up right here.