When I was younger I believed that I could have it all and that “it all” involved this harmonically balanced, picture perfect life. I wanted the husband, kids, career, perfect home super-sized combo platter. As a wife, mom, CEO, employee, friend, sister, daughter, etc., there is always a lot to do and not enough time to do it. I have come to understand and accept that my version of having it all, and balancing it all, means that it is not picture perfect. There is a lot of give, take and forgiveness involved.
Ok, so everyone says they have a lot on their plate, but what does that even mean? For me, it means running a nonprofit organization that I founded 5 years ago pro bono. I also work full time for a nonprofit that I am in love with. I am hoping to fill the Executive Director’s shoes when she decides to retire. There is a lot to learn about the organization while further developing my leadership skills; which I’ve decided to do by leading a new initiative/group (with all my free time). I also need to expand my personal network AND infiltrate hers.
This means I work with a career coach, participate in professional development, strategically network, meet with an accountability partner, a mentor and a CEO Sister Circle. Personal/professionally I want to write two books and do a little (very little) public/motivational speaking. My sons are both under 3 and require my time and attention, which I desperately want to give them. It is also very important that I spend quality with my husband, other family, friends and by myself. As an introvert, the “by myself” is vital to my sanity.
So how do I manage a busy calendar/crazy life? I force myself to organize using the power of three!
I have three slow down moments…
- At the beginning of each month, I sit down and write my goals, which are usually designed to help me accomplish some larger goal. Then I sit down with my calendars (yes plural) and schedule time for every meeting/goal that needs to get done.
- On Sunday I look at least one calendar to review my week.
- Every night I update our family board so everyone is aware of what the day holds. We have a calendar (outlined below) that is right next to the white board. Also, the 3-year-old hangs his art there…he is always so proud to share his latest creation on THE family board!
- A paper calendar/planner. I need to write things down in order to remember them.
- A Google calendar on my phone. I invite my husband to everything so that he knows when I won’t be home/when he has kid duties. It also helps that I get those reminders an hour before an event occurs.
- A family whiteboard calendar. My husband, babysitter, mother-in-law (my daily support system) can see what every family member has going on on any given day.
and three general guidelines…
- No more than 2 evenings per week where I have an after work function. This allows me to spend time with my family, make sure they get a good cooked dinner, keep the house semi-clean, and get a decent amount of sleep
- Sunday is a home day. This is my day to reset my house. I’d love to say we spend quality time together as a family, but this tends to be a business day. It is a laundry gets done, groceries get bought, bathrooms get cleaned kinda day.
- Every other Friday night is family date night
Recently I have added monthly family outings, mommy and me dates for the 3-year-old and me only days. It can get complicated, everything does not always get done and the calendars are rarely followed to a T, but this works for me. I want to eat and more importantly, I want my family to eat for generations to come. That means, at least right now, my plate has to stay full. Honestly, I really wouldn’t want to live this life any other way!
How do you stay organized when you have a full plate?
Yolanda Jenkins is a wife, mother of 2, and an introverted leader. She can sometimes be found sharing the good, the bad and the ugly on IG @thislibralife.
Feature image retrieved from createherstock.com.