As many of you know, I am a Work At Home Mom (WAHM). I run 3 small businesses from home.
DPK Virtual Assistant Services – Online Virtual Assistant Business
DPK Graphic Design – Graphic Design Business
Surfaces with Paint – NY Based Decorative Painting Business
I have 3 small children under the age of 5 and am pregnant with #4, so my life can get pretty hectic trying to balance it all. Over the years (and a few breakdowns later) I have had to learn how to balance my life through staying extremely organized.
The main thing that helps me to keep my life together is that I keep a weekly to do list, and I am not talking about just a simple bulleted list. I actually have it written down in categories and broken down by subject. Here are examples:
(List Each specific Client)
- To do list for that client
This is my longest section on my to do list. I sometimes have 10 clients in a week who have several different projects. Once a project is complete, I cross it out. Once all a clients work is done, I cross out that clients section with a diagonal line.
Next on my list is:
People I need to Email
This list can get pretty long. I include anyone from clients, friends, family, bloggers, facebook, etc. I get over 100 emails each day, oftentimes more, and I tend to forget who I need to respond to. So, if I keep a list I can stay up on this. I may not get the email out for a few days, but at least it helps me to remember that it needs to be done.
(List Each specific Blog)
- Subjects to post on
- Reply to Comments
- Giveaways / Product Reviews
I list all of my blogs and what I need to post about. This is a running list, because I will come up with ideas and not always get to them until weeks later. I try to post on my blogs at least once a week. My Painter Mommy is my main blog, so I post there more often and have more to do as far as responding to comments, running giveaways, etc.
Home Chore List
- Anything that needs to be done around the house
- Calls that need to be made
- Dr. Appointments
- Church mom’s group stuff
This list changes each week. I try to do one major chore in the house each week such as clean out my fridge, pantry, go through the kids clothes, clean the bathroom, dust, etc. It has been hard to keep up with this in the summer with all the kids home, but I try to squeeze these things in where I can. Once the kids are in preschool full time in September – I am hoping that I can get back on schedule with my home chores.
I keep this list on one large sheet of paper in a special notebook that has 12″ x 12″ lined paper in it. I love it, because I split the paper into 3 sections with lines and then have two sections for clients, one section for the home stuff, blogging, etc.
I start my list on Sunday afternoon or evening in preparation for Monday. I go over the to do list for the previous week and carry things over. I go through my emails to see what work needs to be done and who I need to respond to. I think this is great because then on Monday morning I can immediately get started without wasting time planning the week out.
Keeping an extensive to do list really helps me to stay balanced and to always remember what I need to do. I breathe easier having a plan. When I see it all in front of me, I can stay focused on the task at hand. At the end of each week, I feel so good seeing all the things that are checked off and completed. It is a feeling of true accomplishment.
To do lists are a must. I never start my day without one.
Good post on time management. I guess my dilemma is that I’m not a SAHM anymore. When I was, and ran my own business, taking care of the kids and household was just part of my day (it helped that my home biz was a daycare).
Now that I am working outside of the home, with a long commute, I never see my kids, I still need more money, and housework is absolutely on the bottom of my list. I have started using Remember The Milk for both home and work, it syncs with my phone, but I am, and always have been, good at ignoring my lists. I get overwhelmed way too easily.
O.K., done whining on your blog. Thanks, Dawn.
.-= Annette´s last blog ..Fresh and Easy =-.
Mary@Everyday Baby Steps says
Dawn, you are an organizational goddess! I need to get better about keeping a list of things. I know it’s better to get all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper, but I find myself so busy that I never do it. Writing it down would be so much more helpful. I have gotten a notebook and labeled its sections for various parts of my life – I just have to get into the habit of using it!
.-= Mary@Everyday Baby Steps´s last blog ..Quick Summer Hair Care Tips =-.
This is a great post! I am looking for ways to better keep track of my to-dos and this might work. Thanks for sharing!
Hope you are feeling well!
.-= Laura´s last blog ..Momma Cooks Monday – Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Bake =-.
Great Tips! I do a very similar list in my Busy Body Book – a calendar for busy mama’s like us! Which I will be writing a review within the next couple of weeks. Thanks again for sharing what you do 🙂 enjoyed reading it!
.-= Brandy´s last blog ..Email and 400 Bad Request Errors =-.
WoW Dawn, I am truly impressed!!! I’m tired just reading it!
Lorie Shewbridge says
I learned this trick way back when I was working in an office, now that I’m at home all the time, disabled, people think I have all the time in the world. I do however have several doctors appts. that I have to keep, and I am not always feeling very well. Plus, my medication can make me sleepy and forgetful, plus I suffer from anxiety and depression, so I can lose track for things quite easily. I keep what used to be known as a “tickler file”. I keep it in a journal, I write down things that need to be done, how far I’ve gotten on them (things like fighting with health insurance companies often take SEVERAL phone calls and detailed notes), with dates and times. Then when something is finished, it is crossed off. When a page is completely finished, like you I put a diagonal line through it. It really offers a sense of accomplishment when you cross something off your list, makes you feel good!
Thanks for the good advice, and let me say, I have NO IDEA how you do it all — you are and incredible woman. Good luck with the new baby, can’t wait to see the pictures. 🙂
.-= Lorie Shewbridge´s last blog ..MY FIRST AWARD – YIPPEE!!! =-.
Kim Bennett says
I agree that this is a great post! I keep only one to do list. It will be better management to break it down to a few lists. I’ll give it a go, thanks!
.-= Kim Bennett´s last blog ..Christmas in July Seminar with Brenda Stewart =-.
Kris Cain says
You are way too organized!! Annette, you sound like my long lost sister. I work full-time, I have 4 kids, and I run a business, or you could say many businesses… There’s the photography, the web design, and the computer stuff:) I make lists, many many lists… and then I lose them. 🙂
But for the most part I use Google Tasks which does sync to my iPhone. I actually wrote a post about using it over on Type-A Mom. I just can’t even seem to get enough things checked off. If I check off 1, 3 more get added.
I will take this as an inspiration. Maybe if I organize my lists this way, I can get more done!
.-= Kris Cain´s last blog ..Well, well, well.. ATT did have Apple pull GV Mobile =-.
workout mommy says
oh my goodness, how do you get so much done with 3+ little ones?!
I need to be better at lists and balancing, so thank you for these tips. I need them! 🙂
.-= workout mommy´s last blog ..Sitewarming party tonight! =-.
To-Do lists help me as well. I feel so accomplished when I can cross those tasks OFF! I like the idea of separate lists. I also run multiple businesses from home– this would help me prioritize my time much better.
.-= Tori´s last blog ..Pick Your Poison =-.
Mike Slovakia says
Sound like I’ve just found the solution to my main problem at present – lack of time!