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For years I’ve dreamed of writing a novel. I took creative writing courses in high school but then didn’t pursue it much in college and immediately after as I was full of other travel, career, and family dreams. Unfortunately, it was not in my business mom calendar. However, as I worked away in the business and then teaching worlds, my love of reading and writing again bubbled up to the surface and called to me. Lauren! You need to write!
What can you do to accomplish personal goals?
So I tried to do what I could. I outlined or wrote a character in my 15-minute breaks. I wrote scenes and small stuff, but again the business of life and two small children intervened. Absolutely, this is still something for which I have a passion. How in the world can I make time to include my personal goals outside of family life? Last year I quit my job to stay home with our two kids, and it feels like there’s never a minute free.
My mind answered me, just do it. First off, make a plan and stick to it. Okay, that’s easy enough. But what’s practical, doable right now step one? For me, step one is simply making a calendar. What are my priorities, carve out time for them in my mom calendar, and stick to it!
Specifically, find time for you! Busy moms have to plan time in a mom calendar to accomplish their own goals outside of the home. Utilize my free printable calendar and set time aside for you, not the kids or straightening the house.
What are your goals?
Are you in the same boat as me? Do you have stories longing to come out but need time and discipline to get pen to paper, or fingers to the computer, to write? What are your goals for yourself? Perhaps take a few minutes and write out some long-term goals, and then go back and write out some short-term, step by step goals to get you there. We could go into goal setting in a series of blog posts, but I won’t go there right now, just do some brainstorming and get the basics down.
Once my goals are written out, my brain immediately thinks, “Okay, that’s great, but where are we going to find time to get all these things done?” If you are a stay at home mom do you have friends, acquaintances, even family, who think you have all the time in the world?
“It must be so nice to have all that free time!”
Free time, really? If you have small children at home you do not have free time. In fact, you can’t leave them alone for more than a minute or so before they climb the cabinets, wander outside, ask if you have any more paint for their wall painting, etc. If you are lucky your child will take a nap, and if you have two or more fat chance they’ll nap at the same time. Then you’re expected to get the house cleaned, plan and prepare fabulous meals, take any older children to all their art clubs, soccer practices, swimming, and bring home the car pool. The truth is there is no peace and quiet for mom to sit around and watch TV, browse the internet, and eat chocolate all day as many people infer.
To be honest, I actually had more “me” time when my kids were in daycare, and I worked my full-time corporate job. Yes, it was busy running from place to place, but there were more times during the day I could actually take a 15-minute break with no demands on me by a small person. Moreover, I could do something like take a walk or read a book for the sheer pleasure of it and not be interrupted. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom and loving on my kids. However, a healthy balance can be reached for your personal goals as well as family time.
Mom Calendar Plan
So how do you find time to accomplish your goals? To begin with, I go for the simple and practical: make a schedule and follow it. Make it work. If it isn’t working, move things around on your mom calendar until it does.
Have you watched the movie or read the book About a Boy? The Hugh Grant character Will divides his day into “units” consisting of no more than 30 minutes of time. At the time, as he plans his days this way he may be immature and have a schedule nothing like my own, but I like this idea. 30 minutes of time. I would even make my “unit” equal to 15 minutes. If you have a plan and a purpose, you can get amazing amounts of work done in 15-minute blocks of time.
Would you like a mountain getaway this summer? I love Estes Park, Colorado, and I've given you the scoop on my favorite restaurants in and around. Because we all like to eat! Have an experience. Try out one of these Estes Park restaurants with character.
How do you plan your units? A calendar of course.
Maybe I’m just old or old-fashioned, but I really think there’s something to be said for writing out your goals, schedules, and calendars. Put them out there where you’ll see them consistently, and not just on your phone. When I want to brainstorm something I write my topics and ideas out on sticky notes and put them on a poster or my wall so I can move things around and get a visual picture in my head. The same goes for my weekly calendar. It’s not enough to write it out in my giant planner that is a pain to drag around and only gets opened once a day. I need a calendar/schedule I can stick on the wall or fold in half and stuff in my purse. Then I have it when I go out for easy reminders and edits.
If you can do it on your phone that’s great. It’s always with you. I put things like dentist appointments, dinner parties, and birthdays on my phone, but for the week broken down into “units” of time, I prefer paper. I tried a planner, but just couldn’t make it work since I couldn't stick it on my wall, and it was so large. Then I tried designing my own weekly calendar printable I could just print out once a week, fill in when I could, and print another one next week. The picture above is my current mom calendar. It's actually a little calmer than usual as we are recovering from Easter. You can see I have some work to do and detail to add!
Weekly Calendar Printable
Here’s what I came up with for myself and have been using. I actually have two different versions I'll include in the download. First, there's one with only the hours listed for those who like a less cluttered look, and one with the half hours in case you like those extra lines and encouragement to write small. I actually prefer the on with the half hour. But wait! My Mom Calendar, as I call it, has more than just the hours of the day. It also has places for other items I brainstorm and plan for all the time: meals, the grocery list, and a basic to-do list. Download it just below to purpose and organize!
Ultimately, if you think you can do it, you will. Equally, if you think you can't, you won't. Write out that mom calendar, and even if it’s only 15 minutes here and there, put in time for you. What do you want to accomplish? Find a babysitter if necessary. Set short term and long term goals. Make a plan to follow through. Get the help and the support of others.
I struggle to get time during the week, but simple things like going to bed earlier and getting up an hour earlier to write could make a huge difference in my productivity. I have some experimentation and a lot of work to do to get it right! You’ll be hearing more about my scheduling, research on writing stories, and my writing goals in the near future. I hope some of you will join me on this writing journey.
I have a confession to make. Yes, here it is: I love pens. Not boring pens, but ink-flowing, colorful, comfortable pens that make me feel creative and happy. Highlighters, pens, and sticky notes are fabulous inspirational planning items, and I highly recommend them. Pick some up at the store or check these links out from Amazon and get your goals set and calendar planned today!
Get started today!
What are you waiting for? Are you like me and want to flex your writing skills and accomplish that first novel? Do you have fitness and exercise goals? Are you determined to get back into painting or maybe do your masters on-line? Whatever it may be, do it for not just yourself but for your family also. A well rounded you is a happier you and will rub off and make the entire household flow more smoothly.
Tell me in the comments today, what would like to carve our time for? What hidden dreams and goals are just waiting for the right chance to pull out? I’d love to hear about them!