It’s a chilly day in Austin. I know in other places around the US the leaves have started changing colors and the morning air is crisp (it’s even snowed in Colorado already). I always feel like change is in the air on these kinds of days and during this season.
I have hit my stride with the start of the school year well behind me. My morning routine is consistent (if you need help with this, check out my post on my morning routine). Don’t get me wrong, I’ve already had a few curve balls. Hello, stomach bug! (our older son already got one) Even with those unusual situations, I am still feeling pretty comfortable in how things are going, especially since my book was launched a few weeks ago and the event I co-chaired has only a few loose ends left since it happened last week. Woohoo!
Planning and Change Go Hand-in-hand
It’s at about this point each year that I start thinking about bigger changes I want to make. As someone in the corporate world, this was planning season for most pieces of business I worked on. And, let’s be honest, it’s hard to break old habits and I’m not sure if I really want to break this habit as a working mom. You might also think about this as planning season for work or for your business, but what about for your own goals?
And, if you’re wanting to transition to a professional part-time role in 2018, this is the perfect time to start thinking about changes in your life. Or you might be looking at what worked or didn’t work over the summer and with the start of the school year and you realize something needs to change.
How am I Tracking Compared to Annual Goals?
One of those things that might need to change may have to do with whatever you set out to achieve this year. As I start thinking strategically about the next year, I start looking at how I’m tracking in comparison to my annual goals. Do I need to make any changes to ensure I hit those goals? Did I need to change anything about the goals or are they still reasonable? What can I proactively do to make things happen? For example, can I do a training? Do I need to outsource some tasks? Am I realizing I can aim higher, so I need to adjust my goals upward?
What to Change?
Now that I know how I’m tracking, what changes do I want to make as a working mom? It’s rare that we want to simply start everything over from scratch, so think through what exactly you want to change. What’s working and what’s not, whether on the home front or the professional side? Based on that and my overall goals, what small or big areas do I want to change? How do I want to be spending my time in comparison to how I am spending my time?
What’s the Motivation for Change?
You want a change, but why do you want to make a change? What’s the driving force behind it? Have things happened at work? New boss who you’re not excited about? Maybe you’ve uncovered a new potential revenue stream that you are excited about? Do I (or does my family) have new goals and I need to make changes to reach those goals? Am I feeling more driven at work or on the home front? Do I want to spend some time dedicated to a new passion? Is my family needing me more? Am I realizing I need more time to get things done? Do I have more on my plate because things have shifted (e.g., new baby, spouse is traveling more for work, aging parents who need more care) and I need to make changes to make room for those new things?
If you’re wanting to make a change to a professional part-time role, I have a blog specifically on uncovering your motivation for that change. You want to make sure whatever changes you’re proposing actually provide whatever you uncover as your central motivation.
When do I want Changes to Happen?
Making change happen isn’t helpful unless you know the timing for those changes. Do I want to make changes immediately? Will those changes have a short-term or long-term impact? Do I need to start setting up changes I want to make for next year? It might seem like a ways off, but the new year will be here before you know it. Understand small adjustments that will have a big impact in a few months, so that you don’t have to make huge changes later on. Big changes are often harder to implement than the little changes now.
Am I using time wisely?
It’s helpful to understand how you’re spending your time before trying to make changes. If you made changes, would you be able to take advantage of them? What is filling up my day? It’s also helpful to understand if you’re spending time on things that add value to your day, whatever your definition of value is?
If you’re not sure how you spend your time, make the effort to track your time over a week period. Use 15-minute increments on a Word document or Excel spreadsheet or make sure to track it on your calendar. You might be surprised how much time you have or what you’re spending time on.
Alright, mamas, you’re realizing you want to make changes and that you might need to better utilize your time. These 5 tips to make the most use of your time may help:
- Say “no” to things to say “yes” to other things. If your plate is full, it’s likely time to say “my plate it full.” Figure out how you want to say no – maybe no outright or maybe not right now. Proactively take things off your plate, so that you can add new things.
- Be realistic with your daily goals. Have 3-5 goals you establish for the day, but have one main goal you’re trying to achieve. I take bigger goals and break them down into small bite-size goals.
- Prep the night before. Sure, prepping is something I do to improve my time management the next day. It’s also something that helps me strategically. I take a moment each night to figure out what I want to achieve the next day. It keeps me on track and helps me strategically think through how to spend my time. That way I don’t take up time thinking through what’s next and, instead, hit the ground running with my to-do’s.
- Keep track of wins to stay motivated. My version of this is having To do vs Did lists. Essentially, I look at what I’ve achieved on my to do list and it helps keep me fired up for all the things left to do. And use whatever is helpful. I am a pen and paper kind of gal for my to do list, so I can see what’s checked off. You can strike through for online lists as well.
- Take time for self-care. It’s really hard to be at your best with everything you’re trying to achieve if you’re not taking care of yourself. When I say self-care, I mean the 360-degree version of this. You need to eat well, get enough sleep, drink plenty of water, and actually do things that fill your cup. You want to be at your best.
How are you making change happen in your professional or home life? Do you have tips or tricks that help you be more intentional with who you’re spending your time? What are the types of changes you’re trying to implement in the short and long-term? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
Interested in learning more about the change to a professional part-time role? Download a sneak peek of Mompowerment: Insights from Successful Professional Part-time Working Moms Who Balance Career and Family.