If you're a busy mom who feels like your days are passing in a blur, while your to-do list grows faster than you can ever seem to keep up with, this one's for you. While it may seem as a stay at home mom in particular, you should have all the time in the world, your mom schedule can become less and less your own as your kids grow. Budgeting your time is so important to making the most of the one resource no one can buy more of... time. Read on to learn how implementing a block schedule with Artful Agenda helped me maximize my time, organize our family and eliminated chaos and miscommunication.
Mom Schedule Made Easy with Artful Agenda
I used to think being a stay at home mom would give me all the time in the world. Before kids, I used to sit at my desk at work, in my suit and heels, and drink my coffee while it was still hot, wondering what those women did all day. And with my first child, it seemed easy enough to find a routine and hours in the day while she was sleeping to get things done. But then, I added more kids. And they got older and began to have their own schedules and agendas... and suddenly, I felt like my days were passing in a blur with nothing getting accomplished beyond chauffeuring kids to and from school, activities and squeezing in errands.
Last year, I spent the entirety of the school year feeling like a chicken with my head cut-off. My three kids were at three different schools; simply keeping up with all the papers coming home, their schedules and events felt like a full-time job. Here it was the year I'd been waiting for - the first time all 3 kids would be in school at least part-time - and I seemed to have less time than ever.
With my kids older, gone were the days of a daily 2-3 hour nap time. These had been a sacred, and essential part of my mom schedule. It's how I built my first blog, and started a second... It's when I tackled major organizational tasks, like purging closets and cleaning out the pantry or playroom. And suddenly, with that time gone, I found myself unable to accomplish much of anything, and consistently frustrated by my lack of rhythm, routine and productivity. I had to start budgeting time more effectively, and I needed a tool to help me do it.
Budgeting Your Time Options
Over the years, I've tried different options to keep tabs on our family calendar and my personal tasks and appointments. I have white board monthly calendars in our kitchen that I got from the Target Dollar Spot that are a great tool. However, as my three kids got older, there was only so much you could cram in one little box. I also couldn't see it when I wasn't home to schedule appointments, commit to meetings, and I got tired of my husband always texting me to ask, "What's on the calendar this weekend?"
I also tried various paper planners, including Blue Sky and Erin Condren Life Planners. I found them effective for planning my work commitments, but I missed the days of my Outlook calendar at work - where I could see everything at a glance. I had to enter appointments multiple times to see them on a monthly and weekly view. And for them to really work to hold everything, they were big, bulky and not fun to carry around.
There had to be a digital option that could do all of the above...
Budgeting Your Time with Block Schedules in Artful Agenda
Last summer, before the start of the new school year, I set out to find something that would organize my life. I was running multiple Google calendars - for my business, for my personal life, and would soon have the school PTO on my plate too. I wanted to be able to
- Create and schedule to-do lists
- Color code my kids' schedules and activities
- Schedule recurring activities or appointments
- See monthly, weekly and daily views
- Sync with my existing digital calendars (iCal, Google)
And if it wasn't too much to ask, I wanted it to look pretty too.
Then, one day last July, I happened upon Artful Agenda on Instagram. And I decided to give it a test drive, which cost nothing with their free 2-week trial. That's all it took to hook me completely.
Building a Block Schedule in Artful Agenda
My lack of productivity was largely due to no longer having large blocks of time to accomplish major tasks. I might have 45 minutes between preschool drop-off and volunteering at the girls' school for library duty. It wasn't enough time to accomplish an entire task, so instead, I'd waste it - scrolling through social media, catching up on Netflix, or strolling through Target, wasting time AND money.
I no longer had 2-3 hour nap time blocks - but I did have time during the week. I just had to use it more effectively. A block schedule allows you to do just that.
I started by entering all my must-do tasks - this included the very basics of my day, like getting the girls on the bus, and taking my son to and from preschool. This allowed me to clearly visualize my "free" blocks of time.
Next, I layered in my commitments, like monthly PTO meetings, and the school calendar so no early dismissal days or school holidays would catch me by surprise (like last year when I got to take all 3 kids to the gynecologist because I scheduled my appointment on Rosh Hashanah, a school holiday).
Each week, I create my list of weekly priorities within Artful Agenda 's weekly view, and then I can schedule them into my "free" time blocks. If I don't finish - I can extend it to another block or another day. I block off time for household priorities, like cleaning out my or the kids' closets. I block off my bi-weekly trips to Costco. I block off time to write my weekly blog content and schedule my social media content daily.
I found daily periods of time I had simply been wasting - like the hour between getting the girls on the bus and leaving for preschool drop-off. By budgeting my time using a block schedule, I was more efficient with my time, making the most of every hour.
Try Artful Agenda for FREE
Artful Agenda fulfilled all my needs and then some. With space for monthly goals, weekly and daily priorities, and even somewhere to dump my brain and keep tabs on all my lists, no longer is my life scattered across whiteboards, paper planners, notebooks and post its.
I can view my Artful Agenda from my desktop, and via the Artful Agenda app on my iPhone and iPad. Even better, I can MEAL PLAN within Artful Agenda, and even track my water intake! And you can totally customize the appearance. Choose your cover and even what your typed entries look like.
Want to take it for a test run? You can trial Artful Agenda for two weeks FREE. After that, it's $35 for a year subscription. Less than $3 a month. And far less than the cost of my old paper planner.
The time you will get back - simply by being more efficient and intentional with the time you have will more than make it pay for itself!
With Artful Agenda, I made time for what mattered to me... just as I do with my money and a budget. I no longer drifted from errand to errand, and school drop off to pick up aimlessly. My block schedule now tells me what to do with my time, and when I need to say no because there are only so many hours in the day. I found time for my blog again, for workouts, and even regular lunch with friends. What could you accomplish if you made the most of your day by budgeting your time more effectively?