My Top Time Management Tips for Achieving Balance

These time management tips well help you fight overwhelm and learn to balance career and family.

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A lot of people ask me how I find the time to work a full-time outside the home career, manage my blog and social media accounts, and commit to my marriage in the way it seems I do. I know it sounds like a lot (and it is) but it’s doable. I spent about a year trying different time management tips I read in books or online until I found systems and schedules that work for us.

Sure, there were plenty of days when I’ve felt overwhelmed by feeling like I had to do #allthethings. I would feel pulled in a million different directions meetings at work with looming deadlines that required long hours, while also having sponsored posts due for the blog and eProducts I wanted to release, and also knowing that my parents were coming in for a visit, my husband had a work event I had to attend, and I had promised a screen-free romantic weekend away.

It was overwhelming.

I used to get frustrated feeling like there just isn’t enough time to do it all. I would become impatient and feel like quitting but when something is important to you, you find the time. I knew that I could shut down my blog and free up a lot of time or I could quit my job to blog full-time but I didn’t consider either of those to really be options. There is no way I would never consider doing either. It became a matter of finding a way to make it all work. After a lot of trial and error, insanely early mornings, very late nights, and a couple of arguments, I started to find our lives organized in a way that allowed me to balance it all and still feel fulfilled as a wife.

Time Management Tips for Balancing Career and Family

At this phase in my life, I feel fulfilled as both a woman and a wife. I have a career that I love, a hobby I enjoy, and a husband I adore. I didn’t want to let any part of my life go and these time management tips help me balance it all.

Plan your mornings

Try to do as much as you can the night before so that your mornings move quicker and smoother. I have learned to shower at night and refresh my hair with a light mist of dry shampoo (I use this one) in the morning if it’s looking a little greasy. I also plan my outfit, down to accessories and shoes, the night before and hang it together in my closet. In the morning I can wash my face, mist my hair, and put on my planned outfit in less than 15 minutes. It’s such a time-saver and it gives me more time to sit down to breakfast with my husband or otherwise spend a few minutes together before rushing out into Atlanta traffic.

I also love, love, love this sunrise alarm clock which wakes you up gently with an increasingly bright light instead of the annoying ‘beep’ ‘beep’ ‘beep’ of the a standard alarm. I find that I wake up in a better mood and snooze less often with the sunrise clock. It’s just a kinder way to wake up.

Start meal planning and prepping

I’m convinced Sundays were made for meal planning and prepping. I tried a few of those food subscription boxes like HomeChef but I was not a fan. I did a FB live unboxing of my first HomeChef subscription and it was a big disappointment. The food just wasn’t that good and I didn’t feel like what they sent was worth the money spent. I have become a big fan of Mindful Meal. It’s actually a meal planning service and it’s very helpful. You create taste profiles for every member of your family and it gives you recipes that match those preferences. Then, you print your recipes and shopping list and you’re done. So simple! 

I will also prep as much as I can on Sunday so I have more time during the week and I’ll recruit my husband to help so it doubles as family time. He can chop a bell pepper or smash potatoes just as well as I can so why shouldn’t he help? Teaming up just gets it done faster. Having as much as possible prepped ahead of time means that dinner during most of the week can be done in 30 minutes or less.  

Learn to use a planner

Until recently my entire life (career, blog, family) was in my phone. I used the Cozi app to keep my schedule, to-do lists, reminders, and everything else easily accessible on my phone and synced with my husband. It worked fabulous until my bad habits made it a mess. My phone was starting to have so many alerts going off at all times (text messages, social media alerts, email notifications, app updates, sales alerts, reminders, appointment reminders, etc) that it became overwhelming. I started dismissing reminders or clearing notification without really looking at them which led to me being a disorganized mess despite having great organization tools.

Then I bought the Happy Planner by Create 365. I knew the only way I would use it was if I committed myself to it and went all the way so I bought a custom hard cover for it, bought a ton of planner stickers and decorative things and removed all reminders from my phone except the one the night before that told me to sit down and review my planner.

I use my planner to track office meetings, set project deadlines for the office, brainstorm and schedule blog post ideas, schedule date night, record doctor’s appointments, and identify special occasions. My whole life is there and easily accessible at a glance (decorated with ribbons and witty sayings and all).

Learn to use a planner and master the time management skills you need to balance career, family, and blogging.

Embrace automation for your bills and social media

We have almost all of our bills to automatic payments so remember to pay bills is no longer something we have to remember to do. We sit down during our ‘Money Monday’ meetings and review what was paid that week and our bank account balances but having to remember to pay the electric bill or the gym membership is no longer something that is on our to-do lists. One less thing to do means more time for our family so it’s a great way to free up a few extra minutes with each other.

If you manage social media accounts in your career or if you’re a blogger feeling like you have to be everywhere at all times, automation tools for your social media accounts is a must. Right now I use Tailwind to automatically pin for me and it pins over 100 times per day. It is one of the most productive tools I use for my social media and it means I don’t have to spend more than 15 – 20 minutes on Pinterest per day. I also use ViralTag to post to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. ViralTag allows you to recycle your social media content so I can set promotional posts for my content and other people’s content, images, affiliate links, sales links, etc and then forget it. There are some days I won’t even look at Facebook or Twitter but I know my feed is running because ViralTag is recycling the posts in my content library.

Schedule off time and use vacation days

It’s important to us to balance our careers with our marriage and scheduling time to be off work and offline is treated as a top priority. We value screen-free time and make sure that quitting time is always in my planner and strictly adhered to. Sometimes that might mean that a blog post isn’t published or that an email isn’t answered until the next day but our hearts say that family comes first and so we treat it that way.

We also are sure to use the vacation days we accrue at work. I know a lot of people in my office that let their days accumulate to the point where they are about to lose them before they turn them in and take a couple of days off. Brandon and I use our days. We are sure to schedule vacation days off together for at least one full week every year. We don’t necessarily always travel but we are always sure to take a few days off and focus solely on spending time with one another. During that week, both the office and the blog have to wait.

Balance your Life Wheel

A Life Balance Wheel is a concept that requires you to divide a wheel by role or responsibility then fill in the categories until you see where your life falls out of balance. It allows you to then view your life balance at a glance and add or subtract items from your life based on where you need to realign. Brandon and I create a new Life Balance Wheel at the beginning of every month so we can adjust as needed so we feel in control in the month ahead. 

I outline the concept and steps involved in creating your own Life Balance Wheel in my new (free) workbook which you can get here or by subscribing below.

Do you have any special time management tips to share?  How do you achieve balance?

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl

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