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How to Make the Most of Your 24-Hour Day: Part 1

Time Management

In recent months, many people have asked how I manage my time. While I’ve written on time management fairly extensively in the past, it’s been awhile since I’ve done so. And my season of life has changed quite a bit, which has changed how I manage my time and my days. So I figured it was time for another up-to-date series on the subject of time management.

I want to kick things off with one time management mindset that has radically shifted the way I think and live…

“I don’t have time.”

How often have you heard and said that phrase? I’d wager to guess you’ve said it a lot. I have, too.

But we all have the time 24 hours in each day. We all get to choose how we spend them.

Yes, you have choice.

Remember my post from earlier this week when I said that my was really full for the next few weeks? But I quickly stated that this is the life I’ve chosen.

I’ve chosen to write a book. We’ve chosen to homeschool our kids. I’ve chosen to run a blog.

I could have chosen not to take any one (or all!) of these things. Understanding this and owning this has changed my life.

I am not a slave to life. I don’t have to stay stuck in a situation if I’m miserable.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “I wish I could get on a budget.” Or, “I wish we could save more money.” Or, “I wish I could find a way to earn money from home.”

All of those things are possible, if you choose to make them a priority.

And that means you’re going to have to say “no” to a lot of other things. Because you can’t do it all.

How you spend your 24 hours is up to you.

You can choose to be intentional. You can choose to set small goals and follow through with them. You can choose to seize each day and use it wisely.

Or, you can choose to wander through your days, going around in circles, procrastinating, and wasting time.

The choice is yours.

I wanted to start this series with a very foundational principle that has impacted and shaped the way I view time management. Beginning Tuesday, we’ll be diving in and getting really practical — starting off by talking about how I’ve made choices in what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to and why.

Do you have any time management questions you’d love for me to try to answer or address in this series? If so, ask away in the comments and I’ll do my best to work in as many answers to your questions as possible as part of this series.

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  • Kda says:

    Now please do not hate me, but I just sent my baby to kindergarten. So I have a 2nd grader and kindergarter gone all day at a Christian school. I would love to homeschool but right now it does not work for us. So I have to much time on my hands and do not get anything done. It seems like when you are busy you get more done. Any suggestions for time management when you all of a sudden are free 8 hours a day 5 days a week? I am going to start subbing and volunteering at my girls school so hopefully that will help keep me busy. I drop them off at 8:00 go to the gym and then get in car pool line at 2:30. Again I know people would kill for free time but I am about to go crazy. I do not want to get out because I will just spend money.

    • We’re all about doing what is best for your own family here… Our family has chosen to homeschool for a variety of reasons but I completely understand that that choice doesn’t work for every family nor is it the best choice for every family. {Hugs!}

    • Kellie says:

      Kda, I don’t think anyone hates you for having extra time on your hands — envy, yes — but you have nothing to feel guilty about. 🙂

      I have two girls that go to Christian school 3 days a week and a son that I homeschool, but yesterday I had a taste of your life. My son was recovering from getting his wisdom teeth out and the girls were at school. To get the most done I just wrote a general schedule for the day: morning routine, then 4 hours for cleaning (yes, it was that bad!), 1.5 hours to visit a church member in the hospital, 1 hour for homeschool planning, etc. It worked beautifully! If I were in your situation, I would schedule a certain amount of time for normal daily tasks and times for special projects. It would be nice to have a couple of scheduled things as well — you could go to a Bible study once a week (I love Bible Study Fellowship) and you could do some regular volunteer work.

      Enjoy this stage — it goes by very quickly!

      • lori says:

        These are all great suggestions but don’t forget to schedule some time just for you! Find something you enjoy doing and make some time for that every day as well … exercise, reading, give yourself a mani/pedi. A happy mommy makes for a happy family.

    • Amy R says:

      I am in the exact same position!!! My youngest just started school and all of the sudden I have more time than I’ve had in the last 14 years and my house is in worse shape than it’s ever been! Now, in a slight defense, I’ve been fighting an upper respiratory infection for 10 days, but still, I have absolutely no excuse! I need some kind of structure. Last week was the first week, so I’m giving myself grace (a sort of mourning period) because I was sick and reaaaaalllly missed my little guy. Tuesday morning (after the holiday), I’m going to have to start some kind of schedule or I will go insane! I also totally understand not wanting to get out and just “wander” because I also think it would lead to unnecessary spending.

      Totally, OT…does anyone have a great essential oil suggestion for upper respiratory issues. I’ve been on antibiotics for 10 days and am getting ready to start a second round. I would love to try a more natural treatment plan!

      • Luba says:

        Hello Amy,

        So sorry that you are not feeling well. Upper respiratory infections are no fun. I do not have any essential oil suggestions, but if you would email me at luba (dot) rokpelnis (at) gmail (dot) come, I would love to give you some helpful information that has no side affects. 🙂

      • I’m SO sorry you’ve not been feeling well!

        A couple of essential oil suggestions: Thieves, OnGuard, or Oregano. You can diffuse the Thieves or OnGuard or sprinkle a few drops in a warm bath and soak in it. Or, you can dilute any of them in a little coconut oil and rub them on the bottoms of your feet and then put socks on.

        These are my favorite oils to kick colds and other sicknesses.

      • Lana says:

        I would use Plague Defense from Heritage Essential Oils .com. Put it on the bottoms of your feet 3 times a day for 5 days. Keep socks on to keep the oil warm and absorbing. It will kill anything viral which would generally be what is behind an upper respiratory infection. That is also why the antibiotic is not working as it will not work on anything viral.

    • Lana says:

      I went through that when I was suddenly finished with homeschooling after graduating our youngest and became a stay at home wife. I make a list for the entire week on Sunday. It includes my cleaning chores, laundry, errands, cooking and baking and anything else that needs to be done. My goal is to have everything done by 5 PM everyday but you would probably want to get it all done before school pick up. It works! I feel on top of my day and my week all of the time.

    • Guest says:

      Make a list of everything you want/need to accomplish in Sunday evenings and then assign them to each day. Do all of your chores in the morning so you can relax in the afternoon before starting the bewitching evening hours.

    • MonicaBerry says:

      This has kinda been my issue too. I wasn’t breaking even on daycare costs when I went back to work with my first, so I became a stay at home mom. I used to do much better with a schedule to work around and all the “freedom” led to me completely losing my grip on any sort of time management.
      I’ve found some success with working around meal and nap times (and now preschool) as my structure, but I’m still struggling.
      In fact, my question for Crystal is this; if one has tried a few different methods of time management and met with mixed results, but ultimately backslid into chaos each time… How do you decide what method “works” for you? Should I keep plugging away at the one with the most (albeit marginal) success? Or keep searching out new methods?
      Thanks! I look forward to this series!

      • leah says:

        I struggle with time management as a sahm and hard tried lots of different methods. Ultimately I become bored or life becomes chaotic (kids get sick…family stays the weekend etc..) I have had the most success with FLY LADY when I follow her method and don’t beat myself up about not getting everything done at once. However I will tweak it here and there to work for my family of 6. Ultimately just keep at it. And declutter. I always feel better and get more done in a clutter free area.

  • Kayla says:

    Yay! I am so excited for this! I followed the 10 Day Rise & Shine Challenge and loved learning how to take control of my mornings, now it’s time for me to tackle the management of the rest of my days!
    I’m a stay at home mama of two littles (ages 4 and 1), and I think my biggest time management problem is refocusing after interruptions. I can have the best laid plans for the day, but once I have to stop a project to tend to the kiddos, I have the hardest time getting back into it. And I feel like it’s a constant back and forth, back and forth all day long, which tends to be exhausting.
    I know that setting some routines with the kids will be easier when they’re older, but I would love some time management tips for how to handle the chaotic and ever changing days we have right now.

    • Diana says:

      I was actually going to ask the same thing! You worded it much more clearly than I could have, though–thanks 😉 I have a 2 year old and 2 month old, so the interruptions are just as constant as yours, I’m sure. (At least the younger one does take some naps!)

      The other part of my question is, how do you prioritize what to do when they’re all sleeping? Half the time I think, “THEY’RE SLEEPING! I could do A, B, C, D, E, or F.” I get so stuck in thinking of which would be the perfect one to do that I end up not doing any of them. I guess that’s kind of answering my own question, huh–just do one, and it doesn’t have to be *the* perfect one. 🙂

      Also, I did the Rise and Shine thing too, and getting up early did help tremendously! I left a comment about deciding the night before on one thing to get done during that morning time, and that’s working great. But that doesn’t always work for naptime–sometimes nap happens, sometimes it doesn’t. If I plan to finish ___ during a nap, and then nap doesn’t happen like I expected, then I can be frustrated. Maybe the key is to make a tentative plan and then plan to be flexible? 🙂 Kids change so fast that my strategies for life have to keep changing too! That’s tough–they take me a long time to figure out! 🙂

      • Aleah says:

        Crystal has mentioned this before, but making the “to do” list before going to bed has been hugely helpful for me lately! And at the top of my list, I put the one critical thing. Like, I must do laundry or we’ll all be wearing stinky clothes. And then I make that my MISSION. Every spare moment goes to that one thing until it is done. And it may not be until 4 pm after 947 interruptions, but it does get done and we don’t stink! 😉 I’ve found I have more time than I *think* I have, especially when I think of ways to incorporate my littles. For example, my two-year-old LOVES pushing wet clothes into the dryer. So I can do the change over right with him with me 🙂 little things like that make a big difference!

        • Diana says:

          Good idea on the mission! Love it 🙂 And my little guy loves the laundry switch too 🙂 There are very few chores that I can’t do with him there, but cleaning the bathroom is one I *much* prefer to do without interruptions. That’ll have to be my mission occasionally 🙂

          • Mariah says:

            My kids are 9, 8, and 5 now. When they were toddlers I would let them play in the bath tub while I cleaned the bathroom. That was the only way I could get it done. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I understand what you are saying but I do not agree that we all have the same amount of time. I did not choose chronic illness. I did not choose chronic pain and fatigue. I am able on good days to be out of bed 30-60 minutes per day, and that is five minutes at a time spread over the day.

    • I’m so glad you brought this up, because we all do have 24 hours, but we all have different seasons, abilities, and situations. So we all need to take that into account and give ourselves grace based upon our own unique season and situation.

      You aren’t going to be able to have goals or priorities that look anywhere near someone who is in great health and not in chronic pain, but you can still have goals and priorities. You can still choose to make the most of your situation, even though it is very difficult. For you, the priorities might be getting a lot of sleep, doing the basic of basics, eating foods that will help you feel as best as you can feel, and, whenever you are not in massive pain, researching things that might help you be in less pain.

      I am so very sorry you are dealing with such chronic pain! I cannot even imagine how difficult and discouraging that would be. I just prayed for some encouragement for you this morning. {Hugs!}

    • Quinn says:


      Can I ask you what encourages you? What lifts your spirits? I want to encourage my Dad from a distance who has M.S. and is not able to walk and is progressively getting worse.

      • I LOVE this question! Thank you for asking… I’d love to hear what Laura says so I can know better how to encourage those who are struggling with chronic illness.

      • Lyn says:

        Hi Quinn,
        I’m so sorry to hear your dad has M.S. Since he is not able to walk now, does he have any help at home? If not, can he get someone to come in – a hired homemaker (often paid for with insurance) to help him with daily tasks and errands?

        If he has help at home, just caring and being there for him are some of the best things you can do. Send him encouraging cards or emails. Call and chat with him. Sometimes just knowing people really and truly care means the world. It’s not always easy to find friends and loved ones who want to be around those who are ill. When you are able to visit, ask him what he needs and what you can do for him. Honestly, when you’re chronically ill, there are so many emotions that go along with that, and you don’t want to be a burden to others. It’s unlikely that he will reach out to you or anyone for help, because I’m sure he doesn’t want to burden you. It is natural by nature to want to do things ourselves, and yes, sometimes it is due to pride.

        God bless you for caring so much about your dad. I’m sure he knows how much you love him. I wish you both well, and will pray for his health. Take care.

    • Carla says:

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts.

    • Lyn says:

      Hi Laura,
      I understand the frustration that comes from having chronic illness. I’ve been ill over 20 years now and have gone through many ups and downs and continue to do so.

      I replied to someone else below but wanted to mention it to you. Perhaps my thoughts can help I hope.

      You are right, you didn’t choose to be ill, and neither did I. We can only do the best that we can and make the most of our life where it is. Anything you do on a daily basis is a positive thing, no matter how small. I know it’s hard but try to not feel defeated. You have much to offer, and even if you can’t get out of bed much right now, there are things you can do in bed. In bed, you can – fold clothes, organize a drawer or container, do paperwork, organize your week, make a menu, declutter magazines or papers, just to name a few.

      You can also encourage others and be a friend to people by phone, or by computer. Sometimes it helps to get out of our own pain and reach out to others. No matter how hard it is, any small thing you can do will make you feel better along the way. And when you do have a little energy, do a bit of what needs to be done, and don’t forget to do something for you too.

      No, we can’t do as much as others can do, but that doesn’t make us any less valuable as a human being.

      Wish you all the best. 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    All I want you to teach me is how to make a whole bunch of time. And maybe how to turn back the clock. That’s all. Thanking you in advance. 🙂

  • Leigh says:

    I want to work from home so I can be with my two kids and my husband more. My kids are young (3 and 2.5 months) and I work full-time outside the home. I spend about 1.5 hrs in traffic each day and I live 17 miles from my job. We can’t afford to move any closer; we’re considering moving further away because despite gas and time difference, rent would be cheaper and moving would actually save us money. My husband works at night so literally I walk in and he goes to work. I don’t really know how to squeeze more time in my day to even begin to find work from home positions. I should mention my job provides our health insurance so whatever I do, we would have to make sure we can have good health coverage and it would need be to full-time pay. Does that exist?

  • BJ says:

    You mentioned in the past that you don’t personally do all the deals that you post. So how have you pared down to determine which drug stores deals and deal posting you take advantage of? In other words, what do you determine personally that is worth your time doing?

  • I look forward to this!

    I also don’t use the phrase “I don’t have time”. Instead it’s “that’s not a priority right now” (like the difference between can’t afford it and it’s not in the budget. reminds me of my power of choice).

    • My favorite turn of phrase 🙂 There are a million reasons something may not be a priority right now. We have to own these reasons, even if they aren’t politically correct. I have time to train for a marathon. I just don’t want to. Using the language “It’s not a priority” instead of “I don’t have time” reminds us that time is a choice, and if we don’t like something about it, often it’s possible to choose differently. Maybe not in every case. But probably in most.

  • Christine says:

    I agree with BJ. How do you decide what deals to take advantage of? How much time do you allot to searching for deals in your area and running around to all the stores to take advantage of them? Thank you.

  • Lety says:

    Hi Crystal! I am so looking forward to this blog series! I don’t know how much you know about me, but I don’t work and have no children. Yet my husband and I seem to never have enough time to get through everything we set out to do each week. I am certain it is mainly because scheduling our time is new to us. I was in such a state of depression for so long that we were just living aimlessly for years. I thank God for pulling me through that and realizing we CAN change! But like everything in life, it’s a process. I know I will learn a lot from your series! Thank you for always knowing exactly what we need to improve on 🙂 xo!!

  • Esther says:

    I would love to hear specifics on how you homeschool your kids — schedule, curriculum (if you’re willing to share it), etc. As a homeschooling mom, I’m always interested in how other families structure their school day. I love homeschooling, but I can’t imagine adding anything else time-consuming to my day (like running a business!) I’m amazed that you are able to both.

  • Victoria says:

    The “I don’t have time” excuse can be such a hurdle to get past sometimes. Often I wake up thinking there is no way I am getting all that is swirling around in my head done today, then I take a few minutes to sit down with a cup of tea and think about what “really” needs to be done this very day, and I write those things down, and then I find I often have time to add a long term project I am working on. I also find this process helps me figure out when to do something. For instance if I have an appointment to go to, that is a great time to bring along some mail to answer or some knitting I want to finish. It never ceases to amazes me that when I take those few minutes to write that to do list I find I do have time. Looking forward to the rest of this series!

  • Amanda says:

    My question may seem a little off topic, but I’m wondering if you ever feel guilt based on saying yes/no to certain areas of life. I feel guilty if I spend more time with my kids and neglect the house, but then I feel guilty if I spend time cleaning my house and feel like I am neglecting my kids. I know that it all needs to get done, but I don’t like the feeling that one area is suffering for the benefit of another.

    • Quinn says:

      I’m interested in this as well. I’m a new mom of a 10 month old.

    • Melanie says:

      Feeling guilty about where I spend or don’t spend my time is also my main struggle with time right now. I have two little ones (3 and 8 months) and also exclusively pump for my baby as she has a cleft palate. For the first time in my life I am struggling to keep up with the basics (laundry, shopping, cooking, & cleaning) and spend adequate time with my little ones.

      • Really looking forward to this because time management is always so hard for me.

        I have two young kids (one is three and the other just turned two yesterday). I find it very hard to have much time to get anything done during the day because they both require so much attention. I wake up early to get some stuff done, but I would love any tips on how to get some time out of the other hours of the day. And like Amanda and Melanie, guilt creeps in when I try to steal time from the kids. I used to work full-time which always made me feel guilty and now that I am home with them, I fell like I am cheating them if I am not giving them 100% of my attention when they are up. Gotta love the mom-guilt. It seems to get you any way you go!

    • Jeanine says:

      Yes, I have this problem too. Lately my house has been really clean, but I feel like I’ve totally ignored the kids to get stuff done! 🙁

  • kristin says:

    How do you manage your social media. I have started as a Norwex independent sales consultant and I hope to build a business online in various outlets. Facebook, instagram, twitter, website, blog. But I want to know the most efficient way to make posts and not spend my entire day on the internet.

  • sandra says:

    I have a different situation, my kids are grown now, and it makes me crazy to think that I used to get more done when they were little than I do now. I think it’s that we used to be on such a set schedule with everything, and now I’m not. Is anyone else out there finding that they are in my sitiuation? I get aggravated with myself, because I feel unmotivated. what I;ve been noticeing on here is people making lists to do, I guess that’s what I need to do also.

    • Guest says:

      From the daughter of a mother who was very efficient and productive when I was at home and now is not, please take some time to figure out what your new goals are and plan accordingly. I’m happy my mom is able to have more down time but I see her frustration with herself because she’s late a lot, doesn’t get much done and I think is sort of like a boat without a rudder. This is an exciting (and possibly daunting) time for you but this is the next chapter God has for you and He had a plan and a purpose for you in it!

      • sandra says:

        thanks for the encouragement. everyone else makes lists and seems to stay on track like that, I think that just may keep me accountable to myself , I’m going to start trying that.

  • I appreciate you having a series on managing time. I was getting much better at managing my time last spring, but the craziness of summer and vacation led to some bad habits. I’m working on getting back to where I want to be – in control of my time. We are facing lots of home projects (with the goal of selling our home six months from now) and other tasks. Being on top of my time will really help to fit these extras in. 🙂

  • Lana says:

    A friend once told me she wished they could get out of debt while charging her lunch!

  • Bethany says:

    I would love to homeschool my kids but am afraid I won’t ever get a chance to put “me” first. (I know this sounds selfish) Does homeschooling have to be M-f. 8-2? If I don’t always have access to a computer will this affect my teaching or curriculum?

    Also is there such a day as a “free day” or is this frowned upon?

    • Lana says:

      I think you would be surprised at how much time it would actually free up. Not having to do the car line or homework after school frees up a lot of time. I home schooled for 23 years and most days we were finished by lunchtime. We did start by 8 AM every morning but when school was done it was done and we did not have homework to get through in the evenings. I had quite a bit of me time actually and since I did not work outside of my home or have any other sort of job other than managing my home I was quite free to plan my days as I wanted. Also, many home school oriented activities like park days or sports activities allowed me time to see other moms while we were at those activities.

    • brittney says:

      We’re in our second year of homeschooling and its going great so far. We start at 8:45 each day, have a 30 minute break from 10:30-11:00, lunch and free time from 12:30 to 1:30 and have another 1-1.5 hours after lunch. We can almost always be done in 4-4.5 hours daily and then we do something fun and educational in the evening like baking, cooking or an educational game. We do school year round(summer days are not as long and involved to allow for outside play time) and in our state we are required to have 180 days of school. Last year we had over 200 but our year-round schedule allows us to vacation and take other days off whenever we want. Days that involve trips that are educational(and really you can make almost anything educational) can always count as a school time. I’ve found that with our schedule I get so much more done around the house than before we started this schedule.
      As far as not having computer access all the time, its not that important if you plan ahead. I’ve streamlined my school schedule this year and always like to have anything printed at least a few weeks ahead of time. If you planned things out ahead and knew when you would need the computer you can definitely go without especially with younger kids. Most of the stuff I do with my six year old is hands on. She doesn’t use the computer all that much. It might be harder with older kids though.

  • Meredith says:

    Looking forward to this series!

  • Debra G says:

    This is perfect timing for this. I’m really struggling with fitting all of our homeschooling in right now. I hyperventilate every time I think about it. I have to make a schedule, but the thought makes me anxious because I don’t know how to make it fit. I’ve been homeschooling all along, but I have a senior this year and there are things that NEED to get done. I also have a freshman and a 2nd grader. I often stress out this time of year.
    I also struggle with energy. Of course, the doctors always say I’m fine, but I’m limited as to what I can get done. Some days are awesome and I accomplish a whole lot, but those aren’t the majority.
    So I look forward to reading this series.

  • Linda says:

    Let me start off by saying I love your blog!! I have a 10 year old, an 8 year old and a 4 year old and we homeschool. After I do each subject with each child and make 3 meals a day and keep my house sort of clean, I may have some time left over but I have no energy left. Do you have any secrets up your sleeve? I have wanted to read at night but seriously I barely can keep my eyes open. How do you make yourself get out of bed so early when you are exhausted? I have had a lot of health problems from pushing myself too hard so I’m just not sure how you can do all this an still be healthy? I have tried some of your schedules..i.e….your house keeping schedule and I just can’t do it….what are you skipping that other people are wasting their time doing…there’s got to be something….

    • Susan says:

      Linda, I’m not Crystal (and my lifestyle is very different from yours and hers), but I wanted to respond anyway. I think you answered your own question when you mentioned having health problems as a result of pushing yourself too hard.

      I’m a single mother who works a full time outside-the-home job. What helps keep me energized is getting enough exercise, getting enough sleep, and taking enough breaks. For example, there are plenty of days that I have so much to do at work that I just plow through my lunch hour, but usually that results in me being completely exhausted by 4:00. If I take a break and actually leave my office for lunch, it helps both my physical and mental energy. As a result, I’m more productive all afternoon, and don’t arrive home completely worn out.

      I’d suggest scheduling breaks in your day instead of going from schooling your kids to cooking to cleaning all day long. Allow time in there to do something you enjoy, reading or whatnot, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m about to embark on a long seven month weight loss program that requires five workouts a week, dietitian, counseling, and doctor’s appointments as well as following a strict meal plan from week to week. It will take a lot of time, energy, and commitment on top of being a SAHM of two boys under two years old. I am wondering what time management ideas would work best to help my newly structured life go smoothly and still be enjoyable. For example, should I plan and set out outfits for the boys on a weekly basis?

  • Eva says:

    I would love more tips on getting things done with a fussy 6 week old. They change so fast and no one day is the same plus I have a very busy 3 year old and a 4 year old that is starting K on Tuesday. Some days it feels like all I have time for is making a quick easy supper.

  • Carla says:

    You seem to have a lot of friends and I am wondering how do you have time for them all? I hardly ever do anything with other people because “I don’t have time.” 🙂 I would love to hear your ideas, and those of others.

  • Katie says:

    Thank you so much for this series, Crystal! My questions are: 1) What do you do when you’re having trouble focusing and you have a long to do list? and 2) How do you get rid of procrastination once and for all?

  • Jessica Hanson says:

    I love this post! It was everything I needed read right now, can’t wait to hear more!

  • Christy says:

    I’d love to hear some tips on balancing young children and productivity. On the one hand one might say “I’ve made a choice to have kids, and they are very young (3yrs and 1yr) and needy now, so I cannot do many other things.” But on the other hand, I see other young Moms who can do things like run businesses and keep their houses clean so I think I must be missing something! You were there a few years ago, so maybe you have some good hindsight on this? I feel pulled to keep house, encourage friends, plan the perfect curriculum week (I am doing preschool with my son), make healthy food. I think those are all good priorities, but sometimes I get frustrated when none of it gets done due to missed naps and cranky toddlers.

  • Anna says:

    How do you approach time management when you are struggling with depression, exhaustion, and healh problems? I know it’s important to give myself space for rest and lower my expectations for myself, but there are still things to get done. How did you manage when you struggled with depression or have has health problems?

    • Catherine says:

      You’re not alone! I am facing the same issues. It’s so very hard. My perfectionism is lethal, I procrastinate so much, and then I feel like I can’t see the forest through the trees and I get paralyzed.

    • Lyn says:

      Hi, as someone who has had chronic illness, etc. for over 20 years I greatly understand. Unfortunately I became ill at a prime time in my life. Here are a few things that help me, but I do still struggle at times, internally and externally. I just do the best that I can.

      1. With chronic illness, each day has the unknown, so you can’t plan your day like those who are healthy can. Start the week out with a list, but don’t put too much on each day to do (maybe just a few goals/tasks) and you will feel more successful than if you plan too much. You will continually have to tweak your week/days, etc. Babysteps are key.

      2. Many times we are paralyzed by all the things that need to get done – it can be very overwhelming. Start out by spending 5-15 minutes on a task and you will be encouraged by the progress. Funny how when we see progress we are often motivated to keep working at something or to do more. Take breaks often. For every task I do or every other task I take a break. It takes a lot more time to get things done this way, but you are preventing yourself from quick burnout.

      3. I generally only have a certain amount of “good” energy hours, so figure out what is the case for yourself and work accordingly. Take naps when necessary and don’t feel guilty about it. It is what it is and we have to take care of ourselves as much as possible.

      4. There are many things I’ve not been able to do in my life and have had to put those things aside. Try not to compare yourself to others – it’s fruitless to do and will do nothing but compound the depression. What is important to you and your family may not be important to someone else. Take some time to think about your priorities and write them down so when you get sidetracked (and you will) or you get down (and you will) you can remind yourself what is important and what your focus really needs to be.

      5. Make time for yourself. Others have mentioned this and I agree that it is important, no matter what season or situation you are in life. We can make excuses of why we can’t do something for ourselves, but in the end I am the only one who can take care of me. No one can do that for us! A worn out woman (in any season of life) is not a healthy or happy woman. We have all been there, myself included.

      6. If you have help whether that be a husband or children that are old enough, do enlist them to do things as well. Everyone in the home is part of the home and it should be a group effort, not just “Mom” having to do everything. If you can get outside help, that is a great option, but not everyone can afford this.

      7. This can be the hard part, but don’t expect everyone to understand what you are going through. Only you know how you truly feel. I find that unless someone has chronic illness too, they really don’t fully understand. It is like anything else. We understand better when we have stood in the same shoes. Do things that lift your spirit, rely on God, spend time with loved ones who care for you. Lastly, take each day as it comes and make the best of the day you are in. Focus on the positive things in your life, because we all have them, no matter how small or how big. I hope this helps. God bless.

      • Anna says:

        Lyn, I know I am a little delayed in replying to your comment, but I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts. I have read them several times over this past week and am sure I will want to refer to them again In the future. I am dealing with a new chronic illness diagnosis, on top of ongoing depression for several years. Thank you for your honesty and kindness. It’s so helpful to hear suggestions from someone who understands 🙂

  • Catherine says:

    I am formerly a WOHM, but currently a SAHM with 3 kids in middle school. As someone above mentioned, I do have time, but as the months of unemployment go on, I feel like I’m spiraling into a hole of not being able to schedule/prioritize/make good use of my time. I, too, struggle with anxiety and depression, which makes the paralyzation and guilt almost unbearable at times. I have all kinds of printables, e-books, and books (starting with yours 🙂 ) to help me with time management, home organization, meal planning, etc, but I am so, SO STUCK. How do I get moving and STAY moving when I am so discouraged? Thank you, Crystal!!

    • Lyn says:

      Hi, I hope it is okay to share, but as someone who has chronic illness and struggles with depression and anxiety also, I find that when I start to get moving in any way, I feel a little better.

      Depression and anxiety are difficult enough to deal with but I think when we do nothing, it complicates that and makes us spiral a bit more. When we feel productive and are accomplishing things, we are more encouraged. I’m not sure why that is but maybe it has something to do with moving and endorphins perhaps?

      Start small perhaps and make a small list with a few tasks on it. Challenge yourself to get going today and to do those few things. I guarantee you will feel a little better because you started and also because you accomplished some things. It might even motivate to keep you going!

      I am presently working on my home as these last few months personally I have been going through a lot and things got out of hand. (Interesting how that goes hand in hand with depression. :)) I have felt more encouraged this week and a little more energized because I’m seeing small progress. It is going to take a long time, as it is just me and I don’t have help. But I am still hopeful.

      Hope this helps you in any small way…God bless! 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        Wow, thank you Lyn! What a wonderful list of supportive strategies. I think I’ll print this out and keep it nearby 🙂

        • Catherine says:

          Dear Lyn, I meant to post the above reply to your first post, but now that you’ve written more, I just wanted to thank you once again. Your wisdom and kindness are so appreciated. It’s been a rough month for me. Bless you!

  • Amber says:

    What I am wondering is how to balance time management between my schedule (1st shift) and my soon to be husband schedule (3rd shift) schedule. I work Sat-Wed either from 5 am to 1:30 pm or 12:00 pm to 8:30 pm and he works Sun-Fri from 11 pm to 7 am. I’m trying to find a balance between personal time together and apart as well as time to maintain and upkeep the house, the chores and the budget.

  • Quinn says:

    I like a routine, but sometimes I just want to throw the routine out the window!! It makes me a human doer instead of a human being. I want to be a human being. I want to be present in what I am doing and not focusing on getting it down and moving onto thr next “task” especially with mydaughter. I want to be more present with her. What encouragement do you have on being a human being?

  • Cas says:

    I just need the motivation to get everything done in my 3 free hours of the day. We leave for work at 6:30 and get home at 6:30pm. After feeding and putting the baby to bed all I want to do is relax with my husband for the hour and a half before bed. It’s way too easy for me to just write everything off as not having enough time.

  • Kelly says:

    I love the the thought of we choose and can say no. Saying no has been my biggest problem in the past but I have learned I HAVE to! However…now the problem is my dad is in poor health and almost everyday something is needed by him and I have to go tend to him, or go to the store for him etc. He can drive but has bad days and it’s hard to tell of he just doesn’t feel like doing it himself or he honestly can’t. So now me and my wonderful fiance run around like crazy people trying to accomplish everything. We don’t have the funds to hire someone. Now things are out of control and there isn’t enough time in the day to run a householday with 3 children, work, take care of dad etc. Managing time feels nonexistent, I just go go go and at the end of the day feel like I have nothing accomplished for myself. I have lost who I am in all this and just do what is asked of me. With a sick parent it’s very hard like I said to know when he TRUELY NEEDStewart me or uses me because it’s convenient for him. It’s hard to explain…but something has to give. I have bad anxiety as it is and it’s getting worse. A panic attack a week is a givenew these days!

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