I need to take a Time Management Course

How to manage your time effectively

Dear Working Moms: I don’t know how you do it! I am a stay at home mom and I have 1 kid and I have trouble managing my time effectively. Like for the past hour, I’ve been reading blog posts on WordPress and getting distracted by Instagram every 10-minutes when I have a lot of housework to do. My son (at 11am this morning) , on the contrary to his normal clinginess, has been playing independently for the past hour. So i had a chance to get housework done but I was like “this is my only chance to read, he doesn’t have school today so I need to read. Also, I have lots of videos on YouTube that I didn’t watch yet (motivational self improvement stuff) but I have housework to do and some writing work…”

A little glimpse inside my head at 11:30am this morning: “So many things to do and I have the time, it’s just I have trouble prioritising what I need most importantly to be done. I got so much reading to catch up on and there are so many blog posts that I have kept on saved because I haven’t had the time to read them. I know what I’m doing is wrong and I know that I’ve been reading for a while. I need to stop now and do something else. I need to do some housework because housework is my priority right now because when I was sick I was unable to do housework and when I got better I did some of the housework but I still haven’t done the bathrooms in more than 2 weeks so this is what I’m going to do. I feel like I really need to write a blog post right now but I’m going to stop and I will edit the blog post later ok but I know it’s about time management and I will take my socks off even though it’s cold and I’m going to clean the bathrooms. I know it’s the right thing to do. I did not make a to-do list today and this is what happens when I don’t make a to-do list. I feel very unorganised and I don’t know how to prioritise my time because I didn’t write a to-do list. So to-do list or not I’m going right now to post this blog so I could encourage myself to go and clean the bathrooms. I just have this fear that the moment I start cleaning the bathroom, my son’s going to stop playing independently and I’m not going to be able to do it so I’m going to do it right now.”

Fast forward to 2pm, let’s see what happened. I ended up cleaning 2 bathrooms out of 3 (i actually have 4 bathrooms but the 4th is a maid’s bathroom but i don’t have a maid so i clean the bathrooms we use) but the moment i started cleaning the 1st bathroom, my son’s spidey senses detected my movements and stopped playing and just sat in front of the bathroom asking occasionally if he can help with something. While i was cleaning the 2nd bathroom, my son started asking a million questions about my cleaning technique like “why are you using 2 different sponges?” and “why aren’t you cleaning the walls?” and then he started touching everything and i started yelling and then i’d hug him and apologize for yelling and at the end i decided it would be best if i cleaned the 3rd bathroom tomorrow while he is at school because at night i’d be too exhausted to do any housework.

Right now my son is wreaking havoc in the house while i write this, so i have got to go. I tried to give him as much attention as possible, as these past 2 hours were full of tantrums and crying. I don’t know if he is tired or sick or just trying to get my attention but i could really use some time management tips because i got none. I have made so many cleaning schedules but i can’t seem to follow them.

I made a to do list at 12pm and felt better immediately.

Here are some tips on time management that i found on pinterest. I hope it motives you and I to manage our time more effectively. Whether you are struggling with housework, exercising, spending more time with your kids, or all of the above (as in my case) i hope you find this blog post beneficial.

Thank you for reading.

Aim for progress not perfection

I know this doesn’t register much for a lot of people, but in those rare moments when i feel proud of myself, i like to share.

This is the summary of my daily steps (excluding housework and workouts which i haven’t been doing much of anyway, except for today) during the month of November (last month) and comparison to the previous months.

I excercised for 20 minutes today as opposed to 5 minutes yesterday.

I need feedback to feel encouraged. It’s really hard for me to motivate myself (I’m trying. I even read a book called 100 ways to motivate yourself), and so when I do manage to do a small success, I like to put it out there, so I am further motivated to take bigger steps.

This summer, in August, I went to Turkey. While I was there, I was very physically active. This declined as I slipped back into depression (the depression that began in July) but thankfully, I am inching my way out of this depression bit by bit but I’m not completely out of it.

I found the source of my depression to be mainly sensitivity to criticism. Deep down, I don’t feel worthy unless the people around me tell me so. And in society, where everyone is so ready to point out your mistakes and give unsolicited advice, acting as if successes and wins and productivity are all NORMAL and not worthy of praise, it’s hard.

I wish I wasn’t so sensitive. I wish I wasn’t so demanding of TLC (tenderness, love, and care) and I wish I gave myself the encouragement and motivation I instinctively give my family and friends (or do I?). I’m insecure about all my relationships and it shows. I think it makes others uncomfortable. It also makes me seem desperate for attention.

So there it is. My progress. I’m proud of myself. During the day, I tend to sulk in self-loathing several times. I recall an event that happened a week ago or a month ago, in which I was socially awkward, and I beat myself up over it. Or when I yell at my son, I torment myself feeling like the worst mom ever because I can’t keep my temper under control.

Lately, what I’ve been hating myself for the most, among other things, is overeating. I’m not even sure if it is due to stress, depression, boredom, or what?! I just know that when there is food, I see it, I want it. And when there isn’t, I’m thinking about it.
So instead of self-loathing right now, I will pat myself on the back for walking more than last month and go from there. Maybe once I get moving more, I’ll automatically think of eating less. I hope so…

Do you walk/exercise daily?
Are you an emotional/bored eater? Please share how you motivate yourself to exercise and eat healthily. If you’re struggling like I am, know that you are not alone and we can do this!

What to do when you’re in a funk

So i haven’t been writing about mental health issues because, honestly, i have been a bit in the negative spectrum lately. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m not sure if i was feeling depressed, sad, in a funk (too much routine and need spontaneity), angry, moody, irritable, stressed or all of the above. I call it mixed feelings when i can’t pinpoint what i feel or why.

And the result is that:

1. I take everything as a personal attack against me.

2. I react to everything and everyone emotionally.

3. I withdraw from people because i don’t want to lash out on them or burden them with my trivial problems.

If you’ve been there, then you know what i mean. So what is the solution? Well, i’m still struggling but i will walk you through my process of recovery:

1. Talk to someone. It could be a close friend, a family member, a therapist, or a self help app. There is this application called wysa that i totally recommend. It helps you deal with depression and anxiety when you need someone to talk to or to help you navigate your big emotions. They give you coping tools but you must check in with the application regularly to record your progress.

2. Do something you love. I’m always feeling guilty for not getting all my housework done or not spending enough one on one time with my son, and although those things are important and crucial, sometimes you feel like you just can’t. If you feel like withdrawing, instead of sleeping for 12 hours or listening to sad songs on repeat, read a good book or watch something funny. A good romantic comedy goes a long way. You could also draw or write or whatever would put you in a good mood.

3. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are not perfect. You made a mistake or maybe 100? It’s ok. Try to fix whatever you can, and what you can’t just let it go. Vow to do better in the future.

4. Set goals for yourself. Write them down. Hang it on the fridge or on your desk, where you can see it. Even if it’s just 1 goal, it has to be specific though. Don’t write “i want to be rich” or “i want a perfect body”. You could write “i want to make 100$ in a month” or “i want to lose 5 pounds in a month” and then write the steps you need to take daily to make it happen. Having something to look forward to helps.

5. Try to smile. I know that when you are feeling down and hopeless, it’s hard to even fake a smile. Believe me, i AM there right now. Stand in front of the mirror and practice smiling while reminding yourself of your blessings. I’m going to do it too. Day in and day out, soon you will find yourself smiling without effort and it will improve your mood as well.

6. Try something different. Do something you normally don’t do, to get out of your routine and also to help your brain neuroplasticity. New experiences enhance the brain and therefore improve your mood.

These are the things that work for me when i’m in a funk. What do you do when you’re having “mixed feelings”?

Please share in the comments section.

Mornings are for productivity

Do you have a morning routine? It is one of my goals to have one. Unfortunately, being consistent is not my strong suit, but i’m working on it.
Here is a list of morning routines that ensure productivity. There are things on this list i always do, things i sometimes do, and things i aim to do. Without further due, here you go:

Top 7 ways to get more productive and less stressed in the morning:

1. Wake up early:

When my son has school, i usually wake up at dawn and stay up. In the rare occasions when i go back to sleep, i’m usually so tired i snooze my alarms or remove them without realizing. Next thing i know, i slept in and i have to hurry to get my sons lunch box ready and to get myself and my son dressed, which creates a lot of fuss and tantrums from the both of us. Meanwhile, when i stay up after dawn, i can get everything ready calmly and wake up my son early enough to arrive at his school early, and usually with little to no tantrums.

2. Coffee:

Usually, the 1st thing i do when i wake up is make coffee ☕ It wakes me up and it is the routine of making the coffee that gets my mind rolling as it realizes i’m up and i need to move faster than a snail. On those rare occassions where i don’t get my coffee in, i’m usually grumpy and slow. You can even see it in my face when i haven’t had my caffeine. I know not everyone is a coffee person, so drink whatever works for you. It could be tea 🍵 or milk 🥛 or water 💦 or orange juice 🥤 but there’ s something about getting liquids into your body as soon as you wake up that gets your gears moving.

3. Make a to do list:

Ok so i know this may not be for everyone, but for me, the days i make a to do list are usually more productive and fulfilling. Planning your day ahead helps you to know what to expect and how to better manage your time. After i drop my son off to school, i know i have 6 hours to get everything on my list done. I leave my afternoons and weekends list-free because they are usually as spontaneous as my son is. You don’t have to write a detailed list of what you’re going to do. You can choose 3 things that you need to accomplish and prioritize your time accordingly.

4. Read:

I’m guilty of sitting on my phone from the moment i wake up. The time i spend on my phone is something i’m trying to cut back on. Some days i spend 2 hours on my phone and other days, like yesterday, i spend 7 hours! It’s usually the days that i’m occupied with a book that i cut down on phone usage. I do read a lot on my phone, but then youtube, instagram and whatsapp distract me.

5. Exercise:

My goal for the past almost 4 years has been to exercise daily. The longest i’ve gone was a 1 month streak and the moment i announced my victory i fell into a setback. Currently, i’m 56% to my goal, meaning on average, i exercise every other day.

6. Podcasts:

This really helps when i’m feeling demotivated and i need to do something physical like exercise or housework. I listen to podcasts about productivity from Pick the brain podcast, and parenting podcasts and others.

7. Breakfast:

A healthy breakfast is very much recommended and something i sometimes do. When i do, though, i either eat eggs 🥚 or oatmeal 🥣 or peanut butter and honey 🍯 but i don’t do so until i’m done with exercise and/or housework.

These are the top tips i have for creating a productive morning routine. I hope they help. What are some things you do to have a productive morning?

Morning Motivation: Clean house, clear mind

I woke up early today.
I cleaned my entire house. I’m talking bathrooms, floors, and balconies. To some that may sound like a simple job, but I usually segment these chores into 3 because I get tired easily. My knees hurt because by noon I lose all my energy reserves,…etc.

I had been telling myself lately that it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t keeping up with my cleaning schedule because my son isn’t going to school.
I had been telling myself that it wasn’t my fault that my son was waking me up at 8:30 am and I was waking up tired and struggling to get some me-time. As a result, I would sit on my phone at every chance I got, to read or watch youtube videos or scroll on Instagram, or save pictures on Pinterest, just because I was rebelling against the unfair prospect that it wasn’t my fault my son couldn’t go to school.

I have been depressed for a week. The protests have been going on for 10 days in Lebanon. I was going along my day like a falcon with a broken wing. I can’t fly. All I feel is pain.

Then yesterday, the realization hit me. As I looked around at the mess that was contributing to my sadness (look it up: a clean home is a happy home) I realized that I had 2 opportunities to clean my house. Twice my husband took my son to my in-laws for hours and both times I spent my time watching Pretty Little Liars because of “self-care”. I forgot that cleaning my house is also self-care, it just requires a little more effort.

Don’t misunderstand me here; I’m always on schedule with dishes, laundry, and tidying up. I even mopped my house 3 times during these 10 days (not counting today because today is day 11).
But every time I would think of cleaning the bathrooms, I would tell myself:

  • Let me wait until my son gets back to school. It could be any day now.
  • I’m too tired.
  • My muscles ache.
  • My knees hurt.
  • I can’t wake up earlier than my son. I would be exhausted by noon.

But these, this morning I realized, were just excuses. When I got to the point where I realized that:

  • My son may not go back to school soon.
  • I will always have aches and pains.
  • If I want to clean, I will need to wake up before my son does.

When I went to bed, at midnight because that is almost when my son finally went to sleep (I heard a podcast on bedtime struggles this morning and I realized I have been doing everything wrong), I slept with the thought in mind that if I wanted a clean house, I would have to get up and clean it.

Not wait for my son to go back to school.

Not wait till it’s convenient for me.

Not wait till I feel like it, because just like exercising, I’m never going to “feel like it”, but I will feel much better after I get it done.

So here I am, with a clean house at 8 am, feeling like a champion.
I’m going to make coffee now, watch Pretty Little Liars before my son wakes up (my reward), and have something to eat because coffee is not healthy on an empty stomach.

Just a tip for doing something when you don’t feel like doing it, whether it is exercising or housework, listen to something while you do it. I listen to podcasts while I do housework, but it could also be music or audiobooks or Quran (not while cleaning the bathrooms though).

Another tip to keep up to date with cleaning is to have a weekly cleaning schedule. I have one of those but I find I’m only able to apply it when my son is going to school (not under the current circumstances) so I marked my calendar and wrote what I cleaned on this date so that I can know when cleaned what.

Best of luck, and may you have a clean and happy home!

P. S. My little munchkin just woke up at 8:30 am as I just finished editing this blog. I had my pancakes, sipped a little bit of my coffee, but I haven’t watched any Pretty little liars yet. Oh well…