Tired of trying to fit your running plans into whatever slivers of free time you can find each week? The demands of motherhood are challenging enough, in and of themselves, to juggle. Add a running schedule into the mix and things can quickly feel unmanageable.
If you’re always spinning in circles trying to keep up with life, with little or no time left for your running goals, this article is for you. We’ve outlined several strategies that can help you streamline your household’s schedule and minimize the demands on your time.
Of course, the following tips and tricks for designing your days must be prefaced by the understanding that motherhood is highly unpredictable. The most beautiful weekly household schedule can be blown to pieces with a sick kid or any number of other unforeseen disruptions. The idea behind this article’s advice is to help you organize and streamline each week’s schedule as much as you can to give yourself some breathing (and running) room. By taking these steps to design your days, you’ll free up more time to make drastic strides on your running plans versus always trying to fit running into the gaps of life.
Make a Schedule
If you don’t yet have one, create a weekly household schedule. Many moms are experts at keeping mental notes of their family’s weekly obligations. Unfortunately, keeping the household schedule in your brain means that no one else in the family can see it. It’s also consuming a major chunk of your mental energy that could be redirected toward other things, like your running plans and spending more quality time with your kiddos.
Weekly schedules needn’t be fancy. If hanging a visible schedule in your house would work best for your family, use a dry erase calendar board or traditional calendar. If a digital schedule is more your thing, find a family calendar app that can be synced between all family members who will need to see it. The free Cozi Family Organizer is a top-rated app that includes a shared calendar feature and much more.
At the start of each week or month, add all known obligations to the family calendar. If relevant, note whether you or your partner is in charge of each obligation and talk through the calendar as a family. Although it will take a bit of time for the family to get into the habit of referencing and relying on the calendar, it will soon become a valuable tool for keeping everyone’s schedules on track. If they’re old enough, your kids can also start using it to take more responsibility for their obligations rather than waiting for you to tell them when and where things are happening.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
If you haven’t yet automated everything possible in your life—from paying bills to vacuuming and beyond—do it. Now! Small daily, weekly and monthly tasks may not take much time individually but, when combined, they consume way more of your energy than they should.
Set all of your bills to autopay and also make other aspects of your financial life, such as transferring money to savings and investment accounts, automatic. Learn more about household tasks that can be automated, such as vacuuming, and insert automation where it makes sense. For the chores that can’t be automated, ensure that the responsibility of completing them is evenly spread through the family rather than placed solely on your shoulders.
After automating repetitive tasks, you’ll likely be amazed at how much more physical and mental energy you have each week to focus on your running goals and other priorities.
Batch Prep Meals
If you prepare the household’s meals, do you regularly find yourself wondering what to make just a few hours before dinnertime? Or maybe you always seem to be out of a key recipe ingredient when it’s needed. Avoid these headaches and simplify your days by batch preparing the family’s meals.
There are a lot of effective ways to batch prep meals, but the basics include planning out a few weeks’ worth of meals, stocking up on the ingredients for those meals, and picking a day each week to prep as many meals for the coming week as you can. Freezer meals are great options to include in your prep plans, as are breakfasts and snacks that freeze well. Get more out of each meal by choosing recipes that are large enough to provide leftovers for a few days.
By batch prepping the family’s meals, you’ll save time each week and will also save money by grocery shopping less often. Even better, planning your meals in advance can help your family make healthier food choices and can help you use food as fuel for your running plans rather than turning to convenience foods.
Most major stores—and even smaller local stores—now offer online shopping options. Rather than spending multiple hours each week trudging through stores searching for what you need, order items online in advance. Opt for delivery when possible and use curbside pick-up for everything else. When online ordering isn’t an option, always shop with a list to avoid wandering aimlessly through store aisles or, worse yet, forgetting what you need.
If your grocery store offers an online ordering system that you haven’t yet used, now is the time to check it out. Most grocers now offer delivery (if you live within a specific radius) and curbside pick-up options. Ordering your groceries online is also a great pairing with meal planning that will save you a ton of time and money.
Track Your Time
Often, objectively assessing how you use your time each day is the best way to make more space for running plans. It can also be the most difficult step to take because it requires you to get really honest with yourself.
If you truly want to optimize your days and make more space to achieve your life goals, begin tracking how you spend your time. For two weeks, from the moment you wake to the time you crawl back into bed, note how much time you spend on various tasks and habits. A two-week span gives enough insight into your daily patterns and offers insight into opportunities for change. Maybe you’ll discover that you spend way more time browsing social media than you realized. Or maybe that Netflix habit is stealing multiple hours from each evening. We all have time-wasting habits that, when brought to light, make us cringe. Only by shining the spotlight on them, though, will you have the realistic view needed to make beneficial changes.
Stop trying to fit your running plans into whatever slivers of free time you can find each week. Instead, use the strategies outlined in this article—such as batch prepping meals and automating repetitive tasks—to streamline your household’s schedule and minimize the demands on your time. By taking these steps to design your days, you’ll free up more time to make drastic strides on your running plans versus always trying to fit running into the gaps of life.
Happy running and happy momming!
Have you found other effective ways to make more room for your running plans? Share them in the comments below! And, if you haven’t yet, connect with us on Instagram: @Runner.Moms
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