3 Time Management Tips from a New Mom

I had my first baby recently, and let me tell you, I am completely in love. He is absolutely perfect and I couldn’t be happier.

But oh, wow does he demand a LOT of time. Scratch that. Nearly ALL of my time! That’s the one thing I did NOT anticipate while I prepared for his arrival. I mean I’ve been around babies before, so I thought had a pretty good idea what to expect.

The thing is, when it’s someone else’s baby, eventually you give them back! When you have things you need to do, you hand them back to their parent and get along your way.

Except now I am the parent. It’s me. I’m the one that gets handed the baby back.

And the fact that I have things to do? (And believe me, I have a LOT to do!) No matter. Baby don’t care! It’s up to me to figure out how to juggle the mommy thing AND all the other hats I was wearing before (because I still have all the other commitments in my life). Welcome to new-momma bootcamp!

Time Doesn’t Stop!

Honestly, I AM figuring it out. Slowly, but surely. It hasn’t been easy, but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything in the world. But even though I’ve been given this new-baby bliss, reality is still a thing. Life continues to move forward, and time hasn’t stopped just because he’s arrived. I’ve had to learn to manage him AND my household. Find balance between his needs and everything else around me. And I’ll tell you, it hasn’t been easy. But it’s been (almost) 7 weeks and my baby is growing and my house is still standing. We’re making it.

How though?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my time lately. How precious it is. How quickly it seems to be going by. And as the minutes tick away as I watch my precious little one sleep, I consider how I’ve been spending it. And not just now, but for my whole life. How I’ve treated this precious gift of time. And I realize, I’ve learned some things. I’ve had some fresh inspiration related to this new phase I’m in.

Time is precious.

When we have a lot of something, we tend to squander it. We get a chunk of money and suddenly think we’re rich, and blow it all in a few days. Ever hear stories of lottery winners going broke shortly after picking up their winnings? It happens.

I think it’s the same with time. We look at the day ahead and think: “Hey! I’ve got lots of time! I’m ok to ___ (insert whatever time-waster you’re prone to here). A few minutes will be just fine!” And then all of sudden you’re making dinner and realize the day’s almost shot and you’ve not even started that project you had “all day” to do. Sound familiar? Yup. I’ve been there.

But having baby suck away almost every minute of my day (I love him, I promise!) I constantly have to think: “I’m only going to have about 20 minutes before the baby wakes up and will need to eat (and I’ll be tied down for the next 40 to feed him.) What can I do in 20 minutes?”

I no longer have those long stretches of time like I used to. I can’t waste my time away knowing I have an almost unlimited supply of it.

My time is no longer completely my own.

My little one depends on me to be his everything right now. My time is his. Which makes it insanely precious to me right now.

And if I find myself wasting those precious minutes, I ask myself “Is this really how I want to spend these few baby-free minutes I have?” (And sometimes, the answer is Yes!! It’s ok to take some personal time sometimes too!) If it’s not, it helps drive my motivation to switch gears to something that’s a better choice for that moment.

How can I save some time here?

I’ve always thought of myself as the efficiency queen. I HATE waste. It’s my thing. I hate wasting time, wasting resources, wasting energy. I’m constantly trying to find ways to do things faster, smarter, easier. So knowing that my time is so precious, having this baby in my arms for 18+ hours a day (or so it seems) has helped me think of ways to be more efficient with this time. (Because remember, it’s so incredibly precious.)

Often the answer is multi-tasking. Doing multiple things at once. Now I’m not talking about task-switching (continually going from one project to another over and over), because that actually wastes more time than it saves (and I don’t recommend it). No, I’m talking about doing one task at the same time as another task.

Take today for instance. Baby would not let me put him down. Every single time he fell asleep, if I put him down he’d wake 5 minutes later and cry. He sleeps on my chest fine, but on his own? Yeah, he’s not having it. Which is great- I love baby cuddles. Except… I can’t do a whole lot when I’m holding him all day.

Solution? I’m typing this right now while holding him in his front-pack. And you guessed it- he’s sleeping great. Baby-wearing FTW!

What things can you group together to multi-task or save time? Read a book in the restroom? Answer emails while nursing? Listen to a podcast while cooking dinner?

Yep- I’ve done every one of these. What things can you try?

What is most important?

Here’s the thing: I DO want to hold baby all.the.time. Cuddling him makes me SO happy. I’ve waited for him to arrive for a lot of years. So I have to force myself to do other things sometimes. Like wash the dishes and fold the laundry. I can’t actually hold him all day like I want to. It makes me think twice about the “things” I’ve put on my to-do list. Is this thing I’m doing (or supposed to be doing) really more important than holding my baby right now? (Most things aren’t!) Though yes, the dishes DO need to be washed and the laundry DOES need to be put away, I definitely stop to remind myself that every minute I spend away from him is a minute I’ll never get back. A minute he’s robbed of mommy-time.

Now I know that putting a sleeping baby down when I need to isn’t going to hurt him, and that I don’t need to hold him every minute of the day to love him, but I still think it’s important to remember that these minutes I used to spend away so frivolously doing things that will never matter long term, these minutes of mine are precious. Every one of them.

And some things are just not as important as others. So really, what is the most important thing in this moment? Is this really how I want to spend this minute?

I hope this gave you some perspective on your time, and that even if you’re not a Mom you can see how asking yourself these same questions can help you evaluate how you want to spend it.

Need a reminder to ask yourself these questions? Grab the free printable Mantra cards below. Print them out and post them on your mirror, or use them as a phone backdrop. Use them to start a habit of reflection, and allow yourself to make changes along the way.

10 Fabulous Planning Supplies for Under $10

On the hunt for some great accessories and products to use with your planner, but frustrated because everything seems so expensive? Here are some of my favorite planning supplies under $10 for when you’re on a budget:

On the hunt for some great accessories and products to use with your planner, but frustrated because everything seems so expensive? Here are some of my favorite planning supplies under $10 for when you’re on a budget:

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I get a small compensation at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Vibrance & Bliss.

Washi Tape

Washi is great for quickly dressing up a plain page with color and personality. It’s really taken off in the past year, and you can find this stuff literally everywhere. I’ve found some great rolls at the Dollar Tree, Target $1 Spot and Michaels especially, but if you keep your eyes peeled I bet you’d find some in other places as well. The beauty is that it comes in all different colors and patterns so you’re bound to find something you love!

I also love this set of skinny washi that can fit almost anywhere on a page. It’s a great way to add a splash of color to a page that doesn’t have a lot of whitespace built-in.

Papermate Inkjoy Gel Pens 0.7

These are by far my favorite pen. I hardly write with anything else anymore! They come in bright, beautiful, vibrant colors, write super smoothly, come in medium or fine point, last a long time (I’ve been using the same set almost every day for several months and they are still going strong!), dry fast, are comfortable to hold, and have a clicker (no caps to lose!)

They also come in sets of basic colors like blue or black if you’re looking for something simpler or more professional.

At under $10 for the set, you have to give these a try!

Frixion Erasable Pens

These pens are amazing. They write smooth and clear, they don’t bleed through paper, they come in gorgeous colors, they’re refillable, and best of all, they’re ERASABLE!! You got that right. And these aren’t those cheap pens you kept throwing away back in the ‘90s. I’ve got a couple of these Frixion pens in every room in my house. Erasable colored gel pens? Yes, please! I really couldn’t sing their praises high enough.

This is the basic set at less than $6 if you want to try them out, but they also come in many other colors & sets, like this one. Though just a tad over $10, it’s my favorite set. You get more pens, more colors (including pink, purple, turquoise & green), and I personally like the clickers better than the standard.

Frixion has also come out with erasable markers, and highlighters, as well as larger erasers.

Paperclip Bookmarks

I use these all the time to keep my “daily” page in my planner. You can find these everywhere, but my favorite places are on Etsy for just a couple dollars each. I also love these MAMBI ones in black & gold. There’s a ton of DIY tutorials online if you’re interested in making your own! I haven’t gone that route myself because I’ve got a collection I just love, but if you ever lose your place in your planner, these are great for sticking up at the top and keeping you on track! (Just make sure the ones you pick out leave enough of the clip exposed so it sticks into the page.)

There are a ton of different styles you can pick from. Here are some of my favorites:

(There are many different designs you could find for all of these- I’ve just linked an example of each to demonstrate.)

Designed or Patterned File Folders

I love finding cute file folders at Dollar Tree or Target Dollar Spot. They can be used for many things in your planner, but my favorite thing to do is to cut them up and use washi tape to make pocket folders! The whole project takes less than fifteen minutes. I’d definitely skip the plan manilla folders though- there’s so many out there in different designs and patterns- this is a great way to add some color into your planner!

Post-it Tabs

I love these because they’re so versatile! You can practically make any page or dashboard a divider! These also work great if you’ve used file folders as pockets (see above). There are many different kinds here, but these are my favorites. They’re sturdy, you can write (and re-write) on them, cute colors and removable!


What is life without post-its? Ok maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but my entire family knows my addiction to post-its. I use them everywhere, and for everything. If you haven’t been using post-its in your planner, you’re missing out.

Don’t forget to check them out in different sizes and/or shapes!

Filler Paper

Now this one will depend completely on the size planner you have, but I find that having extra paper in my planner allows me to make lists and notes as I need. If you have a punch for your planner you can always print your own pages, but if you’re on a budget and can’t afford a punch, getting some pre-punched filler paper might be your best option to start out with.

Here’s some that fit the following planner systems:

Quote Cards

Though maybe not completely functional, I love adding a few of these cards into my planner in places I find myself looking a lot. I love the daily inspiration they can bring, as well as how colorful and adorable they look in my planner. These ones here actually have some space on the back to write down a memory or a thought.

You can also use Project Life cards if you have them available. Or these which come pre-punched for the Happy Planner.

Planner Stickers!!

Next to Washi, this is the second biggest planner craze right now. It seems like everyone wants to put stickers in their planner. I prefer to stick to functional planning, but I do love adding color and my own personal style to my pages when I can. Stickers is a great way to do this. You can find stickers all over the place: at the Dollar Tree, Target $1 Spot, Etsy, and Craft stores like Michaels & Hobby Lobby. You can also find a slew of free planner sticker printables online and print them at home using sticker paper (this particular item is just a tad over $10, but is a way better deal in terms of value than the alternatives!).

Honorable Mention:

Planner Discs

Though they’re absolutely essential to my personal planning system, I included them in “honorable mention” for two reasons: 1) If you don’t already have a planner punch, buying just the rings won’t do you any good. 2) I definitely prefer the metallic metal rings to the normal plastic ones, and they run a few dollars over the $10 promised in this post. I have much more to say about planner rings & the disc-bound system, but it’s something that has really transformed my life.

Want to learn more about planners & planning? Sign up for my upcoming DIY Planner course where I’ll help you set up the perfect planning system for you!

Hopefully, this helped you find a couple new additions for your planner to make it both a functional place to track your goals a plan your time, as well as an uplifting & inspirational record of your life. All these things also make great gifts for your planning/stationary-loving friends!

Your favorite planner inexpensive supply not listed? Tell me below in the comments!

Why We Procrastinate?

We procrastinate for different reasons. Discover why you may be putting things off and recognize when you’re procrastinating, and why. This is the first step to fixing the behaviors and making the best use of your time so that you can accomplish all the things you desire.


Everyone does it, including you. Some do it more than others, but if you try to say that you’ve never procrastinated, chances are you’re lying to yourself.

What is Procrastination?

Procrastination is putting off until tomorrow the things you just as easily could finish today.  It’s postponing or needlessly delaying accomplishing something because you don’t have the desire or motivation to complete it.

Let’s be clear though- procrastination is not prioritizing more important tasks or choosing the “best” activity each day. If something is honestly more important in a moment, it’s probably the best choice.

Procrastination is putting off the things you need to finish because you don’t want to do them, or you feel unfocused or unmotivated. It’s giving into distraction and pleasure as a way to distance yourself from the unpleasant task, even for a short time.

Are You a Procrastinator?

I know I am. I make a lot of excuses for it- that I work best under pressure, or that I’m “too busy” with other things, but the truth is- typically a task probably won’t get done until about the time it’s due.

I’m trying to do better though. Through the years I’ve picked up a few tricks to help me get ahead of my list so I can be more in control of my schedule, rather than letting it control me.

One thing that helps me minimize procrastination is to recognize when it’s happening, as well as why. Instead of just jumping right into trying to “fix” the problem, this allows me to look at the situation more objectively, so I can repair the cause, rather than just the result. Removing procrastination is more than just “getting down to business.” It’s the symptom of something else. I have to discover the illness first- the reasons my brain doesn’t want to complete the task. This way, the repair is healthier, longer-lasting, and more effective.

Understanding the Consequences

I’m sure you recognize the concept of consequences. The fact that once an action is taken, something else will occur as a result.

Consequences aren’t something we can control. They just happen. Sometimes they’re imposed by the people around us, sometimes they’re just the natural effect of a choice we’ve made. Either way, once we make a decision and act on it, we enact a tier of consequences as a result of that choice.

As a teacher, I’d often share the following Stephen Covey quote with my students: “We are free to choose our actions, . . . but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions.”

There are many types of consequences. There extrinsic (or external – outside yourself) and intrinsic (or internal – in your mind/body) consequences. Natural (unstoppable consequences that “just happen” within the natural world) and Logical (imposed by others).

Think, for a second, about a student who puts off studying for an exam or writing a paper. The deadline will still come, and they’ll often “pull an all-nighter” or miss out on social activities to get it done. These first consequences are unavoidable and cannot be influenced. But the chain doesn’t stop there – there are other, linked, consequences that follow: missed relationships, lower grade, stress and panic, & harm to health from lack of sleep.

How many times have you been late to an appointment or event because you procrastinated getting ready to leave? Has this hurt a friendship or caused you embarrassment?

Consequences may not be the same for every person, and they may even look different to yourself from one occasion to the next, but there’s no denying the fact that there’s always a consequence to procrastination. Sometimes it manifests itself immediately, sometimes not for awhile, but it always comes. Unnecessary stress, missed deadlines, forgetting commitments, or hurt relationships are just a handful of the possible things that could go wrong with procrastinating.

Why Do We Procrastinate?

So we know that there will be consequences of putting things off, but most of us still do it. And probably far more often than we’d like.

Why? Why do we put off the things that we could technically do today? Why do we ignore the consequences when they’re staring us right in the face?

Even if you’re not a chronic procrastinator (like I am – I admit it!), nearly everyone does it at some point. And there are many possible reasons for it:

  • Fear: Fear is a paralyzing emotion.  It has the power to stop us from taking action. Maybe you fear failure, or that success would be limited and unrepeatable. Perhaps you fear what people will think, or going outside your comfort zone. Or it could be that you’re afraid of being vulnerable or breaking people’s perceived notion of who you are. Whatever it is, if fear is causing you to backtrack and forget the things you dream of doing, work to fix the problem head-on. It’s only holding you back from your amazing potential.
  • Importance: When we procrastinate, it’s very often because we don’t place enough psychological value on the importance of the task, project, or goal. Sure on the surface we may tout its importance, but deep down, we’re putting higher value on other things. My mom used to tell me when I’d forget about things like birthdays or events that “if it was important enough to remember, I would.” As a kid I rejected the possibility of this being true, but I’ve since learned the wisdom in this statement, and I think it works here too. If the task was important enough to you, you’d push yourself to completing it. Even unintentionally, everytime you turn on the TV when there are still items on your MIT list, you’re telling yourself that your “entertainment” is more important than your progression.
  • Need More Information:  Starting a new project or goal often requires additional knowledge or research. Maybe you want to repair the dryer yourself instead of calling it in, or perhaps you’d like to “someday” publish a book you’ve written. You probably can’t just “dive into” these things- you’ll have to gather some information beforehand. So schedule some time to collect the information you need and get started!
  • Higher Priorities: Life is busy.  We have jobs and commitments and activities and tasks and about a hundred things to get to everyday. Commonly we put off things that don’t need to get done today, in favor of other, more important or urgent tasks. This is ok- life is about establishing priorities and making choices. Just be sure that the things you’re doing each day are the most important use of your time.
  • Uncommitted to Task: Maybe you think it’s unfair that the task is assigned to you, or that someone else should be responsible for it. Perhaps you see it as a waste of time and that you’ve got “more important” things to worry about. These are signs of not being fully committed to the task. Truth is, it still needs it get done, and if you can’t delegate it, and you’re still responsible for the outcome, you’ll need to come up with a plan. Remember when you were in school and you were assigned a “partner” activity? Yeah, I hated those too. More times than not, I’d end up carrying more than my fair share of the weight because the consequences for an incomplete assignment were important for me to avoid. So weigh it out for yourself – what happens if you keep pushing it off? Is that worth ensuring that things are “fair?” Sometimes the answer is yes, but only you can make that decision.
  • Laziness: Everyone is faced with jobs in life that they simply just don’t want to do.  They’re either unpleasant, like having to clean dirty toilets, or they’re scary, like fixing the roof or preparing a Speech. Unfortunately, procrastination can reinforce itself. Once we avoid the task we don’t want to do and replace it with something “fun”, it becomes easier and easier to repeat. But how can we overcome this laziness? First thing is to accept it. In most cases, facing the truth about our weaknesses can help us overcome these bad habits and move into action where we otherwise may have failed.  Laziness is also another word for unmotivated. Finding a way to motivate yourself is the key to moving outside of your laziness.
  • Unfocused: Do you sit down to complete something and find yourself pulled into a thousand different directions? You open up Facebook or start checking your email. You go to take out the trash or start filing your paperwork from last week. These tasks, though many of them seem “productive” and important, are pulling you away from the task you’ve committed to. As you see things that need to be done, add them to a list, but don’t jump from one thing to another like a jackrabbit, because then nothing will get done! Remove distractions and work on increasing your mental focus to ensure that once you dedicate a block of time to a task, this is the only place your mind settles.
  • Overcomplicated: This is a major weakness of mine. Naturally, I seem to have the notion that “more is better” and seem to try to create a huge production out of every task on my list- or many of them at least. Working to simplify the things in your life can increase the number of things you accomplish and the results you see, exponentially. Remember: Keep it Simple!  

I hope this has opened your eyes a little to the reality of procrastination. It’s all around us, and often we’re doing it without even realizing. Try to be on the lookout for the times you might be procrastinating and ask yourself: Why?

Download the free printable below to evaluate the possible reasons you might be procrastinating the tasks on your list. Then check back for the second article in the series where I’ll cover tips to overcome procrastination.


 Don’t forget to download the free printable! You’ll find it in the free resource library. after signing up below!

Why do you procrastinate? Is there something I missed from the list? Share your vices below!

Know Your Productivity Type

Knowing your productivity type can help you prioritize your work so you can achieve the greatest success each day.

Are you the type of task-driven person who cannot stand seeing unchecked boxes on your “to do” list? Or are you driven by deadlines and can’t seem to get started until a hard deadline is looming on your projects? Knowing your productivity type can help you prioritize your work so you can achieve the greatest success each day.

The Four Productivity Styles

In my study, I’ve seen three strong productivity styles that manifest when trying to get things finished. A major personality-test addict myself, I’ve found that knowing the tendencies produced by your personality can often help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses, which can, in turn, help you understand how best you work.

Below are the three Productivity styles I’ve seen, as well as some ideas on how to leverage your personality to achieve the greatest success.

One thing to note: you may find that you don’t fit into a single “type”, and that’s ok. I see a little of each within myself, but I do have a dominant style. One that I relate most to and that most of the characteristics ring true for me. If there are two or more that seem to fit you, pick the one that resonates the strongest, or use tips from both styles.

The Detailer

Detailers are the kings & queens of the to-do list. They have strong goals and know how to achieve the results they’re looking for. They’ll work tirelessly to develop a clear plan of action. They’re the tourist with the 7-page itinerary and walk with a map in their hand- if they haven’t memorized it first.


Detailers thrive on organization, lists and order. They are well aware of upcoming deadlines and will usually have a notebook within arm’s reach, because everything is always written down.

They’re natural “planners” and are spectacular at organizing all the small details that go into a plan. Detailers are goal-driven and always have their life priorities in mind when planning their time.

When a project needs to be planned or organized, the detailer is usually the one to figure it out. Detailers are great at figuring out how to do something, because they understand each individual and separate step.


Detailers tend to have a hard time looking at the “big picture” because they get so caught up in the small details. Sometimes perfection-oriented, they’ll tend to waste (er- spend) a lot of time ensuring everything “fits just right”.

They are not very spontaneous, and may struggle with creative thinking or working outside the box. They often have difficulty with flexibility and don’t take change well.

Detailers often prefer to work alone and may find it difficult to contribute in groups because they can struggle with making decisions without adequate time to process the details. They are critical thinkers who analyze each piece before making important decisions, and have a hard time skipping that process.

They can also be hyper-critical of their own thoughts and ideas, analyzing the validity and practicality before fully exploring the possibility.


If you’re a detailer, if you stick to your to-do list, you’ll regularly see fantastic results. Dedicate the time necessary to writing out your tasks, goals, and priorities, and the output will be far greater than the time spent. You receive clarity in the process and this will be time well spent.

The Team Player

Team players, also very commonly spectacular leaders, are people that thrive in social situations. They’re outgoing and lively, ambitious and people-oriented. If they were a traveler, they’d much sooner ask every stranger they saw for directions and “secret locations” than read a guidebook or map.


Team Players love working in groups, managing people, and “persuading” others. They work best when surrounded by other people and a fair amount of noise or input.

They are commonly thoughtful and encouraging to others and excel in groups or partnerships. They often make fantastic leaders with their ability to delegate tasks and organize other people and information.

Team Players will quickly take control of a group situation and act as the team cheerleader by encouraging other team members and having a positive attitude about the project at hand.


Team Players will cringe at the idea of working alone- they need the personal interaction and thrive in a group setting.

Because of their high social awareness, Team Players can easily get distracted by conversations and can struggle to stay focused on individual tasks.

When not surrounded by people, Team Players will very often find themselves relying on social media for their personal interaction. In small doses this is fine, but if left unchecked, it can very often become a large distraction.


Listening to a good music playlist can help a Team Player stay focused. It provides the vocal input that they vividly need, while not providing an avenue for conversation or response. It can keep the Team Player engaged in the task in front of them instead of pulling them into all the different directions they’d so love to go.

Social interaction can energize a Team Player. They’ll draw inspiration and motivation from meeting with and talking to others. If you are a Team Player, consider spending some of your working time in a public place such as Starbucks or a Local Park in order to get the most done during the day.

Another great tactic to see positive results is to get others involved. Grab a team (kids, spouse, friends, church group) and as much as you can, delegate every task you don’t need to do yourself. Working alongside others turns the most menial task into a group activity, which is incredibly empowering for a Team Player.

The Visionary

The visionary is a creative soul. They’re motivated by creating, developing their ideas and finding new ways to approach a situation. They are spontaneous and impulsive. When traveling, a visionary will set off for a with no set plan and the attitude of “I’ll figure it out when I’ll get there.”

Strengths & Weaknesses:

A visionary will often be juggling multiple projects at any given time. They will commonly have a hard time keeping interest on only one task at a time, preferring to let their creative mind jump between several things to keep a fresh look on each project.

Visualizers are creative thinkers who welcome change. They are flexible and have no problem adjusting when problems arise.

Visualizers are great at seeing the big picture, and tend to focus on the end result as opposed to the smaller tasks which lead to that end result. If they can work collaboratively with a Detailer, these two can be an unstoppable team, but doing so can prove challenging as they have very different approaches to organizing and task management.

Their workspace (and mind) are seen as cluttered and unorganized, and to someone like a Detailer this can be seen as a major weakness. To the Visionary, it’s a sign of a creative space- a place where “the magic happens”, so to speak. They know what is in each of their “piles” on their desk, and can still find anything they need.

While working with others, Visionaries can let their imaginations run away with them when trying to plan out a project. They’ll have many ideas that the Team Player and Detailers can help formulating into a plan.


Though visionaries have a great amount of energy and their creative minds are constantly coming up with new ideas, their fluid nature tends to leave them with a difficulty completing the tasks and projects they start.  


For Visionaries working alone, batching tasks (doing all repeated tasks at the same time each week) can help balance between keeping a fresh eye and true productivity. Each occurrence will be different enough to still be interesting to the Visionary, but also similar and help establish an efficient workflow.

Next Steps:

The better you understand your productivity type, the more tools you can utilize to maximize your potential and find success in your goals and life desires.

Once you figure out how – and when – you work best, you will be an unstoppable force. You’ll know exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to approach it. You’ll fly through your task list and feel accomplished and empowered!

So what’s your Productivity Style? Download the printable below to take the assessment, then comment below: Is it accurate? Does it give you any ideas on how to leverage your style to get the most done?


 Don’t forget to download the free printable! You’ll find it in the free resource library. after signing up below!

Deferring Tasks

Overwhelmed? Too many tasks? Sometimes it's prudent to redistribute your schedule to different days so you can focus on what needs to get done "right now."

Have you ever taken a look at your task list and just felt overwhelmed with the sheer amount you had to get done? If you haven’t, I envy you. This happens to me all the time, and when it does, I find myself doing one simple thing to help me manage this ever-growing task list. It’s called a “Soon, Later, Someday” list, and it really helps me narrow down what I think I need to get done in day vs. what I actually need to get done.

Grab a piece of paper or your planner, (or better yet, the FREE printable I made for you!) and let’s get to work organizing those tasks!


Drop in all tasks you know you need to get done in the next day or two. Deadline coming up? Something due by a certain time? Time crunch? Put in everything here that you know you have to get done in the next couple days.


This list accounts for the remainder of the week. If you need it done 3-7 days from now, put it here. These tasks should be completed once all NOW! items are finished.


This list can really encompass any time frame you’re comfortable with. I usually have it span 1-3 weeks away, or sometimes even a month. They’re lower priority tasks, or perhaps projects that take awhile to complete.


This lists holds all those projects that you want to do, but don’t currently have time for. Need a weekend but don’t know when you’ll get one? Put it here and you can work on the task/project as time is available.

Put it to Work

This strategy is super helpful for me when I have too many tasks for a simple list-based approach. It helps me narrow down my commitments and prioritize my time. Sometimes I am even able to remove some things from my list, if I realize it doesn’t help propel me forward toward my goals.

Feeling overwhelmed? Download your printable and try putting it to use: I’m certain you’ll see clarity improved productivity.


 Don’t forget to download the free printable! You’ll find it in the free resource library. after signing up below!


Enjoying this process of finding the best time to tackle your tasks? This is just one of the lessons I teach in my FREE course “Transform the Overwhelm: 7 Days to Peaceful Productivity”, which you can sign up for right now. Every day for a week you’ll receive detailed instructions, exercises, and support from me as you navigate your own list and work to transform those feelings of overwhelm into true productivity. Don’t miss out!

What are Your *Most Important* Tasks

When you simply don't have time for everything on your list, decide which tasks hold the most value, and focus on just a few each day.

Have you ever had a day where you worked yourself frazzled only to discover that by the end of the day you really didn’t accomplish much at all, and the things you should have done are still sitting there, staring you in the face?

Buring Ourselves in Busy

Getting things done during the day seems to be a constant struggle for most people I know. “I’m so busy!” or “There aren’t enough hours in the day!” are phrases that I hear so very often. And I get it! I say them myself definitely more often than I should.

So why do we find ourselves “busy” so often? And what does that really mean? How much of what you’re doing every day actually propels you forward toward your goals? Because really, it’s not about how much you’re getting done… it’s about what you’re getting done, and if you’re accomplishing those things that are really going to help you get where you want to be.

If you’re measuring your success based solely on the number of things you accomplish every day without thinking about the actual progress you’re making toward your goals, you might want to take a couple steps back, because you’re overworking yourself for no reason.

Hopefully you understand the valuable nature of time. It’s a limited and oh-so-precious commodity, one that must be safeguarded and respected. And so often, we waste it away like it’s nothing.

We will always hаvе things that will need to get dоnе, but the trick to staying productive is is figuring out what the right things are, and making sure we’re getting the biggest bang for our buck. Establishing your “Top 3” every day and focusing on these tasks first can help boost your productivity and help you get the most out of your limited time.

If you’re tired of wasting it away and want to spend your time the most effective way possible, this is probably the best way I’ve found to help me feel like at the end of the day, I’ve been productive and gotten not just a bunch of things accomplished, but the right things. Sound good? Let’s go!

Discovering your MIT

Hеrе are the five ѕіmрlе ѕtерѕ to hеlр уоu establish your “Top 3” and tо gеt thе rіght things done:

1. Brain Dump

Get a piece of paper and write down all the things you think you need to do. If you’ve never done a brain dump, you can find more information about this process here. The idea here is that you’re going to get everything out of your head so you can process it all later on.

2. Establish your Goals & Priorities

If you haven’t done this in awhile, make sure you spend some time thinking about and writing down what you want to achieve in life, as well as what you value most. In order for you to make the best use of your time, you need to know what’s important to you and the direction you most want to head in.

3. Organize

Here you’re going to begin organizing your tasks based on importance, keeping in mind your goals & priorities. Remember: if it doesn’t align with the direction you’re trying to head in, it can possibly be deferred or dumped.

When you simply don't have time for everything on your list, decide which tasks hold the most value, and focus on just a few each day.

4. Schedule

After you’ve narrowed down your list based on what you really need to do, now you can decide the order in which you need to do them. Do any of your tasks have a deadline? Which are the most “urgent” tasks, and which are just there for “someday?”

5. Evaluate

Fight the urge to be tempted away from this important step. Albert Einstein stated that the definition of Insanity is “doing something over and over again and expecting different results.” This is where Evaluation comes in.

Periodically (I like to do this informally every evening or morning)  you need to take a step back and make sure that you’re on the right track. If you’re still not feeling productive at the end of the day, or you’re still feeling guilt over not completing everything on your list, are you really completing your Most Important Tasks? Are there other things that could be a better use of your time, even though they may not be as “fun” or externally rewarding? Or perhaps you need a mindset shift in understanding that you really can’t get every single thing done, but that it doesn’t make you a failure.

Whatever it is that you need to change or do differently at this point, you have to do a periodic evaluation to discover what needs to change and take steps to make it different.


 Don’t forget to download the free printable! You’ll find it in the free resource library. after signing up below!


I know that was a lot to digest in such a short time, but here’s the good news: if you like this idea of establishing and focusing on your 3 MITs, I go into it in further detail in my FREE course “Transform the Overwhelm: 7 Days to Peaceful Productivity”, which you can sign up for now. Every day for a week you’ll receive detailed instructions, exercises, and support from me as you navigate your own list and work to transform those feelings of overwhelm into true productivity.

Stephen Covey’s 2×2 Time Management Matrix

Overwhelmed? Not sure what needs to get done first? Use a TM Matrix will help you evaluate your tasks based on priorities so you can choose the best thing.
Overwhelmed? Not sure what needs to get done first? Use a TM Matrix will help you evaluate your tasks based on priorities so you can choose the best thing.

It’s easy to get bogged down with your growing task list when it seems you’re adding more than you’re accomplishing. As much as it’s difficult for me to admit, I continually have to remind myself that I simply cannot do everything every day. Sometimes, I just have to prioritize the most important tasks and know I’ve done my best. But how do we know which tasks are the most important? Productivity guru Stephen Covey, in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” explained a system to organize your tasks based on two criteria: urgency and importance. Working together, these two things create a grid where you can judge all incoming tasks to determine your next best step. It’s called the “Time Management Matrix”. It works like this: The top two sections are categorized in urgency, the bottom two in importance.


When you want to evaluate your tasks, you need to consider each of these for each task.   Urgency: Does the task have a deadline, or is it time sensitive? Something like “buy a wedding gift for Sarah” needs to be done by next Saturday, so you can bring it with you when you attend. But “clean out my closet”, though it may be very needed, doesn’t have to be done by a specific time. Importance: Does it really matter if you get this thing done or not? Or is it just a “want to” kind of task? In the above examples, let’s say that you’re not super close to Sarah (she’s a work colleague’s daughter) and if you don’t bring a gift, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. You still want to do it, but the importance factor has then gone down. And yet, “clean out my closet”, though not deadline driven, is still important because half of the clothes you own don’t fit anymore or are out of season- you need to purge some and store others away. This task has a higher importance level, but lacks urgency.


Overwhelmed? Not sure what needs to get done first? Use a TM Matrix will help you evaluate your tasks based on priorities so you can choose the best thing.

After determining the urgency & importance of each of your items, you combine your results to place each task in one of the four quadrants. Quadrant 1: Urgent & Important. These are tasks that are top priority. They include tasks that are high in both urgency & importance. Let’s say your son’s field trip permission slip is due on Friday- if you don’t get it in, he can’t go. Important, right? And the deadline is in 3 days- urgent? Definitely! This tells you that you need to do this task ASAP. Quadrant 2: Not Urgent & Important. These tasks are second priority. (See the pattern?) Cleaning out your closet goes here. Or spending time with family- important because it aligns with your life priorities and goals, but doesn’t need to be done by a specific time. Worst case scenario- if your day is filled up with all #1s, these #2s can usually be postponed to a later time. Quadrant 3: Urgent & Not Important. Third in priority- these tasks only get completed after you’ve completed, or scheduled, quadrants 1 & 2. Because they’re not important, you have to decide if the time they’ll take to complete are worth the benefits of completing the task. (In financial terms, this is called “return on investment.” I like thinking of my tasks like that.) Often you’ll find you can eliminate some of these items, or delegate them to others. Quadrant 4: Not Urgent & Not Important: These tasks are often the ones we put there because we want to. Things like watching our favorite show on Netflix, or surfing Facebook. They’re things that we need to plan a little time for (in the interest of self-care & unwinding), but need to keep under control. Quadrant 4 is, you guessed it, lowest priority.


For me, it’s really nice to visually see my tasks organized by priority, especially when I start to feel overwhelmed with so many of them. Often I find tasks that I think are important, but by forcing myself to place each task in a quadrant, I realize I can cut many of them out, simplifying my day. I have a huge problem with over-planning my time, but using this method of priority really helps me get a handle on what I really do have time to accomplish. I also really like how this forces me to triage my tasks before I add them to my list- I have to literally sit and evaluate each task before I write it down… to ensure I am placing it in the proper quadrant… no more doing #3s before all else! Note: I do combine this with a good “Brain Dump” to ensure all my thoughts are written down beforehand- that way I don’t forget anything while I’m prioritizing.


Knowing that quadrant 1 items are top priority, you can probably guess that they really should be completed or planned first. That’s a no brainer. But do the rest fall exactly in line? (#2s, #3s and then #4s?) Well, not exactly. It’s important to create balance in your life, which you can do well, using this system. When planning your time, after you’ve planned all urgent & important matters, you want to sprinkle in a mixture of both 2s & 3s. After deciding to plan or eliminate the 3s, if you are going to do them, since they have deadlines, get them on the list. Since they’re lower priority, if they don’t end up happening exactly the way you want, you can feel guiltless about missing them. But if you’re anything like me, they definitely won’t happen if they’re not even on the list (and obviously before the deadline.)   So, to illustrate, I’m going to put the permission slip on my calendar first, since it’s due in 3 days and has high importance. Next, I’m going to plan to clean my closet on Saturday morning, since it I feel strongly it’s important for me right now. I’m going to plan on picking up Sarah’s wedding gift on Thursday evening after work (since I get off early that night), but if something happens, I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I’m also going to write in to watch a couple episodes of my favorite show this week- one on Wednesday night and one Sunday afternoon.   Don’t underestimate the importance of carving out some time for those 4s- guilty pleasures that you can use as rewards for a productive day, or as a tool to help you unwind from the stressful ones. Some call these “distractions” and urge you to avoid them- I know it’s important to let yourself indulge a little. Just be careful… only you know how much time is left in your schedule. Don’t waste it. I hope this has helped you see just how beneficial this can be to help you organize your growing task list… be sure to be honest with yourself when judging urgency and importance. If it helps you meet or progress you in your life goals, it’s probably important. And is each task actually as urgent as it seems? Try to eliminate as many things as possible… simplifying your list can help you exponentially in the long run.

Don’t forget to download the FREE printable below to organize and prioritize your own tasks!


 Don’t forget to download the free printable! You’ll find it in the free resource library. after signing up below!


Looking for a simpler version of this process? There’s an easy one included in my FREE course “Transform the Overwhelm: 7 Days to Peaceful Productivity”which you can sign up for now. Every day for a week you’ll receive detailed instructions, exercises, and support from me as you navigate your own list and work to transform those feelings of overwhelm into true productivity.

Get it Out! – The How & Why of “Brain Dumping”

Overwhelm & Stress are signs of a cluttered mind. For you to be able to process more information, you have to first clear the mental clutter.

Have you ever looked down at your task list and just threw up your arms in frustration because you knew that no matter how diligent and focused you were all day, you would just never get through everything? This has happened to me more times than I can count. There’s something about an ever-growing task list that can send me into overwhelm so fast that I simply lose all motivation and focus to accomplish anything at all.

So what do you do when you see yourself spiraling? Give up and crawl into bed or watch Netflix all day because you just simply can’t handle it?

Dramatics aside, the reality remains that if you’re like most creatively productive people, you probably have more tasks on your list than hours in the day. This imbalance can certainly be disheartening and overwhelming.

Though lying in bed or binge-watching Netflix sounds like fun, most of us simply don’t have (and probably wouldn’t even want) that luxury. Instead, the solution is to move past those thoughts of debilitating overwhelm and work to find mental clarity on your best “next steps.”

So how do we do this? When I feel myself getting weighed down by all the things on my growing to-do list, my first course of action is to sit down and do a good “Brain Dump.”  I’ve found that by using this process regularly, I can effectively clear my mind of the mental clutter and allow myself to focus on my most important tasks at hand.


A brain dump is exactly what it sounds like – an exercise to get everything out of your brain and onto paper. You literally take every thought that is in your head and record it down for later organization.

Unfortunately, you simply can’t process everything that’s inside your brain at any one time, so removing them from active memory to a place where you can see and recall them later on helps your mind feel relaxed and increases your productivity. No longer are you worried about what you’re going to make for dinner- now the only thing that matters is the current task at hand.

A brain dump allows you to consciously address thoughts swimming aimlessly around in your mind, giving them direction and purpose, thus keep them from distracting you from your tasks, goals and projects.


The benefits of a brain dump (and the planning-stage afterward) can be huge, though they’re different for everyone. Some positive changes I’ve noticed in my own life include:

  • Better clarity and peace of mind in which tasks deserve my attention
  • More productivity & focus – I know what to do and when best to do them
  • A feeling of control of my own life – I choose my actions instead of living reactionary in “survival mode”
  • A peaceful and relaxed mind – no more internal mental battles or feelings of guilt over neglected tasks
  • Improved sleep, relaxation & guilt-free personal time


Do these sound like lofty promises? Well I assure you, through careful planning and follow through, it is possible. It all starts with a Brain Dump! So let’s get started.

Here’s what you need to do for a proper brain dump:

Download the included workbook (any notebook or even scratch-paper will work just fine too!), grab your favorite pen and set aside a little quiet time to do this.

(A Note on technology: If you’re more digital-minded, you can even use your computer or phone. The medium for recording really doesn’t matter, but for all my love for technology, if I’m being honest, there is some real value in going the old-fashioned way of pen and paper.)

Start writing everything that comes to mind. Don’t judge, don’t edit, and don’t skip over anything. Any ideas for projects, to-dos, commitments and the likes go on the page. Need to repair your roof before next winter? Your husband needs new boots? Someday you really want to re-organize your closet? Write it all down.

You might be shocked at the number of things you can write down in just 10-15 minutes. The first time I did a brain dump, I filled several pages! Looking at this list when you’re done can seem overwhelming at first, but remember, the more you brain-dump, the more manageable it will become.


What you do with your brain dump is really up to you. For some, the simple act of dumping your thoughts out of your brain and onto the paper is valuable enough. For me, I have to actually put some additional time forth to organize and process my list so I know what steps are needed moving forward.

If you’re strapped for time, put the pages aside to come back to later. When you’re ready, spend some time going through your list and organize by deadline, category or priority. Figure out out what you most want (or need) to do and focus on. For example, you may make a list of good work related ideas that you should try to implement over the coming weeks.

After some consideration, you may also decide some tasks are unnecessary and remove them from your list. That is perfectly alright! There’s definite value in simplifying your time.

Going through your brain dump like this allows you to sort and categorize the information into a manageable format, one task at a time. For more information on how to process and organize your list, including a detailed walkthrough with additional printables, check out my free course on task organization.


As you repeat and improve on your brain-dumping routine, here are some additional tips to help you get the most from your exercise:

  • In its purest form, brain dumping is simply creating a list of unconnected thoughts on a page. Don’t worry about being too detailed or organized just yet – a good brain dump is quick and dirty. To the point. All you’re doing is getting it out of your mind. You’ll spend some time processing and organizing your thoughts later on.
  • Don’t try to sort or organize your list just yet. Let them flow from your brain to the paper. Write the words that come to your mind freely and quickly. Don’t worry about grammar or word choice or even spelling, just put whatever comes to your mind on the paper as fast as you can.
  • Take your time, don’t force it and take a breather every now and again. If you want to set a timer and write until it goes off, you can. I find I feel too rushed when I try this tactic, but for many I know it helps stimulate ideas.
  • Don’t judge or censor yourself as you write. Often we don’t write the things we are thinking or dreaming because “there’s no way I could do that!” or “someday maybe I’ll get to it, but I just can’t right now.” Maybe it’s not in the cards for you at this time in your life, but if you don’t at least acknowledge it (write it down), it’ll just continue floating around in your mind- and isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid? Writing it down tells your mind “ok, I understand this thought may be important for me at some point, but I’ll come back to it when the time is right.” It gives your mind permission to focus on other things. Besides, Brain Dumping isn’t about practicality anyway- it’s about getting those thoughts on paper. Save practicality for later.


I hope you are beginning to see the effectiveness of regular brain-dump sessions, and the role it plays in your productivity. There are few things less productive than having those random, unconnected thoughts floating through your head, taking up valuable brain space, sucking up your energy and focus.

The process of Brain Dumping can feel quite exhausting, but it is incredibly rewarding, helpful and freeing. Think of it like dejunking your kitchen drawer: you’re freeing up a whole lot of space in your mind and clearing the mental clutter that has been steadily accumulating!

It can be a good idea to institute a weekly or monthly brain dump ritual to keep your mind uncluttered and free. You definitely don’t want to fall into the endless mental spiral that prompted the overwhelm in the first place. We want to move forward, not backward.

Now download your printable below and make a date with your brain!


Now that you’ve completed your brain dump, you’re probably wondering what to do with everything you wrote down. You’ll find out what to do next in my FREE course “Transform the Overwhelm: 7 Days to Peaceful Productivity”, which you can sign up for right now. Every day for a week you’ll receive detailed instructions, exercises, and support from me as you navigate your own list and work to transform those feelings of overwhelm into true productivity. Don’t miss out!

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