How I Do It

Sometimes people ask me, "How do you do it all?"

Well, first of all, I don't. Do it all, that is.

For example, I don't always fold and put away the laundry (Erin, I hope you're reading this...because I put those heels there on-purpose to make the photo cuter. I learned that from you!):


And my 2-year-old's room sometimes often looks like this (At least there's a cute baby in the picture, right?):

messy room

And I have bags of clothes in the corner of my bedroom, waiting for my next Clothes Swap (which have been there FOREVER, much to my husband's dismay):

bags for clothes swap

That said, I do do a lot.

I may not always be the best housewife (my husband and I work together to keep a tidy house, but it's not like I'm June Cleaver or something...) and I don't have a Martha Stewart home (our walls are painfully barren and white, for example).

But I'm a wife. I'm a mom. I'm on a 10-hour contract for the local school district. I run this blog (which is a business too...). And, I try to be a good friend and an involved citizen on top of that.

And here, my friends, is my "secret formula" for how I manage to do all that I do:

(1) I don't watch TV. My husband and IĀ are not like "normal" people. On most days, we don't even turn on our TV. My husband works all day at his job; I work all day as a mommy. Then, evening comes and we have dinner, a family walk, bathtime, storytime, singing songs, scratching backs, saying prayers. And then? We kick of our shoes and watch TV. Actually, we get right to work - quickly, with determination and focus and charisma. Our dreams beckon us. TV seems like such a waste when we have a business to grow and a world to change.

(2) I stay in. I like my home and I'm content here. Sometimes people ask if I get a little "stir-crazy," if I need to "get out of the house." But you know? I like it here in our little, warm abode - surrounded by the people I love best. So, we don't regularly make trips to the mall and to Target and to the zoo. We stay right here - we read books and bake cookies and build towers and do crafts and play with alphabet flash cards and jump on the beds and search for pretty flowers on neighborhood walks. By staying in, we save time and money.

(3) I stay up. Until 1 am on most nights, actually. Late, I know. Or, rather...early, I should say. But that's what works for us.

(4) I stay focused. I have very detailed to-do lists , goal sheets, and dream doodles. If you ask me what my goals are for the next week, the next 3 months, the next 6 months, the next year, the next 5 years, the next 50 years...I will be able to tell you.

(5) I have a super supportive husband. He dreams with me. He works hard. He encourages me to blog and be business-minded and remain true to my goals. He actually reads almost every single one of my blog posts before it is published, believe it or not. And he handles some the advertising inquiries for me too since I really like the relational and writing sides of blogging more than anything else. When I get discouraged, he tries to make me say, "I am DA BOMB." But I just seal my lips and then I laugh a lot...and it makes me feel better. We laugh together. We plan together. We dream "impossible" dreams. Someday we're going to move mountains. How do I know this? Because we're starting today...

YOUR TURN: What are your top "time-saving" tips?

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27 comments on “How I Do It”

  1. Sorry- late comment to your post (catching up on my MM :). But I just had to tell you- I just finished putting a mountain of laundry not unsimilar to pic #1 (minus the gorgeous red pumps), my 20 month old's room often looks identical to picture #1 (minus the gorgeous babe), and I have those same bags of clothes (plus a bunch of boxes) filling my garage! Thanks for making the rest of us feel more human.

    I love the list... I especially count on #2- staying in and couldn't live without #5- supportive husband.

    Sorry I've been such an absent commentor these days. Missed ya!

  2. This question is WAY better than its evil counterpart: "What do you DO all day?"

    Sit around eating bon-bons and watching soaps, right? Uh-huh.

    I love my stay-at-home mommy job but get really annoyed at the people who think it's a whole lot of lazy hours. I've never worked so hard in my life!

    I like #2 on your list. This is very much my personality as well. I go out about once a week with the kiddos and that's it.

  3. oh by the way..i loved your list. i am so happy for you that u have such a supportive husband. We dont watch much tv either unless its a movie..

    But i do love to get "OUT" of the house. i love shopping and need to do that often to feel refreshed. i am trying to curb that mentality.

    i love love love ur blog. u will keep seeing my name all the time :) thanks for sharing so much. i really do love to write too..just like you..only i dont do it as much...

  4. What i want to know is how do you manage sleeping at 1am? how many hours do u sleep? do you get to steal a nap in the afternoon?

    i multi-task a lot. i am a cleaning and organizing love to make sure everything is in order. I make sure i dont keep all the 'heavy' work on the same day. for example, the day i do laundry, i dont clean the bathroom. i keep a to-do list by my bed that i keep checking during the day. i love to mark things off of it so that itself motivates me to get things done.

    but i cannot do 'things' past 9:30 pm(unless watching a movie) and i dont even have kids yet. h

    how do u stay up so much?

  5. Oh my goodness, of course I am reading. I love that you put the heels there-- ha! A whole heap of laundry doesn't mean a thing if there are cute heels beside it, right? I stay up super late every night too. I like the idea of dream doodles. I should try something like that instead of just floating around all dream-cloud like.

  6. I've always been a big list maker too, but ever since the time I left a list lying around that included brushing my teeth and bugging my brother I've toned down the detail a bit...

    I try to keep things simple and organized. It's easier for me to be productive if I can't see piles of things all over the place, so I try to make eliminating those piles easy.

    We also try to reduce the amount of "stuff" coming into our house in the first place, having places for things to go and ruthlessly getting rid of things we don't use (if I haven't used it in a year in the kitchen - out it goes!).

    The "places for things to go" is particularly important. If it's my habit to dump things in a particular place (ahem), then either I need to change the habit or find a way to make the "dumping" look more attractive. Usually changing the habit is pretty hard work!

    For instance, we keep a set of laundry baskets in our room and we toss clothes in (lights, darks, "too clean to launder but already worn")

    And if all else fails, I just shove everything into a drawer or closet (out of sight, out of mind, right?).

    We do go out a lot, but mostly for walks or other free outings. Elizabeth likes to do new things... I try not to think of these as activities that are getting in the way of getting things done because really they are part of my job as being a mom. Sometimes I can combine them with other things that need doing like depositing money or grocery shopping.

    I try to plan my week out in advance - it saves a lot of time in the grocery store and at meal prep time if I already know exactly what I'm making! And if I know which chores I'm aiming to complete, it helps me keep perspective on what is doable in the week and what I have accomplished!

  7. You are amazing! We are homebodies here that is for sure. We like to go out and shop together but enjoy being home together most. My hubby is very supportive too, I'm so blessed.

    I definitely need to get more focused. I would love to see a sample of your goal sheets and dream doodles (with fake info of course LOL) if you're able to share.

    As for TV, well that's a whole other story. I'm totally addicted to Reality TV and it's our time to just wind down but I do want to cut out some of the shows that I watch come Fall.

  8. so nice to see how you guys work to compliment each other. what a beautiful relationship.
    i do everything except the stay in part...i love getting out to local conservation areas or playgroups or family activities. i'm a traveller. i like trying to teach my kids about different things by also experiencing it and immersing ourselves in it.
    :) thanks for sharing.

  9. Glad to see more of the real MM!

    In fact, I totally agree with the TV thing- mostly because it's just violent and nasty. HOWEVER, it will be on for the next 3 weeks for the Tour De France!!

  10. This is a great post! I, too, often get asked how I "do it all" and am in wonder that anybody could ever see me as a wonder woman. It's just in my nature to be constantly busy, though I will admit that I'm a fabulous multi-tasker, which helps a lot in the amount I accomplish in a day. I also stay up way too late. ;)

  11. I love this post and the pictures too! It's good to know that my child's bedroom is not the only one that looks like a cyclone hit!

    and that is fantastic that you have such a supportive hubby. You two sound like a perfect team! :)

  12. Not watching t.v. and staying in are probably the best time savers out there. I don't even own a t.v. And, weeks when I have to leave the house more than normal are always hectic and stressful. Going out takes up way more time than people realize. Great tips.
    Ahem...I have no idea what you and Erin are talking about. Doesn't everyone live in a June Cleaver/Martha Stewart abode? Just kidding. I had giveaway items piled throughout 2 rooms of my house for a few months. Oh, my, was I glad to get rid of that stuff!! And, the clothing they ever end?

  13. HAHA about the heels there. ;) I saw that post that Erin did, too. Her pile looked so chic. LOL

    I like your post. It reminds me a lot of how I get things done around here.

    It's never as pulled together as it may appear on ones blog, that's for certain.


  14. I need to stick to some of those rules myself. One thing that has been a problem lately is my husband likes to go to bed early but I prefer to stay up. Great for my productivity, but not so great for our couple time. Need to balance more, I think...

  15. Well, we sleep in, in our house! We also have lots of laundry! Yes, no TV adds to getting things done, and to limit my time on the blogosphere! Plus, I love being home also! I just get really frustrated when I have to be out of the house a lot. I love being here with the kids! I do love, love the library. We read a lot of books. I could use some of your tips on goal setting! I have them but in my mind somewhere! I think that a person that can write down their goals and stick to them is pretty amazing! Good for you!

  16. It's nice to see other people's houses have laundry piles and bags of clothes and toys everywhere too! I'm very good at making to do lists and goal lists but not so good at following them...half the time I lose them!

  17. Wow -You make me feel much better about my house - It's hard for me to say "I'll clean later... I have kids to hang out with!" but I have been trying to do it more lately, and I am learning to love my piles of clean (unfolded) clothes!!

  18. Great post, Stephanie! Along the same lines as #2 (Staying In), I would say "Learning to say No" is an important one - learning to turn down things that are not the best use of your time, like candle/make-up/jewelry parties, volunteer opportunities that aren't in line with your calling, get-togethers with people you don't actually enjoy being with, etc. There are many things I say "yes" to, but I try to make sure they're things I'm really passionate about.

  19. Great post! Thanks for being real and posting pics of your stuff. Analise's room is much like your little ones room although we have incorporated clean up before nap time and bed time. It helps her feel more responsible for her stuff (which gets thrown all over the room in a matter of seconds) and it gives me a break from picking it up every time. I love that your husband is so supportive...that is so special and so important! There is no doubt that you are anything but a fantastic mom and wife! I too would love to hear your process on setting your goals!

  20. I do many of the items on your "secret formula" list, or at least understand how they contribute. (I don't stay up just doesn't work for our family, but on those nights when I can't sleep and I do stay up a couple hours longer than everyone else I see how beneficial it can be.)

    I would love for you to post more about #4 setting goals. I keep a weekly to-do list and we have some specific financial/retirement goals. So I have the super short-term and the very long-term addressed in-part, but I have a hard time with those month to few-year length goals. In addition, my goals tend to be very task oriented, much like my personality.

    I would like to see your thought-process and some of the "tools" (ie books) that were helpful in setting goals.

  21. Each of the above are mine as well - with #1 (no TV) and #5 (the best partner in the world) being the most significant I think...I also think multitasking and planning are very important as well...and realizing that some things just don't get done when you want them to, although they probably will eventually...

  22. I am what you would consider OCD when it comes to time saving tips. One word. Multitask. I am ALWAYS multitasking...for example, while aiting for that pot of water to boil for the spaghetti, I am unloading and loading the dishwasher, cleaning baby bottles and nipples, sweeping the floor and swiffering. If I need to go upstairs, I am always looking to see what one, two , three or more things need to go upstairs too (like laundry, misplaced toys, paperwork, laptops etc.) and they go with me. When the kids are playing with the hundred thousand toys they seem to get out at a time...when I am on the floor plying with them? I sort the toys into piles so when it is time to clean up I can scoop up piles into buckets super quick. Multitasking is truly an art, but so, so helpful in my house! I have FOUR boys, one husband and two cats. Need I say more?

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