Are you legitimately feeling burned out and overwhelmed? Are you on repeat day in and day out feeling like there's just no hope, like this is your life every single day? Is it the same yelling, the same crying, messy house, disorganized life, the same rush for getting dinner on the table, the same rush to get lunches in backpacks and getting out the door every day?
If this is what you're going through every single day and you're serious about getting your daily routines and your mental space aligned, and serious about putting some calm back into your life, then you absolutely are going to have to dig in deep and answer some hard questions for yourself. Let's dive in to how I reduce my stress and anxiety each week by time blocking fundamental tasks that support my core needs.
How it all started
In the beginning years of my marriage I didn't understand my strengths and I didn't understand what I could bring to the table. And I also didn't know how to manage raising children, and being a wife, and working outside the home, and running a small business. I had been giving my time, my heart, my love and all of my energy to other people to be able to find myself worth and to be able to love myself. I was left feeling completely depleted almost every day... but with this odd sense at the same time that I was really achieving it, I was really doing it.
Deep down, there was a voice that I went to bed with at night that met me in the quiet spaces of my life. I knew that the snippy woman that I could be in my darkest moments and the tears and the frustrations and that dying need to just be alone. Even though I loved my family and I loved my community was stemming from something that really, really needed to be addressed. I wanted others to be happy. But, it was at the cost of telling myself that I could put me and that voice off another day, which then became another week, another month and then years. Right.
I'm sure so many of you can completely relate to knowing that you have this one thing, or maybe it's a couple things that you really needs to get in order. Maybe it's relationships or losing weight, or chasing a goal, or getting your house on track, or not being the mom that yells, or being the mom that gives more affection, or whatever that looks like for you. There is a voice and there is a nagging and there is a reason behind all of that. So many times we can't even think of how we're even going begin to address that because we're so overwhelmed and our schedules are so busy.
I made so many excuses for why I was strong enough to stay in the survival mode that I was in and why I had to stay in that mode. I needed to do it because all these people needed me and I could not give up any of the effort and energy and the devotion those currently giving because these people needed me. Right. I needed to be filling those shoes every single day because my kids need it and my husband needs it and the bank account needs it. And all these things just need me.
I was burned out. I was a burn out mom and wife that desperately believed in herself and her dreams. But I was at a complete loss. So what did I do? The Enneagram 1 in me did what she always does, and I started making charts and I started making graphs and mind maps.
I organized but living life out of my struggles. I found patterns. I read books on my strengths and weaknesses. I started just really looking at all of it and that's when I said, "alright let's just take everything off the plate and look at what is extremely fundamental."
What's So Important About Fundamental Needs?
I talk a lot about these fundamental needs, and the reason I talk about them is because this is where stress and or anxiety comes from. Most of the time, things that give us stress and things that makes it make us anxious are things that we are imposing upon ourself. All of those things that I talked about, those people that needed me, they didn't actually need me in the way I presented.
There is a way that I can create my day to run smoothly without requiring everyone to be dependent on me. What are the core needs that I have as Chelsi that are going to support me to be the best wife? The best mom, the best coworker, community member. Daughter, sister. What is it that I feel called to do every single day? It is not being stressed and it is not being anxious. Yet we continue to live in that space because our head is so caught up in all of these other things that we've put on our plate tasks to dos roles that actually don't need to be defining us and holding our time.
So I sat down and I made a list of these fundamental needs for myself and I took them to my husband and he also made a list for himself and what he wanted to see within his own life. And five and ten years from now, we sat down, we prayed about it. We aligned this with our own beliefs and scripture, and we made sure that they were prioritized, that we were prioritizing things that we felt called to do. We looked at that and how we were parenting, how we were stewarding our money, where we were spending our time, how much we were going to be giving to family, to our marriage, to ourself, to our home and on and on. We we looked at this at great depths and we were serious about committing ourselves to the tasks, and that is how our great eight was born.
How To Make Time Blocking Work
If you're serious about putting some calm back into your life, then you absolutely are going to have to dig in deep and answer some hard questions for yourself. Download the assessment and worksheet, then be real with yourself and your spouse. These aren't fluffy questions you need to ask. These are pivotal points in your life when you get to decide when enough is enough with the chaos that you're dealing with.
This is that moment when you get to sit down and decide am I modeling the adult life that I want my children to grow up and live out in their own lives?
Do you want your children to be hustling, hustling, hustling every moment of their lives? Moms, do you want your daughters to grow up and to carry the same burden and the same weight?
Do you want your sons to grow up and have these expectations of their wives? Is this the life that you want your children to live? I looked at mine and I was like, and no, I do not want my daughter to grow up and feel like she has to carry the burden of constantly being responsible for all the things.
My Fundamental Weekly Tasks
Bible Study/Heart Check
This includes planning the meals (see the system I use for that in this blog post), grocery shopping, organizing the fridge, and prepping food for the week ahead. It's okay if your meal prep this look this week looks like going out to eat twice because you can't manage anything else. At least it is set up, and you have a plan.
Right now I'm getting to the gym once a week. And I know in order for me to feel really good about the strength of carrying my children and carrying my groceries in the house and even just getting up and down the stairs without being winded and being healthy on the inside, I need to be dedicating more than one day a week to the gym. But right now, one is all I can give. This is a really busy season and my husband's schedule makes it very, very complicated. So I'm giving my very, very best to that priority. And I'm OK that it's just one time a week. I'm not hard on myself. I'm giving myself grace. And for a while I was like, I can't do it three times. I'm giving up. I'm not doing it. No, don't go there!
This can be in or out of the house. The point here is to make this time that is free from distractions so we can focus on each other. If your date night once a week looks like doing the meal cards that you get from your Chick fil A kids meal that ask all those amazing questions. Do those do that for your date night after kids go to bed? Right. It's okay if these things aren't perfect.
This can be in or out of the house. The point here is to make this time that is free from distractions so we can focus on each other.
We decide what chores in the house need to be done that week and designate a block of time to completing them. Some weeks we have more time than others so less gets done but there is always a block of time for this category, no matter how short the time may be. Even if cleaning this week looks like I only have time to Lysol the counters. That's fine. At least you're making a point to put intention into these things that are extra important to you and not just putting them off altogether.
When it comes to the to do list, we look at what we have and we talk about what absolutely needs to be done for our family. This week for our home this week, not in our personal endeavors. This is not a to do list where we bring in what we're trying to do in our personal life. If you have something that you need to do for the PTO, if you have something that you needs to do for your side hustle, if you have something that you needs to do for a work project. Those are not things that go on his to do list. This is a to do list.
The things that do go on this to do list are change all the light bulbs, go to the bank and sign off on a specific account that we needed to have done. Or. Some of the one of the things that we have on our to do this, this this week as we have this credenza that I'm redoing and I started it and I didn't finish it. Maybe there's something specific, like mowing the yard is always on my husband's to do list. He's obsessed with a well-kept yard, so that that comes up on his to do list frequently. It's little things like that, that we need to get done for the house that are always nagging us, that we try and make sure that we get done in this category.
This personal time block is something that a lot of us feel guilty about implementing. I am so grateful that my husband understands this, that he sees time to develop ourselves individually, away from children, away from the home, away from our spouses, just as vital as I do. He has his own things that he wants to grow and he feels called to do. And he knows that I need that and deserve that just as much as he does. The personal time block there specifically so that we can focus on personal endeavors.
I can't say this enough, you can decide what should be a priority for yourselves, but mommas, please make sure that you give yourself permission to have personal time. I don't care what that looks like. If that means that you are taking a bath by yourself, give yourself at least an hour, once a week to just be alone. As moms, we are called upon all the time. I can't cook without someone pulling on my pant leg. We all know that you can't go to the bathroom by yourself either, right? There is no time to be alone unless you make it happen.
Bible Study/Heart Check
This is where my husband and I sit down and we check in with each other to make sure we aren't derailing from each other. We have a set of six questions that we ask each other.
How can I pray for you this week?
What brought you joy this week?
Is there anything left unsaid that you would like to discuss?
How can I support you this week?
What is a dream you have for yourself this week?
What was something hard this week?
I got these six questions from an awesome podcast called Work and Play with Nancy Ray.
Why Should I Make Time For These Tasks
The reason that we make sure that we do these things before we do anything else is because it absolutely reduces stress. It reduces my anxiety tenfold. There were weeks after weeks after weeks that I was looking back and saying, why is the house always a mess? Well, because we didn't prioritize cleaning it. Why have we not had a date night in months? Well, because we didn't prioritize it. And over and over and over again, these things that we really wanted to see happening were not happening. And so now we make sure that we sit down and we put them on our calendar.
Where Do I Start?
*For those of you that have a set schedule every single Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, every single day of your week looks the same. This will be cake for you. You will be able to sit down and put these in and they will be within reason, pretty static. You can set your gym times for every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can set your family time for every Friday night. You can set your date night for every Wednesday night. You can always do cleaning on Tuesday morning.*
*For some of you, that will experience a rotating schedule like myself because my husband is a firefighter, this will be more cumbersome but MORE VITAL. This will give you consistency and it ensure that no matter what, you are hitting the most valuable priorities.*
Every single week (typically Sundays) we sit down together and put in our Great 8 in to our Google Calendars that we have shared with each other. He puts in his gym time. I put in mine. It shows up on his and his show on mine. We decide, when we want to do date night and family night, etc.
If you are a stay at home mom, I do not time block all of my tasks on top of those working hours. Sometimes you can get your to do list on with your children and that's perfectly okay. I love that because it shows your children. It's a great teaching opportunity, right, to go to the grocery store with your kids. Sometimes my kids come with me whenever I go to the grocery story. I love to teach in that environment. Cleaning. I also do that with my children because I think it's an amazing teaching opportunity. I love what they're learning. I love that they gets to be involved with that. So there are some of these that I do with my children, but most of them these are specifically geared towards doing outside of the times when I'm working, either working as a mom or obviously I can't do these things when I am working in my job.
Now, I know that there are so many of you are like, oh, wow, this sounds great and everything. But I don't get home all the time. I get on time. What I have to say about that is I know we all have busy schedules. I do, too. I do, too. And I'm making this happen. I'm not a unicorn, not some random gem with some amazing opportunity to just have this miraculous schedule. I work. I am raising children. I have a small business that I'm running. My husband works like 60 hours a week. You can do this.
But I Have No Time!
The way that you find more time in your day is by getting rid of the fillers and the fluff that keep you from doing the hard things that should really be non-negotiable. All the priorities that we have in our life are pushed aside, not because we don't have time for them, but because we would rather fill our time with tasks that don't challenge us. Going to the gym. Losing that weight. Changing that diet that you really know you shouldn't be shoving these things in your face and depending on all of these substances that you depend on changing, that isn't because you don't have time....
It's because it's dang hard.
It is hard for me to do these things in my life every week because they take intention. They take work. They take energy. They take discipline. They take discipline. You guys seriously. You need to be in a space where you are ready to cut the crap; where you're ready to stop the excuses. I know you guys have a million reasons as to why you have a zero time for date night or personal time, but. This is my soapbox. You are currently making time for other things. Everybody has the same 24 hours in the day. Everybody has the same 24 hours in a day. And what we choose to do with it is our own.
I know....I know that you are choosing more time for social media than you should be. I am, and it sucks. I hate it. Everyone is using and consuming more social media than ever before in the history of Earth. You need to manage that. You also have instant access to binge watching any show you've ever wanted on Netflix. And come on now with Disney+.
Let's get out of here. I'm obsessed. You guys. I love it. You mean I can listen to The Little Mermaid sing her favorite song? I can sing my favorite song with Little Mermaid twelve times a day like I did when I was a little girl. Bless this life.
....And I have to be disciplined! I have to cut it off. Let me talk about this.
Where Does My Time Really Go?
Social media and technology: the addiction that we all want to say we don't have is there. I am being extremely cognizant of this in my own life right now because I have little eyes watching me every day, more so than the time suck that it is. It is teaching my children to grow up into humans that I don't want them to become.
How to manage your screen time usage:
settings >> screen time
You can set screen time limits, app limits, either one of those that will literally make it so inconvenient for you to access any of your social media or a little literally can shut down your screen time altogether so that you can focus. You can allow yourself to only have screen time for two hours a day. You can 100 percent set your phone to only allow incoming phone calls all day long except for a window of time that you want to be able to be on social media or to open your emails or whatever that might look like.
So I'm sitting down right now on and figuring out what is a decent amount that I consider reasonable and that I consider healthy for operating a podcast and an Instagram account and online business. And my work also comes through via email. And finding that healthy boundary with me so that I can set up those limits.
This is the number one go to spot that I coach people in finding more time in your day. Your screen time usage without a shadow of a doubt is at least two hours a day. Unless you are already managing this in your phone and in your mind, every minute of the day, you have at least two hours every single day that you were on your phone and that time can completely be dedicated somewhere else.
I hope you guys know that there is some need for moderating how you are utilizing your phone. It's an awesome space to be able to connect with each other and I love it for what it is. But we also needs to be very mindful of what we're doing with our time in our day so that we can look back in a week, in a month and year in five and ten years from now and be satisfied and content. And not only that, but just in the day today, we can feel less stressed and we can be less anxious. If you look at the moments when you're feeling stressed and anxious, I know that a lot of those moments, it's because I'm trying to send an email while my kids are talking to me. It doesn't have to be that way.
Tips For Success
Time blocking these fundamental tasks into your life should be a core part of what you do. They absolutely need to be non-negotiable and a focal point every single week. I promise you, it will significantly reduce the amount of stress and anxiety that you feel. Remember that this is an evolving set of needs. As seasons in our lives change, our needs do, too.