Organization · Work / Life Balance

Systems to organize your time | calendars, lists, and planners

This post about time management systems is part of my series on reducing decision fatigue – especially for busy working moms!  Check out the other posts here: How to Plan Ahead & Reduce Decision Fatigue for Busy Working Moms


Plan your work and work your plan! Time management tips and resources for working moms | calendars, lists, & planners

Whether a working mom, stay at home (SAHM) mom, or something in between, we all need a time management system.  If you feel like you’re constantly running on empty, you might need to take a second look at your routines and planning.  I’ve been working hard to organize our family activities and household chores, and it’s made a world of difference in my stress level!

Set goals

Before you can get in the nitty gritty of weekly or even daily time management, you need to craft some goals.  These can be goals for housework (deep clean the ____ ), family fun planning, or seasonal activities you want to do.  I have a cleaning list with monthly goals.  It’s not set in stone when I do the big stuff, but my goal is to cut my dog’s hair once a month.  I keep that in mind as I’m making my plan each week and carve out some time to do that.  I also make a bucket list seasonally with fun things I want to do (check out my summer and fall bucket lists).  If not, the days and weeks just fly by and we never do the fun stuff I had in mind.

Weekly reset

With my goals in mind, it’s critical for me to do a weekly reset.  If I don’t do this step, then I feel like I’m winging it all week long and it is absolutely exhausting.  I simply take a few minutes to jot down any activities for the week, things that have to get done, cleaning goals, and meal plans.

If I’m feeling artsy, I’ll go a bullet journal route or just make a simple list. This takes maybe 15 minutes (tops!).  Pro tip: stop recreating the wheel, and make your own weekly template in a printable format or on Google Sheets / Docs.

Make a list

Women are hard-wired to think constantly about everything.  One way I cut down on decision fatigue and mental exhaustion is making lists as needed.  I have about a zillion notebooks and like physical to do lists, but if digital is more your style, then go that route.  What’s on my lists?

  • Errands for the week
  • Gifts to buy (Christmas planning all year)
  • New recipes to try
  • Grocery list
  • Craft ideas
  • Blog post ideas

I think in list-style and getting these ideas out of my head and on paper is like a brain dump.


I tend to over-plan or come up with more ideas than I can really accomplish.  If you don’t prioritize what needs to be done, then you’re likely to forget or overlook the most critical items on your to-do list.

Let it go

Queue the Frozen soundtrack.  Once you’ve made your list of things to do, you’ve got to learn to let go of the unimportant tasks.  Repeat after me: you can’t do it all.  You can probably attempt to do it all, but you’ll kill yourself in the process and really lack time for proper self-care.

Rework it

Even the best-laid plans can fall apart.  If a new activity comes up, or there’s a shift, just rework your plan.  It’s never set in stone, so be flexible and adjust as needed.  Push things to the next week, outsource where you can, and don’t sacrifice time for yourself to make everything happen.

There you have it!  Stop doing ineffective multi-tasking in your brain and make a plan.  You’ll find that you reduce decision fatigue and have more time for what really matters.  I don’t live to clean my house or make dinner, or work, and I’m going to make a plan that reflects that!  Want more time management organization tips?  Check out some of my favorites on my organization Pinterest board: