Guest Guru Carley Knobloch, Founder, Mothercraft

Moms, Go Ninja to Get It All Done.

We thought we had it bad during our pre-kid life, dealing with difficult clients, finding time to exercise and enduring long work days. Then we had kids, and our career was a cakewalk compared to the intellectual, emotional and physical demands of motherhood. When it comes to things like organization and time management, moms need to learn all-new skills to keep up with it all— even the very best Day Planner doesn’t do you much good if you’re making an appointment while feeding a baby and entertaining a toddler! If the idea of being calm, balanced and organized seems as far fetched as a good night’s sleep, rest assured— you don’t have to be super-human or “perfect” to regain control (news flash: there’s no such thing). It’s just a matter of learning some Ninja-Mom skills, and being intentional about how you use your most precious resource— time.

I started Mothercraft, my life coaching company for moms, as a way to help moms deal with managing work, home and relationships while raising fantastic children. Born out of the chaos that ensued when I left my career and became a “Homie” (that’s Mothercraft-speak for stay-at-home-mom!). I loved being home with my kids, but was stunned by my inability to get anything done, or keep my life organized! I often found myself looking in the mirror and thinking, ‘Who the heck is this puffy-eyed woman? And what has she done with the old me?’

I’ve developed many “Ninja Mom” tricks that I share with my clients, and here are a few that help me feel good, get things done, and stay organized.

Tame your inner over achiever.

Motherhood is messy, uncertain, and bewildering… and all before breakfast! Anyone looking for a perfect score better find another game to play, because there is no “right way” to do this job. If your idea of success is never, EVER making a mistake, get over it— you’ll be missing opportunities to try and fail, learn and grow. Celebrate your achievements at the end of the day (journaling is a great way to do this), focusing on what you did get done, not what you didn’t. There’s a lot to learn from getting it wrong, and some beautiful teachable moments (for you and your child) come from big mess-ups.

Set your own deadlines.

Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law? He observed that, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion.” Not news to most moms, who know that some dishes can take a week to wash if you allow them to. Life with kids doesn’t come with the client expectations or overbearing bosses of the workplace, so if a mom wants to get stuff done, she’s got to be fierce about setting deadlines and holding herself to them. Be clear about what you intend to accomplish, and then give that goal a “time stamp”. Writing your goals down makes them more “real” and is a major success-booster. Look at your list every day, it will keep you on track!

Beware of Screen Suck.

“I’m just going to check my email,” said the well-intentioned mom. Three YouTube videos, twenty Tweets and one Scrabble match later and— poof! There goes an hour (and she never did get to that email). TVs, PDAs, iPods, computers… they’re all out to steal your day from you. Remedy your time crunch with a low-information diet. That means limiting your TV intake, being selective about your magazine subscriptions, getting intentional about WHAT you need to do on the computer (and what you don’t!) and keeping your Blackberry-checking to a minimum. I get my morning headlines on NPR after carpool, and skip the morning shows. You’ll be surprised at how little you miss that barrage of stimulation, and how much it frees you to focus on what’s really important.

Channel Your Inner Martha.

Even the most tedious domestic tasks needn’t be uninspired. Indulge with beautiful things to enhance your chores, like lavender-scented dryer sheets or a pot of fresh herbs on your kitchen counter. These little things can magically transform your mindset and make the day-to-day drudgery a little more pleasant. I mix my own glass cleaner out of equal parts vinegar and water, and then add grapefruit essential oils— it’s eco-friendly, economical, and most importantly, it brightens the menial work of fingerprint removal.

Eat Breakfast.

Moms, you know you’ve made it to the big leagues of time management when you can make yourself breakfast in the morning. I’m not suggesting eggs benedict and mimosas, but please— something a little more nutritious than a scarfing a handful of leftover Cheerios on the way to the minivan! There’s nothing more transformative to my energy level, my mood and my ability to get things done than to feed my body in the morning. Remember: You’d never send your child to school without a nutritious breakfast, so why deprive yourself?

Try the smoothie I sip while I’m packing lunches (almost) every morning:

“Where’s My Backpack!?” Smoothie

1 scoop Rice Protein Powder
1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
1 Banana
½ cup. Frozen Berries
1 tsp. Flax Seed Oil

Carley Knobloch is the founder of Mothercraft: Coaching the Modern Mom. Carley is obsessed with empowering moms to find careers they love and create systems to organize their overwhelm. Her free program, The Juicebox, provides simple weekly tips on how to simplify your life and manage the chaos. To become a member, go to http://www.juiceboxtips.com.