How I Stay Organized as a Working Mom


One of the questions I get asked most often is how I stay so organized. At the risk of sounding like I’ve completely got it all together (no one does!), I do feel as though I’ve built a system that allows me to keep everything moving smoothly.

Before I dig in, I want to start with my personal why. One of the phrases I feel is true for me, is outer order, inner calm. I have a really hard time staying calm if things feel disorganized. The more that I have things in order, the more I can find space to enjoy my family. It allows me to be a better leader at my day job, create space for my coaching/community work, and prioritize my creativity.

To be clear, my organization process is not about perfectionism and more about feeling like I have a healthy amount of control over my time and energy. With that, here are the tools/methods/processes I use to stay organized as a full-time working mom.

Create a Central Source of Truth

I have spent years obsessing over finding the perfect planner, calendar, and way to track my time and tasks. For the past few years, I have consistently used The Day Designer. Beyond the aesthetically pleasing look – which I do think is important – the tools within are extremely helpful. I use this planner for my entire life – which includes my day job, my mom job, and everything in between.

I use other time/task tools as well. A physical calendar in our kitchen tracks family activities, important dates, and must-knows. Google Suite helps me keep my coaching and writing work organized. Outlook and Basecamp are what I use at my day job. That said, my planner is the central source of truth and the place where I make sure everything I need to know is. Consistency is key. The moment something becomes true – a task is required, a playdate scheduled, a birthday remembered – it goes directly into the planner. I eventually put it in other places as well, but the importance of having one place is critical.

Organize Healthy Habits

While I wish I would simply remember to prioritize all of the healthy habits that I want to keep, I can’t. Instead, I have built a system that allows me to do so. I use the app Streaks to track the well-being-related tasks that are most important to me. To be really specific, I use this app to track the following: # of daily steps, minutes spent meditating, # of yoga/strength/spin sessions per week, my Apple Watch activity ring completions, time spent on my acupressure mat, # of baths + “Spa Moments” each week, my daily vitamins, reading, writing, organizing something on my list (more on that), letters sent to loved ones, check-ins with friends, and gratitude notes.

I know, it might sound like a lot but it has helped me become incredibly intentional in making space for these things. And these are all things that I want to have as part of my life. The tracking, reminders, and gamification of this system help me stay focused and on track.

Build a House List

It feels like I have a million projects that I want to get done around the house, and in the past, I have focused on either what is directly in front of me, or what seems to be easiest to complete. What that process didn’t allow for, is focusing on what’s actually most important.

So I created a spreadsheet in Google Sheets that outlines every single room in the house (as well as the outside), and includes the following for each: To Organize, To Fix, To Buy, and To Do (read: miscellaneous). It also rates things by priority-level, expected costs (if a fix/buy), owner (my husband or I), and amount of time expected. The last one is probably the most important, as it forces me to take a guess at how long something will take. And usually, when I actually consider it – it’s less time than I would think about in the moment.

Weekly Three

With all of the above habits in mind, the most important thing I do each week is to name my “Top Three”. Every Monday morning, once I’ve dropped the kids at school and sat down with my coffee, I make three categories (obviously, in my planner!). Work, Home, Passions. In each, I write the three most important things that I want to accomplish in that week. For example, in my passions category for this week I wrote: write a Central Mass Mom post (!), re-format my coaching contract template, and finish two books. On the home list, I think about the week ahead and mark things like a family fun day. Then, I’ll look at my House List and pull 1-2 things from it. After I have my top three in each category, I schedule them in. They are non-negotiable and more important than other tasks.

Other Helpful Tools

There are a few other organizational tools/hacks that I love to use. For tracking our expenses, we use Rocket Money (formerly True Bill). This has been most helpful in seeing our financial picture across all accounts and noting unwanted/forgotten about subscriptions.

I leverage the iPhone Notes app for a lot of things – noting blog post ideas, drafting social media content, and writing our usual take-out orders that can easily be shared with my husband if he’s ordering. I purposefully follow many social media accounts that are focused on organization – I love finding new ideas and inspiration for ways to better organize everything.

Sometimes, Let It All Go

Like all best laid plans, sometimes I do absolutely none of the above. This most often happens when I am really sick (#daycaregerms), injured (which is more often than it should be!), or just totally burned out. On those occasional days or weeks, I do almost none of the above. This helps me in two ways. First, it allows me that space and grace to heal and take care of myself when things are off track. And, it takes some of the pressure off of keeping up on my tools/habits without error, knowing that sometimes I won’t get it all done. It’s about continuously getting better, and focusing on what’s most important to me.

I’d love to hear – what tools do YOU use to stay organized?


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