I’ve never met a Mom who isn’t tired. It’s tough to get things done when we’re exhausted. Yet we also have SO MUCH we need to do! This post talks about how to compromise and get things done (or rest!) so you move forward on your to-do’s without overdoing it.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! You can subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Is It Okay to Take the Day Off?
Every Sunday morning I love to wake up early. This is the time I dedicate each week to my podcast. I wake up, usually when it’s still dark out, go downstairs and write an outline or record an episode.
I love this time. It’s usually uninterrupted because the kids are asleep. It feels amazing to get a ton of work done before most people have put their feet on the floor.
BUT, the day always goes south when I wake up late.
Last Sunday I was tired. I wanted (needed!) to sleep. So I did. I slept in instead of doing the many items on my to-do list.
Getting a very late start made me feel behind the whole day. I was frazzled and concerned about not getting “enough” done.
I told my husband how I was feeling and his response was: “It’s okay to take the day off!”
Does a Day Off Exist?
I thought a lot about what he said. As Moms, we don’t think that taking the day off is an option. There are little people to take care of. The fridge to fill (and clean!). The tasks are endless. What Mom can take a day off?
But every week, I do take the day off.
For me, Saturdays are a day of rest. I often do nothing on this day. I don’t do laundry or clean.
But what I call a day “off” and doing “nothing” actually includes a lot of work. For example, I say that on Saturdays I do nothing, but this isn’t really true.
- I’m taking care of kids
- Getting food on the table
- Cleaning up the food
- Taking care of kids (repeat)
- I often go to the grocery store on Saturday night.
- Then I’m taking care of kids…and putting the food away…
So even when we do “nothing,” we’re actually doing a WHOLE lot!
Limit How Much You’re Doing
As a Mom, there’s no such thing as doing nothing.
But I do encourage you to limit how much you’re doing if you’re feeling tired and run-down.
So often we force ourselves to do things. It’s really because we have no choice.
- The laundry needs to get done
- The family needs to eat
- You’ve got to get the kids to school or yourself to work.
Getting these things done may not be optional.
As Moms, we’re really great at forcing ourselves to do things. Because we HAVE to be great at it. Many time we simply don’t have a choice.
But in our attempts to knock stuff off our to-do list, we often lose sight of what tasks are critical and which can wait a bit.
So I encourage you, if you’re feeling run down, please take it easy and don’t force yourself to get optional things done on your to-do list.
If you have a complicated dinner planned, change your plans and instead make something easier (or even frozen convenience foods or “breakfast for dinner”).
Don’t Force Yourself
When you force yourself to do things when you’re exhausted, nothing good comes out of it. Nothing.
You end up exhausting and depleting yourself. Sure, you get the “thing” done, but what about later that evening? How will you help your kids with their homework if you’re already totally wiped from earlier in the day?
Instead, when you feel exhausted, consider doing the following:
- Find the easiest way to do something (ex. make peanut butter + jelly for dinner)
- Eliminate the “to do” item (ex. ask your husband to make dinner)
- Rest and then do it (lie down for 15 minutes with your eyes closed. Then when you feel a little better, make dinner)
Most days, many of us Moms are tired. We don’t have the energy to get a lot done.
But we also want to make progress on all those to-do’s that are rolling around in our heads.
How do you both? How do you rest when you’re tired but STILL move forward on things that need to be done so that tomorrow things aren’t a mess?
Here’s my compromise.
If you’re tired but not totally wiped, work on making a tiny bit of progress.
NOTE: This next part isn’t for you if you’re totally wiped. If you feel like you have to pass out from exhaustion, please find a way to rest! Only use the information below if you feel dragging but still have a bit of energy.
Create a List but Keep it Easy
Every day I set up my prioritized to-list for the day (which I call my GEMS). To help move forward, I try to do a minimum of at least these things. This list isn’t a large list. It’s 3 things + self care.
➡️ See my post here on how to set up your daily priority list.
G is related to a goal I’m working on. E is something that will ease my mind (like a bill that needs to pay). M is a micro action (like putting away 5 things in the kitchen and S is self-care.
On the days I’m exhausted, I pick something really small and easy for each of these areas.
Example of a Doable, Easy List
Here is an example of how I compromise and make an easy to-do list on days I feel exhausted. I don’t force myself to work beyond my energy level, but I find easy things I can manage to do, despite being tired. This helps me move forward with my to-do list yet still not over-do it.
G (GOAL) – if I’m tired, instead of working an hour on my goal of cleaning out the garage, instead I’ll spend 5 minutes on it. I’m still making a bit of progress and keeping the momentum going, but I give myself ease while still making progress.
See how I’m honoring my exhaustion but I’m still doing at least a little something so that I make life easier for myself in the future?
E (EASE MIND) – When exhausted, I choose something tiny that’s been bothering me. Last week I was exhausted and my inbox was insane. My ease-mind task was to read just ONE email that I knew would take a lot of time to read. Just one!!
M (Microaction) – This usually doesn’t change if I’m exhausted or not exhausted since it’s designed to be so simple, it’s easy.
I’ll give you an example. Last week my microaction was to clean off my dresser.
I was EXHAUSTED and I had a day off work. I think I cleaned off a total of 10 items. It was easy but it made me feel so much better since it was just a bit cleaner in my room.
S (Self-care) – This one is very very important if you’re exhausted. Focus on the self-care you NEED to recover.
- Do you need a nap? Can you ask your hubby to watch kids for 20 minutes so you can close your eyes?
- Sometimes my self-care on exhausted days is to put my phone in another room so I have a break from screens.
Really think about what self-care you need to recover. This is very important and most people gloss over this.
Tune Inward To See What You Need
If you’re tired and feeling run down, don’t force yourself to do as much as you’d do on a day you feel energized. That’s not good for you. Your body needs to rest!
Those days, you may need to let your whole to-do list go and do nothing. And that’s absolutely fine!
But if you feel up to it, you can do a compromise.
Do a little bit on your to-do list so you create ease for yourself. Even doing just a few things on your to-do list will make a huge difference.
A compromise is a great option so you can keep getting things done but not do so much that you exhaust yourself even more.