Tag Archives: time management

The Ultimate Time Management Strategy – The 5 D’s

June 7, 2016


Would you like to find out how you can more easily focus on the important people and activities in your life and easily dispense of the rest?   If so, you will want to learn about the time management system I learned about when I went to a real estate investment seminar in Dallas this past weekend.  You wouldn’t think that this would be the place to learn one of the most simple yet profoundly powerful time management techniques I’ve ever found, but it was.

A speaker named Beth Clifford, a mom and very successful real estate developer, shared this system.  She called it the 4 D’s, but I added an extra D based off of what she said.  I’m calling it the 5 D Method of Time Management. And here it is:

  1. Devote: Figure out what’s really important to do and devote an uninterrupted block of time to it.  Put out the literal or methaphoric “Do Not Disturb” sign and completely focus on the one important thing.#donotdisturbHow do you figure out what’s important to do?  When you’re dealing with a particular area of your life, ask yourself what one thing you could do that by doing so would make everything else easier or unnecessary?  That’s a great question for tasks.  At work, that one thing could be doing client calls or writing that one article.In your relationships, you could ask what one thing  you could do that by doing so would contribute most to making the relationship more loving and intimate?  In your marriage, that one thing could be a date night.  With your kids, it could mean spending time playing board games or reading aloud to them.Once you have it figured out, schedule a time for that activity and keep that time sacred.  No phone calls, social media, e-mails, other conversations allowed.  FOCUS entirely on the task at hand.
  2. Do It:  After you’re done with your Devote Time, there will be myriad other tasks that come to you.  The remaining 4 Ds will help you figure out how best to handle these tasks.The first of these is “Do It.”  If a task comes to your desk and it could easily be handled in 3 minutes or less, just do it.  Don’t wait on it and have it hanging over your head to steal your focus, attention, and brain power.
  3. delegationDelegate It: If it will take longer than 3 minutes and could or should be done by someone else delegate it.  Delegate it to your employee, co-worker, significant other, older child, etc.  Let someone else take care of it and then move on to someone else.  If you do delegate it, make a note to follow up to make sure it’s done though.
  4. Defer It: If it can’t be delegated and will take longer than 3 minutes, defer it until you can better focus on it.  The beautiful thing about focusing on the one thing in devote time, is that when you’re focused on the most important things you’ll realize that many lesser things never have to be done.
  5. Dump It: this is for tasks that don’t have to be done at all.  Just because someone asks it of you doesn’t mean you have to say yes.  Dump the fluff and you’ll find yourself with tons more time!

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @monickpaulhalm.

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How this Busy Mom found 14+ Extra Hours a Week

April 9, 2016


How this busy mom found 14+ Extra Hours Per WeekIn the Checklist Mom “Peace of Mind – On the Checklist” Training Program, our time-management program for moms, I talk about a powerful tool called tracking that helped me find an extra 14+ extra hours a week!

Tracking is merely writing down how you’re spending all the minutes of your day.  I set a timer on my phone and then track whatever I have been doing for the past 30-60 minutes whenever it goes off.

iPhone timerDoing this exercise is so powerful.  After doing it for just one week, it helped me easily find up 14+ extra hours a week!

Before I got married and had children, I had a pretty good handle on time. I worked a very demanding job as a law firm associate (usually 60+ hour weeks), I trained for triathlons (usually 2+ hour workouts per day), I had a busy social life, I volunteered with several organizations… I did A LOT during my week. People would often ask me “how do you do everything that you do???”  I wasn’t really sure, but without trying too hard, I managed to do it.

When I got pregnant and had my baby things dramatically changed. All of a sudden, I could barely cope with just working and taking care of the family. I thought it was sleep deprivation and the demands of taking care of another human being.  Those contributed, but not as much as I thought.  It wasn’t until I started tracking and taking a good hard look at how I was using my time that I realized what a major change I had unwittingly made during pregnancy.

Before I got married and moved in with my husband I didn’t have a television. I hadn’t owned one or watched TV for at least 10 years. Even after I moved in with him I still pretty much ignored it until I got pregnant.

During my first trimester though I was so exhausted the only thing I had energy for when I came home from work was watching TV. I didn’t even have the energy to go out or to read like I had previously done. When I got home from work I collapsed in a heap on the couch until I was on the brink of sleep. I then dragged my weary body to bed where I slept for the rest of the night.

Me during my pregnancy.

Me during my pregnancy.

After that first trimester my energy started coming back, but I continued watching TV. I, my husband, and step-kids had gotten hooked on some TV shows. We all watched as a family and it felt very bonding. The TV came on after homework and generally stayed on until after bedtime. I didn’t feel like I watched “that much” TV, but when I actually tracked my time usage, I realized that I was watching 2 – 4 hours of TV per day! That’s 14 – 28 hours per week!! No wonder I’d been so much more productive before I got pregnant and had my daughter! I thought it was motherhood that screwed with my time.  The big issue wasn’t the kid. The issue was that I was now spending all those hours on my butt watching the tube.

When I became conscious of where my time was going, I decided that I preferred how I used my time before TV. I stopped watching TV for the most part and went back to reading books (one of my great loves), painting, going to networking activities, spending more quality time with the family, volunteering, putting more focus into my business, and other activities.

By doing this, I suddenly found time for things I had the hardest time fitting in before. I’ll still watch the occasional movie with my family but for the most part, my time doesn’t go to TV. I also cut out some other activities that were sucking my time and energy, but TV was the main one for me.

Something happens when you get conscious of what you’re actually doing with your time. I’m going to guess that if time is a problem for you, then you probably have little sense of where exactly your time is currently going.

I suggest that you start tracking.  It will show you clearly how you’re currently using your time – you will be able to make conscious decisions. These conscious decisions will allow you to feel more productive and will help you get rid of the stress, drama and guilt. You will probably choose to let go of activities and even some people that drain you. You will choose to say “No” to some people and you probably won’t be able to please everyone. But you’ll be pleasing yourself and that’s what’s great.

Tracking is just one tip in the powerful 10+ lessons of the Checklist Mom “Peace of Mind-On the Checklist” Training Program.

Checklist Mom - Peace of Mind - On the Checklist Training ProgramIt’s a program created by a mom (yours truly) for moms; has lessons that are super simple and quick to implement, is made to work with the powerful and free Checklist Mom app, is guaranteed to find you 3+ extra hours per week of guilt-free, stress-free, drama-free time for YOU to do with as YOU want, AND is on sale for a limited time.

If you’re interested in finding out more check it out HERE.

In the meantime, if you feel like time is a challenge for you try tracking your time and see what happens.  In my experience and the experience of my students is’s magical.  Let me know how it goes!

Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and careers.  She’s a busy mom and stepmom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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4 Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Moms

March 29, 2016


4 Time-Saving Hacks for Busy Moms

Regardless if you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom… I’m going to say that staying on top of all the things you need to do is one of the biggest balancing acts of our lives! I went to college and law school and that was way easier than being a mom!

Sometimes I think there should be a parade for us moms because we are pretty amazing human beings. Oh well. I digress. Today I want to discuss what it takes to stay active and stay organized. These are pretty unconventional ideas, but they work!

Put Your Kids in Their Clothes Before Bed

Put clothes on babyThis is an idea from my sister-in-law.  This may sound weird but it can save you so much time. After you take your kid out of their evening bath, put on their clothes that they’re going to be wearing tomorrow. This way, when they wake up, all you need to do is brush their hair a little bit or brush their teeth and you’re off! Talk about hassle free. The idea is to train your kids and yourself to be ready and active right when the day starts!

She says you can do the same for you! Don’t wear your work clothes in bed, but you can wear your workout clothes. This way when you wake up you can quickly go for a run or just workout before you get the day started.

I said this is my sister-in-law’s idea.  This doesn’t work for me because like my husband my youngest is not a morning person.  (It not applicable to my two other kids because the oldest is in college and the next one graduated from high school and is pursuing acting and music.)  If my 7-year old were more like my niece and nephew this would be great.  She never pops out of bed ready to go though.  In the morning she drags herself to the bath and sits semi-comatose for about 20 minutes before she starts to wake up, soaps herself up and gets dressed.  By the time she’s dressed 30-40 minutes later she’s awake and ready to be off.

What we do is gather her clothes and have what she’s going to wear laid out the night before.  This saves time in the morning from having to pick clothes and helps us save time in the morning.  I also like to gather my workout clothes and lay them out before bed.  Whilst we do sleep in pajamas, having those clothes ready to go in the morning definitely is a time- and stress-saver.

Create a Hassle Free Lunch!


Photo by Kathleen Franklin on Flickr.  CC 2.0

Once or twice a week it is best to bring a child or two in the kitchen and help you prep your family’s weekly lunch meals. All you need to do is cook some food and store it in Tupperware containers (one for each family member). This allows your hands to be free for the rest of the week! It also gives you more time to workout or get to other pesky errands you had planned in your day.

We also prep lunches the night before.  That way, in the morning you need only grab and go.

Write a Nightly To-Do List

You never ever want to go to bed blind. This means that right before you go to bed you should take an index card, a small piece of paper, or your smart phone and note down a few things that you want / need to accomplish for the next day. This way you know exactly what needs to be done when you wake up. It helps lessen confusion and puts you on track.

Photo by David D on Flickr. CC 2.0

Assign Weekly Chores

It’s really cool to assign your family weekly / daily chore assignments. For example, in my house, my husband is assigned to put all the laundry in the washer every Tuesday night. And, I’ve assigned myself to put it into the dryer every Wednesday morning. And, we have it assigned that ever Wednesday night we fold the clothes together.

We’re now doing this with cooking, cleaning, and even gardening. The kids have their chores too.  This way everyone is accountable to making sure that the family life is going well for anyone: a family who works together stays together.

I understand that these tips could be a little unconventional. But we live in the 21st century and it’s time that every single person in the family should hold some sort of responsibility to make sure that Moms are given the proper support to stay active and organized! The family unit is even stronger when the mother is happy and rested. 😀

What are your tips for finding time and staying balanced?  Please share in the comments below

 Monick HalmMonick Paul Halm is the Chief Creative Officer at the Checklist Mom.  She has made it her mission to empower women and moms to thrive in their lives, families, and career choices.  She’s a busy mom of 3, certified life and career coach, author, speaker, and real estate investor.  She’s a wearer of many hats, and juggler of many duties and loves connecting with our moms.  You can connect with her on the Checklist Mom Facebook Page and on twitter as @thereikicoach.

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How Being More Selfish Could Make You a Better Mom

February 24, 2016


snappa-1456021298This morning at my Weight Watchers meeting, this mom of twins burst out crying because she couldn’t find the time to work the Weight Watchers program.  She had been successful before kids, but now that she had kids and “she was her last priority” she couldn’t find time to make the program work for her.  How could she exercise/track/eat healthy meals while still being the best mom she could be?

My heart broke for her and I went to speak to her after the meeting.  I left her with these questions:  What would happen if you put yourself and your health first?  What kind of mom are you being if you’re unhappy and unhealthy?

I wanted to tell her the story of my mom.  It feels very vulnerable to share this, but I’m going to share it here because it’s the reason that I’m so passionate about helping moms find time for themselves.

my family when we lived in the Ivory Coast. I'm the little one trying to eat my hand.

My family when we lived in the Ivory Coast, and life was still relatively peaceful.

This story didn’t start out too happily, if I have to be honest. When I was very little we lived in Ivory Coast.  My family moved to the United States when I was 5.  My mom got a pretty good job at the World Bank as an administrative assistant, but for a long time my dad could not find work.  My mother was the only breadwinner for a family of 5 (soon it became 6 when my little sister was born one year after we moved).

At that time, my mom’s habit was to put herself last.  She did not take time to deal with her health or her happiness, and she was miserable.  My memories of her at that time were of a raging banshee – furious and frustrated at everything.  My dad did eventually get a job, but he was definitely underemployed for his level of education.  My mom remained miserable and very ill-tempered.

I understand now it must have been incredibly stressful for her, but as a young girl all I understood was that this screaming, angry, stressed out woman scared me.  I turned to my dad for nurturing and support.  With my mom, I just tried to stay out of her way and her temper.

When I was 12, my parents separated.  My brothers lived with my dad and my sister and I lived with my mom.  Something miraculous happened during that separation.  My mother went to therapy and she learned something.  She learned to prioritize herself.  She started to get her hair and nails done regularly.  She joined Weight Watchers (funny how things come full circle) and started working out.  She lost 50 lbs and looked great, but more importantly she became happy.  The wonderful woman she was underneath all that frustration and anger (because other people weren’t doing what she wanted them to do to make her happy), came out when she realized that other people couldn’t make her happy. That was her job.  When she became more selfish about ensuring her needs were met first, she became a way better mom.  She was more loving, patient, and better able to meet our needs.

After a year and a half my parents reconciled.  They were and still are happier than ever.  Their separation was almost 30 years ago and they’ll be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this November.  They’re more in love now than ever, and all four of us kids are incredibly close with our mom.

snappa-1456035005From my experience observing my mom’s transformation, I learned the truth of “Happy Mom, Happy Family.”  I think it’s CRITICAL that moms take time to ensure their needs are met – they need to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled to pass that on to their kids.  Sometimes the most selfless thing you can do is be selfish enough to ensure your needs are met.

Finding time to do what YOU want and need to do to make sure you’re happy and healthy, is a great way to be the best mom you can be.  That’s why I’m so excited about our Checklist Mom “Peace of Mind – On the Checklist” Training Program.  It’s our program GUARANTEED to find busy moms 3+ extra hours of extra time for themselves.  For a limited time, we’re offering our beta version for a very, very special price.  Click here to find out more and to register.


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