Boundaries are healthy because they help us know where someone ends/something ends and where we begin. They are also great to help us set family rules, protect our values, and those things that are important to us.
Have you ever wished you had more time in your day? More time for yourself? Do you ever go to bed at night exhausted but wonder what you’ve done all day?
The word “Boundary” has become a buzzword you’ve probably heard used a lot but a simple way to explain it is “where I end and someone else begins”. In the dictionary, it says that a boundary is a line that marks the limit of an area.
Boundaries help us define what is not our “area” and what is our responsibility.
I want to show you how to use time blocking to help you hold your boundaries and limits as a mom. One of the beautiful things about time blocking is that we assign tasks to different blocks of our day.
So if you’re son tells you on Monday that his favorite cereal is gone you’ll now have a boundary limit response. With your time blocking system set up you can say, “Thanks for letting me know. I get groceries on Wednesday afternoon so I will grab some then.” Where maybe before you would’ve said, “I’ll get some tonight after dinner.” and changed whatever you had already planned for that evening.
Sometimes it feels like you’re being selfish or rude to set boundaries but here’s the thing people who don’t have boundaries are the ones who think you’re being selfish. And guess what you’re not responsible for how they feel.
Sometimes we think others should know not to ask us to do something but it’s not the job of others to protect or hold your boundaries for you–that’s your job. Time blocking allows you to protect your boundaries and say no when needed.
How To Use Time Blocking to Hold Your Boundaries & Limits as a Mom
- Know your values. Our beliefs dictate our values, and our values dictate our actions. For example, if I strongly believe in regular family connection beyond bedtime prayers then I will value family meals or family activities where we are connecting. This will in turn be demonstrated in my actions by how I make space each week to connect with my family and not overextend our schedule.
Write down your 5 values that have high priority in your life. What is it you spend your time, energy, and money on? If you need some guidance with discovering your values just fill out this FORM and I can help you.
When you know your values you can state more clearly your boundaries on what is acceptable and not acceptable to you. If you need help discovering your values I’d love to help you in this process.
2. Learn to say no. It will be easier to say no when those opportunities, activities, ideas, purchases, and even gifts don’t align with your values. Those are the things that you can say no to because you’ve already decided what’s important. If you’re on the fence about something take it to God and ask Him for guidance.
Because we value regular family connection time beyond bedtime prayers then we intentionally make space in our schedule to do just that throughout our week. So extracurricular activities are limited in our house. They aren’t eliminated but simply balanced and weighted with the rest of our family schedule. So when my son asked if he could join a club in our community that potentially meant one or two meet-ups a week. We knew that it would stretch us too thin. It was hard to say no because we loved what the club teaches and their values. We could’ve made it work and squeezed it in but it wasn’t going against what we had already defined that makes our family thrive: time together and rest. So we said “no” for this season. Having routines, schedules, and our values defined helped us decide on our “best yes!”
We like to think we don’t have limits but as humans, we are not an endless fountain overflowing with energy in our day but we are more like a bank account. Everything we say “yes” to is ultimately a withdrawal from our “time bank”. Sometimes we make withdrawals when there is nothing left in the bank so we end up with an overdraft. Living in the negative is never so when this happens we need to make deposits of “rest & margin”.
3. Prioritize- Figure out what is important and has to be done each day. I use the time blocking system below to help me prioritize. At the beginning of each week, I make a brain declutter list. I write everything I need to that week and then I prioritize it.
4. Time Blocking- Is an efficient way to discover freedom in your schedule as a mother is by finding a routine that works for you and gives your time back. Time blocking is simple to utilize and not rigid giving you some freedom in your day. You can download this FREE time block printable Click here–> Daily Block Schedule (1)
Now that you’ve looked at your values and priorities you’re hopefully able to see what is driving you. Instead of feeling like a hamster on a hamster wheel just checking off items on your to-do list you can start feeling like there is a purpose to your day because your day is being driven by the values and beliefs that bring you peace. Yes, there will be miscellaneous things that get thrown in but your day and week shouldn’t be filled with miscellaneous.
Time blocking involves breaking up your day in 2-5 hour increments based on your schedule. So come up with about 5 blocks to break your day. Then Name Your Blocks-– I would stick to 7 blocks or less. You can divide your blocks into things like: morning, mid-morning, lunch, afternoon, and evening. If you work you can have morning, work, lunch, work, family, night. Do whatever works for your season of life but don’t use too many blocks.
Also, you only want to have one block schedule for your week. You don’t want to create a block schedule for each day. The beauty of block scheduling is the routine that is developed. And routines are what make habits stick. If you create more than 2 block schedules it will be hard to create a routine and it won’t be successful.
Now fill each block with the list of things you regularly need to accomplish in your week. Below I share how I broke it down into 7 blocks but it can be fewer blocks. I work from home so that is why you see “work” as two of my blocks. The blocks and tasks will look different for everyone since all of our schedules and commitments vary from family to family. The tasks in each block are the guidelines that will help you set boundaries in your day. Sometimes there are miscellaneous things that come up and that’s fine you just go with the flow.
For example last week I had to take my son’s car to get inspected which took up my whole morning. That was not something that I had no control over so I just went with the flow. I accepted this particular morning I would not be having my low-key morning. But because I had already prioritized what needed to be done that day I was able to make those things happen and let go of those things that had more flexibility. That gave me peace of mind.
- Morning 6:30-9:30
Exercise, Read, Breakfast, Connect with God, 5-minute clean-up(dishes, floors), meal plan
- Work 9:30-11:30
Write, clients, course work, teach
last 30 minutes check email and phone use
Lunch 11:30-12:30 – Eat, connect with friends (in-person or online), read
- Work 12:30-2:00p.m.
Work, grocery shopping, errands, dinner prep
- Afterschool 2:00-5:00
Kid pick-up, help with homework, connect with kids, lessons
while kids are doing screen time, outdoor playtime- finish up loose ends at work, laundry in wash, relax
- Family 5-9
dinner, showers, house walk-through, get a load of laundry in the dryer, connect with God as a family
- Night 9-10:30
relax, watch a show, catch up with spouse, lights out by 10:30 no screens
I don’t know about you but even with being very intentional about my phone time, it’s still one of my big distractions. The reality my devices give me access to a plethora of information but also they give others open access to me. I can basically get contacted through text, messenger, email, whatsapp, a call, and then there’s social media.
So imagine if I’m tending to those notifications all day then they would constantly disrupt me from my productive morning hour. So I’ve set up a time to answer emails and messages in my time block. Because my morning time is when I get the most done I do not reply to messages unless it’s an emergency. It doesn’t always work out this way but that’s my rule of thumb. So I have removed the notifications off my phone so they don’t control me but instead I control when I give them access to me.
There’s a great verse in Proverbs 4:23 that says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” When we set up healthy boundaries we are learning to guard our hearts. We can’t assume others will keep our boundaries for us so we have to make sure to guard them ourselves.
I’d love to come alongside you and offer guidance and encouragement if you find that you’re struggling with feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and like you have no time for what’s really important in your life.
You’ll get for free the “From Overwhelmed to Purposeful” workbook that outlines each step in detail of the time blocking system plus you’ll get personalized tips and support to help you execute your goals from me. Fill out this FORM here to set up a coaching session. Here’s more information on my coaching.