By KJ Edwards

Along with the new year comes the attempts to be our better selves, aka resolutions. And while MyBrownBaby colleague, Ida Harris, dropped a list of things we should all leave behind in 2017, some of us are carrying self-sabotage forward. I’m looking at you, SIS. 2017 was real—real depressing, real taxing, real hectic, especially for Black women. Yup, it was a real shit show. On the micro level, taking care of yourself, your family, your home, and career are responsibilities that break down into dozens of smaller, time consuming, tasks. So allow me to share a few ideas I’ve picked up to help manage them all and possibly keep your shit together.

Set reminders: sync your alerts with phone calendars, wall calendars or day planners, to stay on top of doctor’s appointments, car maintenance, and school breaks for the kids (most school districts have a yearlong calendar on their website). Acknowledge reminders a week before an upcoming event and again at least a day or two beforehand. Doing so eliminates last minute chaos.

Plan your meals: I’m not talking about setting a weeks worth of adult lunchables in the fridge (which seems to be all the rage these days). I’m talking plan out which days you will cook, have leftovers or order take-out. Here’s an example:

  • Monday leftovers from Sunday dinner.
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Wednesday home cooked meal.
  • Thursday leftovers from Wednesday.
  • Friday take-out.

Seasoning your food in advance can help eliminate cleanup and preparation time during weekday cooking. Apps like Tasty include detailed ingredient lists that make meal prep a breeze.

Lay out your slay: No more beating morning time, trying to remember where you dropped your blazer. Select and iron your clothes for the week. That way, you have several outfit to choose from to suit your mood and the weather. Do the same for your children.

Combing brown baby’s hair: Choose a hairstyle for your munchkin that will last three to five days. Keep the hairdo neat with a scarf or bonnet when your child sleeps. This will ease rush time in the morning. Braids and twists are timeless styles that rarely fail.

Count small victories: Keep a notepad, download a notes app to your phone or cop one of these genius Full Life Planners by pro organizer and planner Sili Recio of My Mamihood. The planner allows you to plot out your moves, then cross off the things you accomplish as you complete them. It helps to see how productive you truly are throughout the day, the week, the month and year.

Honey-Lime Chicken And Avocado Salad INGREDIENTS 4 boneless chicken thighs 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped ½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved ½ red onion, thinly sliced 2 avocados, chopped Chicken Marinade 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon salt 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 jalapeño pepper, minced ½ teaspoon chili powder 1 tablespoon honey 4 tablespoons lime juice Dressing 4 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons honey 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon pepper 4 tablespoons lime juice PREPARATION 1. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade. Toss in the chicken thighs and marinate for at least one hour. 2. In a cast-iron skillet, cook chicken on high heat until there is a nice sear on the surface of the chicken, and the inside is no longer pink. Roughly four minutes each side. Set chicken aside. 3. Place chopped lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and avocados in a large salad bowl. Slice cooked chicken thighs and add to the salad bowl. 4. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the dressing. 5. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve immediately. 6. Enjoy!

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The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health, and Copinstates that proactive coping—“anticipating potential stressors and acting in advance”—helps  prevent and mute the effects of stress. These are just a few ways to shave time and lower anxiety levels. These tips may not stop all daily stress but one less thing to deal with, I’ll take it. You should, too.

Lay out your slay: No more beating morning time, trying to remember where you dropped your blazer. Click To Tweet

Many resources exist to help maximize productivity and organize affairs. The lives of Black women, moms and babies vary. We all require different things from day-to-day. Because my life moves at a rapid pace these days, tethering to a strict routine does not always work for my family. However, I’m wise enough to know an extra hour or two a day is certainly nothing to scoff at and making time certainly saves time.

Hopefully, these few tips will help bring on some much needed breaths in 2018—and some added time that allows you to focus on you.

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