Keeping track of work events, doctor’s appointments, and personal schedules can be challenging. You don’t want to forget something or double-book yourself. When you throw in motherhood, life and schedules become even more jam-packed. Instead of managing a calendar for one, you have littles and possibly a significant other to keep track of. Here’s how to take a mommy break with Microsoft Calendar.

It might feel like you never have a minute for yourself once you become a mother. While there’s a lot to do for everyone, you have to also make time for Y-O-U. Create space and moments to help you recharge.

Here are four ways you can use Microsoft Calendar to help. Following these tips can maximize your time management and efficiency. They can also ensure you get your mommy breaks when needed.

Organize Schedules Where You Can

Organization can be a tricky thing. It might feel stressful to get started. Organization might take a little time on the front end, but it can save time on the backend. Once you have a calendar in place, your whole schedule and life will run smoother.

Keeping track of your own schedule and your family’s schedule can be too much to remember without writing it down. However, getting it all down in a master calendar can help you not forget something important. School half days, dentist appointments, haircuts, soccer games, your mother-in-law’s birthday — you can put all of this into your calendar. You can even schedule other things like your family vacation.

Using an online calendar app allows you to set notifications for a mommy break — you can color code appointment types, and even share your calendar. You can tailor these to your preferences to get the most out of your calendar. The color codes help some people see at a glance what their day will look like. This can aid in other planning as well.

Is it a day where you’re on the go all day between sports games and events? Plan to have dinner out and about. Does it look like a quiet night at home with the family? Plan to make lasagna that night. You could meal prep and add the menu to your calendar.

Increase Productivity

Did you know increased productivity can increase your happiness? Sometimes people attribute the chaos of overscheduling and rushing to productivity. Being only focused on tasks can make it hard to leave room for other things in life. Leading a life with balance not only helps in productivity but can also give you greater satisfaction.

Work towards goals. You can plot them out in your calendar as well. You get a dopamine hit when you accomplish your goal. As Albert Einstein said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or things.”

It’s an exciting cycle of happiness and productivity. Happy people tend to be more productive. And the more productive you are, the happier you might find yourself. This ties to more than just professional goals too. It applies to personal goals as well.

Make sure to take time to schedule things to help you meet your personal goals in your calendar. Whether that’s reading more, walking more, or meditating, block off time for it.

Schedule Personal/Mommy Time

To get the most out of your day as a mom, it’s hard to go for spontaneity. You might think, I’ll enjoy “me” time or work out if there’s a time at the end of the day. But, there will never be time at the end of the day. It will go to something else.

Build it into your calendar. If you feel like you don’t have any time for yourself, maybe set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier. Then, you could enjoy your coffee and a podcast on the deck in the quiet hours before your house awakes.

If you’re a night owl, maybe you can carve out some time for your mommy break after the kids are in bed. If your gym is 24 hours, you could squeeze in a late workout while your partner watches the kids. Or maybe you have an elliptical in your room. Turn on your favorite show and work out at the same time.

Schedule it if you find yourself pulled in 100 different directions during the workday and forget to eat lunch. Block it off as a 30-minute or hour-long meeting on your calendar each day. This can keep others from scheduling meetings at the time. Your calendar shows busy.

Try not to schedule meetings back to back. You could even try scheduling your meetings for 45 minutes instead of an hour. Use the 15-minute gaps to answer emails, or stand up and stretch and grab some water if you have some flexibility in your work.

Some days you might not have much time for a break. If your schedule allows, join your webinar call on your cell phone while taking a walk around the block. If you work from home, take your laptop to the kitchen and join calls off-camera while making a snack.

Some days you could even work a few hours from the deck. You can recharge with a change of scenery and some sunshine while still being productive.

It’s OK to Say No

Blocking off your calendar can also help you say no to overcommitting. Putting a placeholder on the calendar for your mommy breaks visually gives it the same importance as other meetings. You are important, and caring for yourself matters.

Adding things you need to feel your best, like your lunch break and workouts, helps you say no as well. Moms often put their own needs last. Without giving your needs space on the calendar, it’s easy for other things to slide into that time slot.

For example, you may need to leave by 4:30 p.m. every day to pick up kids from daycare. You and your boss discussed it and worked out your time to make this arrangement work. But now you feel stressed at the end of the day, hoping something doesn’t come up. So you need to leave right at 4:30. Put a standing appointment on your calendar from 4:30-5 p.m. every day.

Set your event as private so others know you’re busy but won’t be able to see the title of the appointment.

Though finding time for yourself is a challenge as a mother, you can use little moments to the fullest. Optimizing your calendar can help you prioritize breaks for yourself.

Organize where you can, increase your productivity, schedule mommy time, and say no. These four tips can help you make the most of your time. You can find efficiencies and give time to your professional life and your family. You can also get those well-deserved mommy breaks to recharge and be your best self.

Image Credit: by Ketut Subiyanto; Pexels; Thank you!