The Five-Minute Mom’s Club: Q&A with Stephanie Vozza

We’re on a roll with Q&As this week — lots of friends of 168 Hours have new books out!

Today we welcome Stephanie Vozza, author of The Five-Minute Mom’s Club. Stephanie is the founder of a company called The Organized Parent. So you think she’d be telling us to create folders for each different classroom project and…blah blah blah. Somewhere along the way, she realized that there’s no point being more organized about stuff you don’t want to do in the first place! The solution is to come up with a way to not do it, do it in 5 minutes or less, or get someone else to do it. Aka, ignore, minimize, outsource. A portion of the proceeds from sales of The Five-Minute Mom’s Club go to the Pajama Program, one of Stephanie’s favorite charities.

Laura: What do you want busy parents to take away from your book?

Stephanie: It seems that many parents, especially moms, feel that overwhelm is normal. I want them to understand that it doesn’t have to be like that!

I had been pretty organized before I had my boys. Once they started school and began to have social lives, all of that organization went out the window. At the time, I thought “If only I could get more organized, my life would be happy.” So I wore myself out trying to become Super Mom. After several years of trying to live up to imaginary standards, I realized that organization wasn’t the key to being happy. Happiness came from spending time on things that were important to me and not worrying about the other stuff.

Laura: Have you had any big revelations about using your own time better?

Stephanie: I have procrastinator tendencies! I discovered small actions today avoid big reactions later. I’ve implemented little, manageable routines that keep me from feeling overwhelmed.

I’ve also learned how to rethink my to-do list by funneling tasks into categories: Don’t, Delegate and Do. “Ranking” tasks makes it easy to decide how to use my time better. In fact, I’ll be hosting To Do List Makeovers on my blog next week, www.fiveminutemomsclub.com.

Laura: What do you like most about how you’re spending your 168 hours right now?

Stephanie: Your book really showed me how to spend them on purpose. I love the mind shift of saying “This isn’t a priority” instead of “I don’t have time for that.” It made me take another look at my choices. Either I let go of the guilt around “not having time for that,” or I took a second look at where I was spending time on non-priority items.

Laura: What would you like to have more of in your life?

Stephanie: Certainly more money wouldn’t hurt! But I’d like to have more time with my boys. My oldest is a freshman in high school and I’m facing the reality that the amount of time I have with him (especially the amount of time he chooses to spend with me!) and the amount of influence I have on him are becoming less and less. It’s like watching an hourglass.

Laura: What would you like to get off your plate?

Stephanie: Housekeeping and grocery shopping. I do have a manageable housekeeping routine in place. But I would love to outsource grocery shopping. Unfortunately, in my city we don’t have grocers who deliver. One grocery store does have a service where you order your groceries online and pick them up curbside. I keep saying I’m going to try it. Maybe now that I’ve declared it to the world, I will!

Laura: Fill in the blank: “I spend way too much time on _____!”

Stephanie: The Internet.

Laura: You cover a lot of time-saving tips — what are a few of your favorite or most surprising?

Stephanie: My favorite tip is #45: “Lower your standards.” This was a tip contributed by a mom of three. I tend to be a perfectionist and I need to let it go! It really is as simple as lowering your standards. I also strongly believe in tip #4: “Change the task, don’t change yourself.” Whenever I start to feel stress around a task, I know it’s because it’s not important to me, I’m not good at it or I don’t like it. Instead of trying to change to fit the task, I figure out how to change the task so it fits my life.

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