I always have these grandiose plans each day. All the projects and activities I am going to do with my kids AND all these amazing, focused, creative, things I am going to do for my career. Plus, I am going to have a perfectly spotless house, a healthy dinner on the table at 6pm and get in an awesome workout everyday. I’ll call my mom and my best girlfriend and have time to connect with my husband in the evening…
Sometimes its chicken nuggets and carrot sticks dinner, an episode of Storage Wars as special time with my husband and I am lucky if no one kills themselves tripping over toys scattered everywhere!
These past few weeks have been especially busy. My husband has been working more, and both of my kids started new preschools (one which requires a good deal of parent participation!) So, I have had to really focus on ways to get the most done, while being realistic with myself and true to what is really important to me.
To get more done, first we have to change the way we think about our tasks and the time we have. Second, we have to put some systems and practices in place to make us more effect with our time for those tasks.
This week, lets look at 3 ways to change that way you think about your to do list.
Plan To Do Less:
When you put a million things on your list on a given day, I think your brain revolts. You may stare at the list, dabble on a few tasks, but often your brain just says; ‘I don’t know where to start, so I guess I can’t do anything,’ and you end up in front of the tv or spending hours on facebook. When you have less things on your list, it is easier for your brain to say, “we’ll do task 1, then task 2, then task 3” and it is easier not to get distracted.
This way, I am also less inclined to feel like I have to keep working once my kids are home from preschool. If I still have 20 things on my list for the day, I am more likely to put them in front of the tv so I can get a bit more done. However, If I have done my 3 must-do tasks for the day, then I feel “done” and we can go out and play for the rest of the afternoon!
Be Honest With How Much Time You Have:
The second part of putting less on our lists is just being honest that there are only so many hours in a day and, especially as moms, we just can’t do it all or at least not all at once. I am part of a business networking group and sometimes I get discouraged when other members talk about completely revamping their website over the weekend, or planning out a product launch in one day. But I have to remind myself, many of these women are in different family situations than I, many of them have 8-hour work days (or more) to put into projects. I have to squeak out time during naps and after bedtimes. I just have to accept that I am going to move at a slower pace than some of my colleagues…but I’ll still get there!
Really, Say No:
You’ve heard it a million times, but really, you have to say no. A friend just asked me to help coordinate a new mother’s group for our neighborhood and I was about to say yes, because it sounds like a great idea. Then I thought about everything on my list already that does not get enough time and attention, and I told her I could not be in charge, but I looked forward to helping support the person who was! While I struggled making the decision, as soon as I hit send on the email, I did not give it a second thought. With that knowledge, I am ready to go through my list and see what else I can eliminate.
Spend some time this week, thinking about the 3 ideas above. Post your ideas for rethinking your time and to-do lists in the comments below.
Next week, we’ll talk about 3 strategies to take the realistic time you have and the tasks you really want to do, and make it work the best (and most efficiently) for you and your family!