The following post is a guest post from Tina at Mamas Like Me and is the Tackling Tasks post for the day:
I wish that I could give you more hours in the day, more energy, and less stress so that you could have the freedom to do all the things you want to in a day. The truth is, we all have the same 24 hours and the same need to prioritize how we spend those hours.
I get it! I’m a stay-at-home mom with all the pressures of trying to cook the meals, tend the kids, and be a great homemaker (ie: have a house that I feel good about letting people enter at a moment’s notice or at least opening the door for the UPS guy!). I also run an in-home daycare so I know the pressures of having things that NEED to get done and having a full work-day in addition to the “mom tasks”.
Over the years, many people have asked me how I “do it all”. Well, first let me say that I don’t. No one does! But, I have some tricks for managing to do more than I ever thought possible by establishing routines and learning how to make the most of my time.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the privilege of participating in Leah’s 28 Days to Hope Challenge. I loved the community and encouragement I found in the Facebook group and I found that even though I already used most of the routines, I really craved the camaraderie of other moms and homemakers. I shared with the group, and Leah was kind enough to ask me to share here, that one part of my morning routine was the creation of a list – a list of 5-7 simple things that I wanted to accomplish that day. That list has revolutionized my effectiveness as a wife, mother, blogger, daycare provider, and homemaker!
I am a list-maker by nature. Even as a child, I would create elaborate to-do lists with everything I needed or wanted to accomplish. As an adult, I continued this practice, but found that I was often overwhelmed by the sheer number of things I needed to do. When I pared it down to the 5-7 individual things I needed to do that day, I found I could focus on those things and not worry about the other things that could wait for another day – like my son’s Kindergarten project or the review I was supposed to write.
In order for your list to work, it has to be 3 things:
Do NOT write down everything that you think you need to do! In fact, if this is completely new to you, I would not write down more than 3 things to start with. I try to stick with 5-7 for each day, no more than will fit on a post-it note – I LOVE post-it notes! You could actually add more stress to your day if you write too many things and then become discouraged when you can’t get to all of them.
Don’t set your expectations too high! If you just had a newborn, you are not going to be able to do as much as you did before that bundle of joy came along. In fact, go ahead and put “take a nap” on your list of things to do! In my experience, it’s best to limit yourself to 2-3 loads of laundry a day and to realize that you are not going to scrub all of the bathrooms, do the laundry, sweep and mop the floors, and wash the windows in one day – unless you somehow manage to get rid of the kids! I often put easy things on the list that I know I can quickly mark off, but will put off if given the chance. These are things like making doctor’s appointments, calling the insurance company, RSVPing for events, or paying bills. In all likelihood they’ll only take me a few minutes to do, but I could easily put them off.
Make sure that there is definitely a way to cross your task off the list. Going back to my laundry example, if I just put “Do Laundry” I would never be able to cross that off because that task is never done. However, if I put “Do 2 loads of laundry”, then I can cross it off for the day and know that I’ll have another task of laundry to do the next day. Along with this, don’t put “clean playroom”. What does that mean? Try “put away the toys”, “vacuum the playroom”, “dust”, etc. It’s much easier to see what you’ve actually done that way.
It is a blessing to be home with my children, one that I find I enjoy more when the tasks of motherhood aren’t weighing me down. My home is a more joyful place to be when I’m not fretting about what I still need to do – and I can focus on the things that really matter!