In the 7 Super habits I talked about getting everything written down at the end of the day including a to-do list for the following day. Today I wanted to touch base on the makings of a good to-do list.
As a wife, mother, and homeschooler it very easy to get caught with way too much on our plates. We have a manageable schedule but somehow one more to-do gets added, and then another, and another. The asks are nearly limitless and it is up to us to know our own limitations and learn the important skill of saying when enough is enough, and if we are overloaded… setting priorities that give us the time to do the things we have chosen to prioritize well.
If we lose focus, we may worry that things will be forgotten or not done well. But still we add more and each seem equally important. And on top of that to have time to just be us or time to spend on fun with the children? And then the housework getting behind.
Here are 4 time management strategies to help you prioritize the tasks on your list so you can get more things accomplished.
1. Be Realistic
- How much time do you have available for a task?
- Is this a task that you truly want to or need to tackle today?
- How will it benefit you if you do complete this task?
Sometimes we have to start on a project even if it won’t get completed… but boy do I try to avoid it. It usually winds up causing more mess and I have to start at the beginning again anyway. If I do have to start a project that I know I can’t finish right away, I do try to look ahead and make sure that there will be time to complete it over the next few days before it gets overrun!
2. Be Intentional
What is my goal for your day?
- What do you have going on for the rest of the week?
- Do you have a planner that can let you glance over several days to prepare ahead on a less busy day?
Our lists typically have a variety of tasks and various goals on them. Some of the tasks need to be completed today and some can be put aside for another day or week. While the larger goals are important, it’s just as important to prioritize tasks that need to be completed today. For example, if you are hosting a dinner party, it’s important for you to get your cleaning tasks completed and the grocery shopping done, but it’s not necessary to tackle cleaning out your basement.
I have a dated planner that I keep track of appointments, things going on with my children, and anything else I schedule. Each evening before I go to bed I start with a small notebook sheet and write down my priorities
- #1 getting the kids to and from school
- #2 any appointments that I or the children have
- #3 is looking through my meal plan and making sure I have what I need to make supper and that I have time to make what I planned.
- #4 an hour block for uninterrupted kiddo time.
- #5 only after I have ALL of my priorities blocked in do I add additional daily things
THEN when my list is complete I further prioritize. What is a (A) NEED and what is a (B) WANT. Then I mark each thing on my list accordingly. That way if I do fall behind I can choose a (B) and mark it off the list or reschedule. If I find myself cutting out too many of the wants to be able to complete the needs, that’s when it’s time to take a look at cutting out a few responsibilities and ask myself if I’ve taken on more than what is good and necessary for myself and my family’s well-being.
4. Be Aware
- Is my time better used another way?
- Is there something that I’ve been wanting to do for myself?
- What do I need to do for myself today?
Moms instinctively put the needs of other before their own needs. Perhaps, today has been a difficult day and you only have 30 free minutes until you need to pick up your children. Taking a few minutes to respond to sit and have a quiet cup of coffee might be just what you need to get through the rest of your day. Your other tasks can wait.
Taking care of yourself is just as important as anything else we accomplish. However, moms typically feel guilty about putting themselves at the top of the list. Be aware and value your own physical and mental health, too!
These strategies certainly don’t suggest that you throw your daily chores and home organization goals out the window. However, it is important to stop for a moment, take a step back, and recharge yourself. It’s possible to do both. You and your family will thank you because you’ll find that you are in a better frame of mind to be the mom you want to be.
What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to time management and your to-do list?