Where are you sitting on your Happy Meter today?
Focus, Focus, Focus
Where Did All the Time Go?
Do you have a really hectic schedule or find that it doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to complete your “to do” list? Well, trust me, you’re not alone.
I run a Christian publishing company out of my home office. I am also a writer and published author. My husband and I homeschool our six kids between working full time jobs (My husband works away from home.) And, in order to post regularly on Littlekidsgrow.com, making time for sewing and crafting (though limited) must be put into my schedule, as well. And then there are the other things that I squeeze in between the activities I just mentioned. (I only share all of this with you to give you a better perspective of what I mean when I say I get the whole juggling thing.)
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always taken on a lot of activities simultaneously. It’s just how I’m wired. My mom even says that I’ve been like this since I was a child. Now that I think about it, a couple of my kids are the same way :-). Unfortunately, I’ve learned the hard way that the more tasks you take on, the harder it is to do each of them well. It took a couple of big mess ups in my past for me to realize that the way I was doing things wasn’t working. I knew I’d either have to stop moving at lightning speed, or I’d have to do things differently.
Over the last ten years or so, I’ve learned some very valuable lessons about multitasking that have helped me tremendously. I’m still a work in progress ( Aren’t we all? ), but there are 4 key areas that have made a huge impact on how I handle my load. Whether you’re juggling a truckload of balls or just a few, these are great tips to keep in mind:
- Prioritize. How many things do you have on your “to do” list? Off the top of my head I could easily come up with 50 things that I would say are important and need to be done today; however, I know this is not realistic. I’ve learned to differentiate between those things that have to get done and those things that I would like to get done to make my life more palatable. If you’re having trouble with time management, at the beginning of each day write down those things that you’d like to get done and then prioritize them by level of importance. Donald Wetmore has a wonderful book called The Priority Handbook: New ways of leveraging your time, information, and communications (Random House Reference, 2005). His system of time management is both practical and easy to use. He not only suggests prioritizing your tasks for the day, but that you also consider those things that take the least amount of time to do (even if they are not at the top of your list) and get some of those out of your way as well. Out of all the books that I’ve read on prioritizing and organizing, this one still remains at the very top of my recommendation list. I’m not sure if it’s in print any longer, but I’ve seen it on the Kindle and Nook.
- Learn to say “No”. This is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to learn to do. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and I especially don’t want to disappoint anyone. But I’ve learned that if I say “yes” to something that I don’t have time to do, or that my heart is not truly into, I find that I don’t do my best. Inevitably, I’m disappointed in the outcome and regret having said “yes” in the first place. I’ve made a commitment to myself to not take on things that I can’t give my absolute best to.
- Organize (the most important of the 4). I find that the more organized I am, the more smoothly my life runs. I carry a really big purse, and I always say you can tell how my life is going by how organized or disorganized my purse is. This may sound odd, but for me it is true. When I fall off the Organization Wagon, it usually starts with my purse and extends outwardly from there. Recently, publishing deadlines along with self-imposed deadlines had gotten the best of me, so much so, that my workspace was no longer work friendly. I spent this entire weekend reorganizing and cleaning my Office/Craft Room to make it a place that I wanted to be in. When my space is organized, that’s one less thing I have to worry about. If things aren’t organized then that’s something else that I have to put on my “to do” list, and who needs more to do?
- Take a Break. Break time is necessary to reflect on what’s working and what’s not as it relates to time management. I have a special day each week where I disconnect. I find somewhere quiet to reflect on what’s working in my life and what’s not. I’m always tweaking things here and there to find the right balance. My work weeks are varied, so what works one week, may not work for the next, but by taking the time to get away from the noise, I’m able to see more clearly and make the adjustments where necessary.
Are you a great organizer? Have you found a fantastic way to keep yourself on track? Please share. I’d love to hear what works for you.
Keep doin what you love!
[yellow_box]Motivation Mondays is a series that I started to share encouragement with moms. I use my past struggles as well as triumphs as a backdrop for my writing in the hope that just as others have helped me along the way, my readers will find something beneficial to carry along with them throughout their week. I believe that community is important as well as honesty and transparency. Feel free to send me a PM at littlekidsgrow (a) gmail (dot) com. My welcome mat is always at the door.[/yellow_box]