Do you ever feel there is a growing to do list that gets added to quicker than stuff gets crossed off? Of course you do…you’re a busy mum. I’m no different but I have found a few strategies that help me feel like stuff is getting done and I’m not constantly chasing my tail. It’s my way of carving out a small amount of precious time for myself.
Here are some ideas to try for yourself.
Once a week or more often if necessary write down every little thing you can think of that needs doing. Even the tiny things that you know you can get done as soon as you put your pen down. Write it all down. Every time a new task pops into your head, just jot it down. It’s going to be a long list but that’s fine. It’s better on paper than swishing around your head.
Go down your list and prioritise. Star between 5-10 jobs that you think are the most important or urgent. Be realistic and choose a selection of bigger and small tasks to accomplish here. If your list is heavy with large jobs such as ‘sort out garage’ then break this task down into a few more manageable steps. Then just star one of these sub-steps instead.
Choose one biggish task and three smaller ones to cross off each day. Some may just take a few minutes like emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry but it’s so satisfying to tick things off at the end of the day or as you go.
Setting yourself a goal is all well and good but when are you actually supposed to do any of the things on your list when you are juggling everything else too? One strategy is to time block your day into three hour slots and allocate tasks to each. Some slots will be full to bursting before you even start but other you can find available time.
Add the parts of your day that don’t change first such as school drop offs, mealtimes and other commitments. Try and figure out where you can claw back some time. If your child still naps use this time productively (see below) and if they don’t, try an hour of quiet time each afternoon that lets you get stuff done.
Example Time Blocking for a Busy Mum
Work out what motivates you. If you can find ten minutes a few times a day, you’ll be surprised how much you can get done. You just need to move fast. Just think of all the extra calories you’ll be burning. I sometimes even put on the oven timer and see whether I can clean a room in this time. Once you’ve done your daily tasks you’ll feel you’re heading in the right direction.
Use time productively:
Are there certain tasks that you do over and over again that are just zapping your time. Maybe you feel you spend your days following your children around and tidying up after them. Whatever your time zapper, try and address it. I’ve written a whole post on how I stopped tidying up all day.
Refresh your list:
When you’ve crossed off more than half of your list, I find it really satisfying to put a line through the whole lot and start a new list on a fresh page. This not only makes you see which tasks you’ve been avoiding (and probably should prioritise soon) but it also stops you from feeling overwhelmed and like the list is out of control.
Accept less than perfection:
However much you might like an immaculate show home, everything to be in its rightful place and an empty laundry basket, accept this is highly unlikely whilst you have young children. A time will come when you will be able to do stuff without a child attached to you or whilst simultaneously trying to role play the shopkeeper. For now, accept a managed type of chaos and let go of perfection.
How do you get stuff done?