“There will ALWAYS be more to do at the end of the day. By setting priorities for what truly matters to you and your family, you can go to bed knowing that you achieved what was necessary and important to you.”
Today I’m introducing you to Shannon from The Guilt Free Parent. Shannon is an American based nanny/mother extraordinaire and the founder of a website catered to helping out busy and stressed out parents; to which there are many! Today she’s sharing some helpful tips to help you tackle the never-ending to-do list and get your time management vs family balance under control.
How to Leave the Dishes & Still “Get It All Done”
I’m not alone when I say that managing our to-do lists is a never-ending battle. There are only so many hours in the day, but it feels like there’s never enough. Whether you’re comparing yourself to the other moms at your child’s school or the celebrity moms you see on the cover of People, it can be easy to feel like you’re behind before you even get started. With little ones running about, or having only a few hours to get a ton of things done before school lets out, just managing the household can seem impossible. Throw in work & afterschool activities and you’re faced with quite the challenge.
So how do you figure out what to do first and what can be left until later? And are there some things you can completely forget about to make things easier?
My usual to-do list is a mess! It’s got any number of tasks and not many that are realistically easy and achievable.
These are all things that I WANT to or feel like I SHOULD get done (in the 4.5 hours I have before work).
Having a list like this is a great start. It helps to visualise everything that’s running through your mind and get things into a working order. But it’s also a bit ambitious. I know that I’m being completely unrealistic with my expectations to complete it all.
A better plan of action would be to prioritize so that the things that NEED to be done, actually get done. To do this, I suggest dividing your list into two separate categories. So after writing up everything into your usual mile long list, divide it up into ‘What Absolutely HAS to be done BY ME today” and “Everything Else”. Small realistic goals each day are going to be much easier to achieve and leave you feeling accomplished by the time your head hits the pillow!
Category 1: “What absolutely HAS to be done BY ME today”
These are the things that if not done today will cause financial consequences or have a dire effect on your family’s well-being and happiness. They’re things that can’t be reassigned to someone else and can ONLY be done by you. For example, rent payments, health appointments, banking etc.
This is because although we often feel that everything has to be done by us right away, often if we really examine our list we can see that very few things have a do or die deadline. Not everything has to be done by ourselves! I admit, I really struggle with this concept; I mean, it’s just easier to do it myself).
Category 2: Everything Else
Yes, that pile of laundry is driving you crazy and has practically started it’s own twitter account (@neverfolded), but if it doesn’t get tackled today it won’t be the end of the world. This is where we can stretch our delegation muscles. So assign older children age-appropriate tasks; you’ll be surprised what they can do. Or get the whole household in on the spirit of being a team.
Together you are all responsible for the care and upkeep of the home you share. You may not feel that your kids need chores, but think about the last time you were still awake at midnight loading the dishwasher. Wouldn’t it be nice to head to bed without feeling utterly exhausted?
For example: laundry (unless there’s an event that REQUIRES an item be cleaned immediately), taking out the trash, organizing your freezer or making a detailed meal plan with shopping list full of organic, Paleo-approved items. Because let’s face it, ain’t gonna happen!
This new to-do list is such a more manageable list. I was able to get all of this done, and even managed to squeeze in some time to work on this here blog. The things on the right do need to be addressed, but none of it is going to be the end of the world if I don’t get to it immediately. This way I’m able to go to bed knowing that I did what was absolutely necessary for our family.
As you get things done quickly and efficiently (since you’re not bogged down by a super long list) you may find that you have the time and energy to complete some items from Category 2’s side.
You may be surprised at how much more you’ll actually get done with this method. As an added bonus, the guilt of procrastinating on certain tasks will disappear because you’ll be tackling them first.
I wish you a week of feeling accomplished and unburdened. Send me an email and let me know how it turns out. And if not, I guess @neverfolded will be waiting!
How do you tackle the to-do lists in your house? Is it a winning or losing battle at the moment?
Shannon is a full-time nanny, newlywed, and founder of The Guilt Free Parent; a resource for busy and stressed out parents. After spending the past 7 years in the homes of several different families I’ve learned many great ways to help moms & dads stay organised. Tips to help reduce the stress that comes with trying to “do it all”. Whether you need a quick chat on Skype to fix the holes in your schedule, or you need someone to teach you how to get all of those toys organised, The Guilt Free Parent is the place for you. You can find her on social media @missnannyshanny, or on Tumblr here.
This post is linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT