Have you ever had one of those days where your to-do list feels a thousand miles long? Like there’s no way you’ll ever be able to tackle every task? I feel you! Being a working mom with a growing business puts a lot on my plate every day. After years of juggling multiple roles, I’ve found that setting a priority list and being realistic with myself regarding my schedule has been incredibly helpful. Read on for my tips on how to tackle that never-ending list!
I like to write every little task down on paper (or in the notes section of my phone if I’m on the go, which is more often than not!) so I can see everything in one place. This starts as a brain dump – even minuscule tasks like “walk the dog” make it onto this list. I find that I already feel lighter after listing everything out; there’s no chance of me forgetting anything during the chaos of the week if I’ve planned my schedule ahead of time. It also helps me sleep well because I’m not worrying that maybe I’ve forgotten something.
Once this brain dump is finished I’ll break it out into two sections. The first section should be filled with important, urgent, or timely tasks that will propel me towards bettering myself or my relationships with others. “Finalize presentation,” “workout,” “date night,” “go through closet to find items for local clothing drive,” “meal prep for the week,” or “choose back to school outfits for the kids,” would all make this section. They are timely, important, and can have a direct effect on me or those important to me.
The second section should be filled with things like “lunch with a friend,” “returns,” “plan family vacation,” and “find a new charity organization to donate to.” I also like to put personal tasks on this list, like, “make nail appointment,” “take a bubble bath,” “catch up on new Netflix show.” While some of these items may be important, they are not necessarily urgent and can be done as time and schedules allow. Although they may not be number one on my to-do list, I try not to forget about these items. It’s important to tackle these as well, especially those that make me happy. Happy wife, happy life, right?!
Once I have my two lists, it’s easy to see what needs to be tackled this day/week, and what can wait. After assigning each item to one of the two, I’ll take a look at my schedule and see when I can carve out time in my day to dedicate to each task. This is so important! If you don’t carve out specific time to accomplish these tasks, you may find yourself overwhelmed at 6pm when you realize you haven’t checked a single thing off your list. Dedicating time (and being realistic with how long it will take) is the key to tackling any to-do list. I’ll even set a timer if my day is particularly packed. It lets me focus on one task for however long I need to, without worrying about what’s next. This especially works well when a friend is coming over last minute for happy hour and I only have 10 minutes to do a quick clean up around the house. Set your timer and get to it!
My second key factor to prioritizing & scheduling is to put the hardest task at the top of the list. This task should be the first thing you accomplish. After a full day of making decisions, running errands, and whatever else is on your plate, your mind will be exhausted. It’s incredibly common to make an excuse to put off that one task you’ve been dreading all day. And once you make one excuse, it can be easier to make another, and another. Set time early in the day and get the hardest task done. It will give you such a sense of accomplishment to see that item checked off and gives you motivation to continue. The more consecutive productive days you have = a happier, calmer you! As the age old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”
I hope you find these tips easy to use and implement them into your daily life. It has been incredibly helpful for me to see everything written out and know exactly what I need to do and when I need to do it. There’s no better way to end your day than with the feeling of accomplishment! Well…that and maybe a glass of wine J
If you use these tips or liked this post, let me know in the comments! I always love hearing from everyone.
Looking forward to hearing from you,