We are coming out of the busyness of summer, just to step into the hustle and bustle of the holidays in just a few short weeks. Don’t believe me? Have you already seen or heard commercials mentioning Christmas? Yes, that time of year again is upon us.
We come out of a busy summer, into busy holidays, into launching a new year with great resolutions and goals, then finishing off the school year, just to go back into a busy summer.
The truth is, there is no downtime in our lives anymore. We are constantly on the go. Constantly trying to do more things and do them faster and quicker. We look for convenience, for shortcuts. We look for ways to make things easier. Unfortunately, our health tends to suffer because of it.
We no longer exercise because we can’t find the time ~ and of course, we don’t think of blocking that time off in our calendars ~ the very thing we SHOULD be doing to make sure we work it into our day.
We eat trash and junk because it’s the easiest thing to get into our mouths the fastest. Microwavable. Made with preservatives. With all sorts of food additives and chemicals dumped in, trying to make it remotely taste like the real thing.
These are all topics for a different day… but topics that need to be addressed, nonetheless.
Today, though, I want to talk about a simple thing you MUST do to achieve streamlined time management and actually get the RIGHT things done by the RIGHT time.
It’s about priorities.
When it comes to priorities, you have some and those around you have some. Just because you all do doesn’t mean they magically line up with each other. That’s why communication is so important when you are working with someone else, in any capacity, to make sure everyone knows the set expectations.
I get asked over and over again how I’m able to do what I do. Well, today, I’m letting you in on a secret… I have prioritizing down to a science. I will be honest, it comes to me naturally. However, I realize for most people, it doesn’t. It’s something that must be learned and practiced.
Let me see if I can help you out. But first, we must talk a bit more about priorities.
What are priorities to you? Most people think of their family, work, ministries, volunteering, etc., when they hear that term. And those are all true and correct. However, that’s not the whole story. When you are doing your daily tasks, not only do you have the overarching priorities, like your spouse, children, and job, but you have priorities affecting each of those areas of your life. For example, your little “Johnny” (we’ll call him) has a ball game at 7pm. It’s a priority to you to get him to his game and be there on time. That means you need to leave the house by 6:30pm. That is a priority for the day that should be written into your calendar. You have a deadline for a project at work. Each step to complete the project should be written into your calendar to make sure it’s completed fully on time.
Now, think through your priorities. Get out a piece of paper and pen and start writing. What are your overarching priorities? Your BIG ones ~ family, church, work, etc. Now, what are the priorities within each of those groups? Can you break it down even further into projects? Projects can feel like elephants in the room. You know you need to eat it, one bite at a time, but where do you start? If people would take the time to actually break down each “bite” into details, the obvious starting place will reveal itself. Start there.
Ok, now that you have your list, read through it several times. Write deadlines next to each thing. Write how much time it will take you to complete each task – estimate if necessary. Now, prioritize your day based on your list. Which thing MUST be completed before others on the list? Which ones are hinged on others getting completed first? Obviously, those needing to get done first go higher up in the list.
So say you have your list all ready, totally complete ~ oh, and by the way, your hardest tasks may need to come first, depending on your personality and procrastination ~ read “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy for more info about this. Anyway, say you have your list ready and you start hammering through each task. You’re feeling good. You’re getting things done. You’re marking through tasks like crazy. And then, here is comes. Your boss walks in a asks you to get a report to him by the end of day tomorrow. What do you do? Most people panic, freak out, and wonder how on earth they are going to fit it into their day or when they will do it. First of all, don’t panic. Secondly, take a deep breath. This is easy. Think through that project your boss brought to your attention. What does it entail? When do you have to have it completed? Would it be better to complete it earlier? Now, simply slide each task related to that project (the bites of the elephant!) where they go in your task timeline. In some cases, it will trump everything else on your list because it’s of a much higher priority and that’s obvious. In other cases, you may want to work on it last for the day… or somewhere in between. It depends on each project and the list of tasks you are starting for your day.
When you do this everyday, you will get faster at it and more comfortable with it. Honestly, I have been doing this for so long, that most of this happens in my head. I even reshuffle in my head constantly! I realize that most people don’t do that, but it is possible. Also, don’t think that I’m superhuman… when my task list gets too full, I have to start writing things down, too. Actually, it makes me feel better with a blank slate to begin my day with ~ it my task thoughts are out on paper, that gives me the brain capacity to focus and think through the actual tasks and projects that I’m working on with more clarity and efficiency.
Here is just a list of a few things I manage on any given day:
~ getting children up, fed, clothed, and off to school
~ working on a client’s website
~ posting on social media for a client
~ writing blog posts
~ connecting with customers and answering questions
~ washing dishes
~ folding laundry
~ bathing 4 kids
~ updating my own social media posts
~ posting things on my own website
~ cutting out, burning, and assembling fabric wedding flowers
~ knitting for customers
~ cooking dinner
This list is not exhaustive and changes from day to day, depending on priorities and deadlines. As you can see, I do a WHOLE lot in one day. So, if working on a client’s website and folding laundry are both on my list, as long as my kids have clean clothes, I’m choosing to work on the website first because it’s what brings in the money, feeds my kids, and has a higher deadline than putting clean clothes back in our drawers. Eventually, I get to everything on the list, but the things that can be pushed off to the next day will be pushed if necessary.
There are only 24 hours in a day. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting to everything. As long as you did what’s most important for the day, everyone is clean, healthy, and happy, you have done your job! There is no law stating your house must be perfectly clean and everything in place at all times. There is no law stating that you must bathe your dog once a week. There is no law saying that you must post on Facebook or people will defriend you (some may, but they weren’t good friends to begin with if that’s the case).
Let yourself off the hook. Do your best! Then rest! At the end of the day, when you know you have prioritized correctly and did your best to accomplish it, you can put your head on the pillow and sleep like a baby, knowing that you are a GREAT mom (or dad), a GREAT business owner, a GREAT chef, a GREAT housekeeper, and even a GREAT nurturer, comforter, and mender of boo-boo’s!
Since I have so many friends, family, and clients asking how I fit it all in with four kids, my “7 Days to a More Balanced Life” video course, full of tips, tricks, and help just for YOU, will be coming out November 20th! You may pre-order it now at the special introductory price of only $16.99, instead of retail price $27.99 ~ that’s 40% off ~ a savings of $11! Hurry ~ the price goes up on Oct 23rd!
Here are just a few topics I will be covering:
~ Time Management ~ figure out what to do when, how your wasting time right now, and what small changes you can make to streamline your day!
~ Your Priorities ~ discover your priorities, reveal your top priority, and connecting your priorities to your time management!
~ Personal Requirements ~ determine tasks that are required and ones you’ve put onto yourself needlessly and which ones to keep!
~ True Responsibilities ~ establish which projects belong to you and what you need to give up!
~ Caring For Others ~ discover how caring for others in your charge affects you daily!
~ Skills ~ clarify your specific skills from those around you and how to best use them continually!
~ and Living Your Dreams ~ enhance your life by making small changes towards success ~ change your life & start living your dreams TODAY!
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Jessica Stone is a wife, mom to 4, and owner of her own businesses in the fitness and essential oils industries. She has 3 special needs children, one which has an undiagnosed neuro-muscular condition that limits her mobility, and her twins are currently receiving therapy for sensory defensiveness, physical mobility, fine motor skills, and speech. She enjoys sharing what she has learned through her trials, experience, research, and tools that have helped her children’s health with other parents who are looking for support, encouragement, and helpful information. Get her FREE gift to you, 30 Easy Snacks Your Kids Will Devour: Eating Healthy Never Got So Simple, to help you feed your kids quick & healthy! Connect with Jess live today on Facebook!