As I tackle 50 million projects and start the day scurrying to ready everyone else, I had an epiphany; ‘I must choose my tasks carefully.’ (Cue Darth Vader voice). Get one kid ready for school, one husband off to work, one toddler some water, race to drink a cup of coffee and semi-function through the whole ordeal. Then onto the stack of paperwork glaring at me as well as numerous online duties.
The maternal multitasking instinct constantly takes over when I’m working and tends to clutter my already over-cluttered brain. How can people actually accomplish anything like this?! With any “To-Do” list it’s always important to take a deep breath and do one thing at a time. You can always reorder the list but bare these things in mind:
What is my schedule?
As much as it is important for those nagging tasks to be completed, you must be realistic to your schedule and include actual time for yourself. Not matter the priority, make time for fun!
Calendar Tip: Start with the important dates from annual to daily. Beginning with the Year, mark your main dates for obvious things like holidays & birthdays. Then comes Monthly, more holiday & birthdays, community events, etc. Then your Weekly and Daily. The Daily by far the most important, give yourself blocks of time not just to work but also relax! You are only human! Use an online calendar, such as Google Calendar, or even the old fashioned organizer. I do both. Bonus: With online calendars you can set the app to send you a reminder to your smart device.
Is there a deadline?
This will make scheduling more realistic. If there is a deadline obviously this has priority. Schedule more time with priority deadlines and give yourself a chance to be ahead of the due date. Example: I usually tell myself my appointments are an hour early or assignments are due a day early. I’m typically late for everything so scheduling early helps me be on time!
Does it really need to be done?
That question sometimes is hard to answer. Do we REALLY need to clean every corner of the house before we start an essay? Or can it wait? Writing your holiday cards or completely reorganizing the closet? Those questions seem so easy to answer but we need to ask them and realize the importance of our time.
Can I accomplish my tasks?
Honestly review how hard your tasks are. If you depend on someone else to meet that deadline, keep an open and friendly line of communication going to maintain the importance of your time. You don’t have to be a nag but telling someone once is never enough. Helpful reminders can help us all reach our goals.
The Real Life Variable
We can plan and plan until we are blue in the face but life has a way of throwing daily curve balls. When you’re scheduling have a sense of humor and realize Father Time is also an expert pitcher. You can knock your tasks out of the park with a lighthearted approach! Studies have found that stress decreases productivity. Workplaces, including your home office, can benefit from a playful approach. Having fun is vital to healthy brain functions; increased blood flow and stimulated neurons that relay information better.
When beefy brain power is needed be sure to feed your brain adequately. We constantly change our diets based off of our schedule. At home, I eat well (mostly) but when running errands I may allow a cheat. I find myself not completely sustained and drained. While coffee and dark chocolate are both sources of antioxidants, they cannot maintain proper nutrition. (Darn!) Avoid overly greasy foods as this slows down your metabolism and can cause sluggishness. Grains, fruits and vegetables can start your molecular engine revving. Vitamin C and B12 are good supplements to take as an alternative if a nutritious diet isn’t always available. These both increase circulation that can aid with brain function. So grab an orange and avoid the Cheetos when out and about! Most important: WATER! Water water water. Grab a bottle or get a container. Your cell will function properly and be able to process at maximum efficiency. Your body is a factory of awesomeness. Keep it going strong!
Where’s the Fun?
In all your planning, plan fun! Whether it’s doing an Acapella in the shower or random doodles on a notepad, keep it short but sweet. It’s easy to get swept down a river of insanely entertaining YouTube videos but try to unplug! Don’t Facebook that’s not really fun and you know it! When in college, I had an online class forum and constantly had to follow threads and responses. When I first joined Facebook I thought “Wow, just like college!” But as I’ve lived and breathed the social media site for work and personal use I have found it is quicksand to a schedule. My recommendation for fun: Embrace retro entertainment!
Give yourself a pat on the back for facing the day in the first place. Thankfulness is also a great way to keep a chipper beat and whistle while you work. I’ve gotten more done with a playful mood than a stessed-out evil Darth Momma. The kids know when I have deadlines, they can smell it. But when we play and take time to enjoy our needs it makes the day sail.
Best wishes and prosperous journeys friends,