In this time management series I help address some of the challenges that moms have and specifically mompreneurs. As a mom it seems like time slooooows down while the rest of the world moves at a super-fast pace. I remember being so frustrated when the day was over and I felt like I had accomplished absolutely nothing although I was exhausted and had not had time to shower.
As a mompreneur, time appears to move at a super-er faster pace, responsibilities multiply, deadlines swirl around me, simple goals fade away while baby sits there with her cute smile, drooling and pooping in her diapee!
As ambitious women we stick with the trusty To-Do list. It’s the tool that got us through college and up the corporate ladder. But it becomes a tool of frustration as a mompreneur unless you work it a little differently. There are a couple of things that must be shifted.
- The 1st shift must be done in your mind. Stop seeing your To-Do list as a planning pad. Children don’t fit into our adult plans. Your to-do list is for tasks that must be accomplished in 48 hours or less. For anything further ahead, use advance planning list or add the items to your day planner for the appropriate due date.
- The 2nd shift must be in how you write out your activities. Think of all the things that you want to accomplish this week; and get out 3 sheets of paper. Label one sheet as Must Do, the next is Need to Do. And the third is Want to Do.
- The 3rd shift is in what you write with. USE A PENCIL.
Let’s start with your “Must Do” sheet. Here list the tasks that must be completed in 24 hours; items that WILL cause the world to crumble if not done today. Usually there are only 2-4 things that are that important. Even though we tell ourselves that EVERY thing is that important. Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you have children under the age of 4 their world will crumble if certain things aren’t done so keep your schedule light. It’ll also help to relieve your stress when you can see that you’ve accomplished 2-4 really important items on your To-Do list.
Therefore, any “Must Do” items that can wait an extra day are placed on the “Need To Do” list. These are important items to do in the next day or two. These activities are imperative but they won’t cause your world to collapse if you’re caught by an unexpected toddler mishap. Having a “Need To Do” list is a stress reliever! It helps to eliminate that panicky, “everything must be done NOW” feeling while keeping your important activities in focus.
Finally, pull out the “Want To Do” sheet. List the activities that can be done any time in the next several days. These are activities that you want to do but tend to wait around to do and it sucks up your precious time. For me it would be something like going to the post office. I try to wait until my husband gets home before I go to the post office. But because his schedule is erratic I’ve wasted time expecting him to come home “any minute” and it didn’t happen. Or I’ve wasted time getting all of the children dressed and bundled up and as soon as we open the garage door to go out, he’s opening the other garage door to come in. As moms we spend a lot of time waiting…waiting for the baby to sleep, or the toddler to wake,
“Or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
Or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No
Or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite
Or waiting around for Friday night
Or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake, or a pot to boil,
or a Better Break or a string of pearls,
Or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or
Moms are always waiting.
But with your Want To Do sheet you’ll always have a running list of activities to do while you are waiting.
For instance, on my list I have plans to call the library about their grant writing classes. It should only take 2-3min but depending on how the Librarian answers my questions it could take 5-7. I know that I need to have my calendar in front of me and I need to be fully attentive in the conversation. I have allotted 2 days of the week for phone calls and those days are coordinated with the children’s classwork (remember I homeschool). This call will have to be slipped in when I have time but I don’t want to forget it. Therefore it stays on the list.
Every day you should cross out activities and rotate the un-done activities to the appropriate list. So your Must-Do list has some cross-out items and some items from the Need To Do list have been added. The Want to Do list should have a few completed items while others are rotated to the Must Do or Need To Do list.
When life appears to be moving slower for you as a mom than it is for the rest of the world it’s important to see that you ARE indeed accomplishing the important things in your day. As a momprenuer you want to SEE your accomplishments and not let the non-important items slip your mind. This little twist on your To-Do list is an excellent time management tool just of moms…and should enable you to get to the shower at least 4 days out of the week!