As a mom that works from home I am constantly reminded of all the things that need to get done, as I am surround by both my work and home environment at all times (a mixed blessing, trust me). I was always starting new tasks, only to be distracted by the pressures of needing to do something else, thus never really completing anything in a timely manner. I realized I was living my whole life in response to my surroundings and situations; be that finances, requests from my family, cooking, family time, entertainment, etc… I wasn’t planning or anticipating, rather just reacting. Eventually I got tired of always feeling rushed, having to come up with solutions on “on the fly”, and fulfilling requests from others right on the spot (so I wouldn’t forget to do it later).
So I decided to start doing things a bit different. I mean, if I do the same thing over and over, how foolish am I to expect a different outcome?!?
Now I am trying to live more intentionally, not allowing myself to shift back and forth every time the proverbial wind blows (which is often!). For me this means being more grounded and pro-active, having a clear intent and purpose in mind before starting a task, keeping to a schedule or plan and completing my current task before moving on to something else. So now I am focusing on:
Setting aside a specific time each day for certain tasks. For example, right now we are going thru our house and trying to get rid of all the clutter. However, once our day gets started this always gets pushed to the back burner and then doesn’t get done. So we now dedicate 30 minutes a day to this task before we begin working.
Meal planning. Trying to think up of 2 meals a day (remember I eat lunch at home) without planning ahead of time was a MAJOR source of stress for me! Not only did I not know what to cook, but when I did think of something I wouldn’t have all of the ingredients on hand, ARGH! So planning ahead really takes the stress out of it all and now I enjoy cooking!
I love my lists, and now I use them! I always seem to have multiple things going on all at once, and after the age of 30, the good ‘ol memory just isn’t what it used to be! So now I keep a few staple lists going at all times-groceries, work, home projects, need to research (I like to look for stuff online), family needs, etc…
Staying focused. More then anything I get distracted by thoughts of “oh, I need to go do xxx and it will only take 2 minutes”…uh-huh, right. Before I know it, it’s at least 30 minutes before I get back to what I was suppose to be doing! So now I jot it down on a “to do” list, which ensures that I won’t forget about it.
Learning to say “yes I can, but not this second” to my kids. For all of you parents out there, having your kids wait a few minutes or a few hours (depending on the urgency) won’t kill them. I should know, I tested it out. And really, teaching them patience is a good thing, the real world isn’t going to stop everything to fulfill their request the second it leaves their lips.
Prioritize and delegate. My list of things “to do” can get awfully overwhelming, but the key to not getting overly stressed out is to prioritize them. There are certain things that NEED to get done now, things that can wait, and things that the family can help out with(and why shouldn’t they?). Unforeseen situations often come up that call for flexibility, and the best way for me to meet that need is take make sure I get the important stuff first.
Each day is a new beginning. Often times I will not complete everything I want to for the day, and in the past I’ve been known to work until 10PM. Well, all work and no play made for one stressed out and crabby mom! Take the time to un-wind each night as you aren’t very productive in an over-tired, over-stressed mindset anyways! Just realize that each day is a new beginning and it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get it all done, God never gives us more then we can handle.