Thank you so much for all of your sweet words about my Spring Home Tour! They meant a lot to me. I truly feel grateful every day that I have such kind, encouraging people reading my blog. It’s a huge part of the reason I love doing this! You all continually make my day. :)
I’m switching gears a bit and talking time management today! It’s honestly one of my favorite topics. One of the best ways we can feel organized and on top of our lives is to make the most of our time. I have to admit, that while time management is a topic that I love to learn about, I’m not always the best at managing my time. In fact, it’s something I’ve really struggled with in the past. When you are a stay at home mom/dad it’s difficult to feel like you are getting anything done at all. Sure I’m working hard and I’m busy. I constantly feel busy. But that doesn’t mean I’m always busy with the things I should be busy with. :) I’m spending quality time with my kids each day and making sure they are thriving in their little lives – a top priority for any good parent – but there are other things I want to get done each day and precious little time to do it! Making each free minute count is crucial.
Last year when we were on vacation in Maui I read a book titled Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy . I LOVE this book. It gave me so many great strategies to help me get more done in less time. (I know – funny to read a time management book on vacation but that’s the way I roll) ;) Whether you work outside the home, in your home, or just want to feel more on top of things in your day to day life this is such a great book! I’m going to share 5 things with you (some are ideas from this book and some are things I’ve always done) that have helped me make the most of my time this year.
1) Eat your “frog” first thing before you do anything else. In Brian Tracy’s book he refers to your “frog” as your biggest, most important task of the day. The one thing you are most likely to procrastinate. It’s also usually the one task that will have the greatest positive impact on your life at the moment. Get in the habit of just doing it! Get it done! First thing before you do anything else. That way even if the rest of your day gets away from you, you have at least accomplished that one very important task. My youngest is in pre-school for just a few short hours each day so it’s crucial that I use that time wisely! On the days that I focus and “eat my frog” first whether that’s getting my workout done, editing pictures and writing a blog post, or focusing on something else important on my to-do list, I try to get it done first thing as soon as my kids are out the door for school. One thing that has been difficult for me is that this precious few hours of “me” time in the morning is also the best time to run errands and schedule appointments. I’ve been trying to not schedule appointments or run errands more than twice a week. That way I for sure have several mornings to “eat my frogs” so to speak. :)
2) Think on paper. When I was reading the chapter in this book about thinking on paper and making lists I have to say I had a huge grin on my face. :)
This is something I’ve done my whole life and agree that it is crucial for making the most of your time! Before you can “eat your frog” you have to know what your frog is! Take some time to make a list of the goals you want to accomplish this year. (Maybe you did this in January?) What are your priorities? Once you know your goals, organize that list into a plan. What order will you do things? What is the first step? The best way to truly achieve your goals is to break them down into individual tasks. Then do something every single day that moves you closer toward your goal. One example of this is how I made a plan to organize my home this year. If you check out that post you’ll see that I took the large goal of organizing my home and broke it into small more manageable steps to follow each month. Most importantly I wrote it all down. Now there is a clear plan for me to follow to achieve my goal. I just have to do the work. :)
**Another way I “think on paper” is with my week ahead prep. Making a plan for the next week and doing a few things every Friday to get ahead helps our weeks run much smoother!
3) Plan every day in advance and prioritize each item. Aside from writing down your goals and ways to achieve them, planning out your day ahead of time will save you hours of wasted time during the day. Every evening before I go to bed I write down a quick list of things I want to accomplish the next day. After reading this book I started taking that one step further by putting my to-do’s in order of importance. I simply write a #1 next to my top priority, #2 next to the next thing I want to accomplish, etc. Anything that doesn’t get done moves to the next day’s to-do list. Resist the temptation each day to finish small things first! You can waste your whole day clearing up small things and never get to what’s most important. Write down your to-do list and then actually follow it! Eat your frog first and then move on to item #2… without stopping to check in with Instagram in-between. Sometimes easier said than done!
4) Just say no. Once you’ve determined your priorities and have made your lists don’t let other things get in the way of achieving your goals. Say no to anything that isn’t a good use of your time. There is never enough time to do everything we would all love to do in a day. I’ve been having this talk with my 11 year old a lot lately because she has a passion for dance, gymnastics and theatre. I’m trying to help her understand that while she can still enjoy all of those things, there is physically no way possible she can take 5 dance/gymnastic lessons a week, act in a play and keep up with school work all at the same time. (At least without making her mother a complete crazy person!) We all have to prioritize. What can you cut out of your life that will free up more time to work on what is most important to you? Less TV or social media if your goal is to read more? Less volunteering for activities outside of the home if your goal is to be more present with your kids? For me I’ve had to learn to clean less. Silly I know, but because I’m a stay home mom and because I love having a clean and organized home, if I’m not careful I can waste my whole day cleaning the house. It’s tempting every time I find a free minute to just start picking things up and wiping off counters. But at the end of the day, the kids mess things up for the 10th time and I haven’t completed a thing that will actually move me forward with my personal goals. I’m getting better at this! But sometimes the vacuum calls my name and I cave. We are all a work in progress. :) The goal is to make it a habit to focus on tasks that are the most important to you first!
5) Time management is a means to an end. One of the sections I enjoyed most in this book that really resonated with me was when Brian wrote about how the main reason to develop good time management skills is so that you can free up more time to do the things you love. Most of our happiness in life comes from relationships with other people. You will never be caught up. There will always be more that you could be doing. Strive every day for a healthy balance. Work hard when it’s time to work. Focus and don’t waste time. Then when it’s time to be done working, be done. Enjoy your family. Relax so you can recharge for the next day. Never lose sight of the fact that we work hard so that we can enjoy a higher quality of life with those we love.
I hope those five tips help you as much as they have helped me this past year! Now close your computer and make a list. Then eat your frog and just say no to the vacuum.
As always, this post made complete sense..