After taking a week of writing blog posts last week I managed to tick off two things on my To Do list.
Yep, you read that right. TWO THINGS!
I had plans to knock off the majority of the items on the long list so that I wouldn’t have them hanging over my head as we scream towards Christmas and the end of the year, but it didn’t happen. And as I sat combing nits out of my children’s hair last week it hit me… I can’t keep going like this.
My To Do list is eating me alive.
Even when I feel like I might actually be making some progress, a week like the last one happens, with way too many Dr’s visits and a round of head lice thrown in for good measure, and suddenly, I am even more behind than before.
I feel like a slave to all the things on that list, and they are just the extra things, like blogging commitments and design work, I am too scared to add the day to day stuff. I’ve tried very hard to say no to new requests, even when I’ve been sorely tempted to say yes, but it’s obviously not been enough.
Just the thought of all the things on the list stresses me out, and when I’m stressed I’m disorganised, scattered, always late, and a bad mother. I am not doing anyone any favours by taking on more than I can handle, least of all me.
Perhaps my thinking was chemically affected by the tea tree fumes wafting up from my kid’s heads, or maybe it was the constant rotation of Disney DVDs, or perhaps I have just finally come to my senses… I don’t want to be that kind of person. I need a plan to dig myself out of this To Do list black hole and a plan to stop me falling back in!
How I Tackled My To Dos
Keep Up the List Writing.
I used to write a list at the end of each day of all the things I needed to do, remember or think about for the following day. Lately I’ve gotten out of that habit, and that made it easy for my To Do list to spiral out of control. If I really knew all the things I already had on my plate, perhaps I wouldn’t have taken on so much.
Set Limits, Realistic Limits
I often find it hard to say no. When an email pops into my inbox from a blogger I really like and admire asking me to re-design their blog… oh I so want to say yes…. I know I need to say no, but it’s so hard! Sometimes I think I can squeeze one more thing in, especially when it is something so awesome/important/chance in a life time, and so I do, even when I shouldn’t. No more. I am setting harsh and realistic limits of how many extra things I can take on. I’m also going to make sure I can clearly see when I have already filled up my quota, and what times are likely to be busy and therefore when I should say no even more often.
To make sure I keep on top of this I whipped up this simple monthly planner with a space to write all my ‘work’ commitments (not sure why I feel I need to put the word ‘work’ in inverted commas… there’s some deep seeded neurosis and denial there, I’m sure). It’s not rocket science but if you’d find it helpful you can download the pdf here.
Routine, Get Some.
I can’t do schedules, anything with times on it makes me nervous, but I do need to work on my routine. I need to make sure there is time in my day for things like washing, and school lunches. Time for working and also time for relaxing. Just blocking out the rhythm of our days helps me to keep the balance a little more centred. Even if I don’t stick to it, sitting down and making sure our routine is working well at least gives me something to fall back on when I need to.
Use The Systems I Already Have in Place.
I need to keep menu planning, and keep the girl’s schedule up to day and displayed. Just these little things help take the pressure off and make me feel like I am accomplishing something, which goes a long way to getting on top of everything else!
Remember to Dance
I am not a naturally organised person. I’d like to be, but I’m not. I really need to work at keeping things in check, not biting off more than I can chew and making sure life doesn’t pass be by in a haze of lists. I saw the above quote pop up on pinterest last week and it made stop and think. I am just me. I will not miss out, life will not pass me by if I do what I do in the way that I need to do it. And don’t forget to dance.
I prettied up a little, printed it out and stuck it up so I am always reminded to dance. You can download it as A4 printable poster if you like.
What do you do to make sure your To Do list doesn’t eat you alive?