The art of being productive vs. busy.
A recent survey showed that the average woman typically completes 26 tasks each day. Even with this huge number of things accomplished, 80% of these women still don’t think they’re good enough. Out of these women, four out of ten said they felt as though they were on the brink of a burnout.1
There are some simple things you can build into your day and your life to help you focus on the important things, while not letting the mundane, everyday things, fall through the cracks.
Set your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks on autopilot.
Every day you empty and load the dishwasher, check the mail, get meals on the table. Every week you get laundry done, and keep the house in some kind of order. All of this is more than likely done in between the responsibilities of your career and your family. Wouldn’t it be great if some of these things got done and you didn’t really have to think about it?
- Write down ALL of the things you do every day/week/month/year.
- Create morning and evening routines and simple checklists.
- Put them on your calendar.
- Specific days of the week for laundry (M - sheets, T - colors, W - whites, Th - towels).
- The trash has to go to the curb every Monday night.
- You can make a meal plan on Friday for the following week and do your shopping on Saturday.
- You can do the same with cleaning tasks (M - kitchen, T - bathrooms, W - vacuum).
By breaking things down that have to get done and set them up in the most logical system for you, it can help you save time by not having to sit around and wonder what to do next and can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
If you stay on top of it a little at a time, then you can avoid those dreaded Saturdays spent elbow deep in piles of laundry that either need to be washed or folded and put away, or the rest of week wondering what’s for dinner.
Make Time for Planning.
Everyone is familiar with the idea of budgeting their money, but have you ever thought about budgeting your time? You need to know where your time goes, and with a long list of things to get done you need to make sure that you are setting realistic expectations for getting it all done. There are a few things you can do each week to set yourself up for success.
- Nightly review for tomorrow.
- Weekly review for the upcoming week.
- Have a master family calendar to keep everyone’s schedules straight.
These planning times should be scheduled out and blocked off in your calendar for you to take a look at what is going on and what needs to get done. It is always a good idea to have a general daily plan for what you are going to accomplish for each day, and also have an overview of what your week is going to look like. By having the master calendar you can make sure that everyone is on the same page and try to reduce the number of scheduling conflicts that arise.
Don’t do it alone.
It is important to realize that you do not have to do this alone. If you have a spouse and/or children it is okay to ask for help. Children are never too young to start helping around the house. There are tons of age-appropriate chore lists online and most kids love to be given a “job” to feel helpful and even earn rewards. There are a few tips to help you get the help you need.
- Sometimes you have to let go of perfection. If you let your 4-year-old fold towels, they may not be done the exact way you want them done but they are folded and your child is proud.
- There is something to be said for rewards. Is it worth the $.25 to have your first grader empty the dishwasher every afternoon? YES!
- It is not always easy to ask for help but you may have the conversation with your hubby to participate in the management of the home, divide and conquer.
- If you are in a stage of your life where you are living alone you still need help. There may be some things that are worth hiring a maid every so often for or having a paint party to enlist friends to help you paint a room in your house.
Schedule “Me” time.
There is a popular saying of, “You cannot fill their cup if yours is empty.” In order to take care of the people you love and perform well at your job, you have to make time for yourself - on a regular basis. It can be hard sometimes to take off the hat of caregiver and take care of yourself without guilt, but you need to.
- Put it on the calendar, make sure it happens.
- What is your passion, your joy, makes you happy? Do THIS!
- Spend time doing something for you at least once per week.
This can look different for each woman. Some get reenergized by taking time to go to the gym or go running, some love curling up with a good book, for some it may be a coffee date with friends. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it. Take the time to fill your cup.
“Being perpetually busy isn’t good for us, and yet it’s treated as a modern status symbol. Society associates being busy with being important and successful. This puts women under phenomenal pressure, and means that being busier than your counterparts becomes something to brag about rather than worry about.” 1
Life is not about being busy; it’s about living life - to the fullest. Women can do this while still getting all of the things done that they need to accomplish on a regular basis. This may mean you have to be more intentional with your time and planning; it may mean that some days not everything gets done. This is okay. If you take a few steps to simplify your schedule, get some help, and take some time for yourself it will all get done.