Thursday, August 11, 2011

Choose What NOT to Do

We had a wonderful busy moms workshop last week, and spent a good deal of time talking about the perspective that priority gives you in planning your week. So, I wanted to share more on that here.

Have you ever heard the famous time-management story in which a college professor brought a large jar to class and added rocks, then pebbles, then sand, and finally water to it? When he asked his students what they thought it meant, their answers included a variation of  "squeeze in whatever you can." He then explained that if you don't put the big rocks in first, you will have a difficult time filling your jar without experiencing overflow!

Isn't overflow, which we would actually call overwhelm, an issue for busy moms? Don't you instinctively know that everything does not have to be done NOW? Yet, we flit around as though we lived in a "get it done so I don't have to do it again" dream world. We expend our precious mental, emotional, and physical energy, resulting in an unhappy "adult meltdown." Ask any child what it's like to be around mommy when she decides to "fly off the handle," and you will confirm this is not a happy incident!

You can slow down and learn to consciously schedule stuff for later using a priority-based system. This established way of getting things done helps you conserve energy and be present for your family, and not "spaced out."

Test the items on your task list with questions like these to help you filter out everything but the "big rocks."

1. Which of these tasks would I include on a new to-do list if was suddenly forced to ask someone else to step in and finish today?
2. Which of these tasks will save my family the most money in the long run?
3. Which of these tasks can be done in the evening?
4. Which of these tasks will enrich the life of my child(ren), or can be adapted to "mommy and me" time?
5. Which of these tasks did I already mention to someone or promise to do?
6. Which of these tasks will motivate me if done?
7. Which of these tasks will create an opportunity for me to do something special for myself?
8. Which of these tasks has the most pressing deadline?
9. Which of these tasks will only take less than 5 minutes, and can be done without ever adding to the list?

I hope these questions help you choose what NOT to do this morning or today, and that you are using a "hit list" to keep your tasks categorized!

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