Today I wanted to talk about an important component of time management that I have noticed successful people (especially Moms!) doing, and have been trying out the last two months or so. As always, I try out different things, and experiment / apply them to my “mom life” before I share them here.
In my last post I talked about how the quantity of time is reducing in our day to day lives, which we can mourn, or we can embrace by shifting our mindset.
This is a complementary post, because this post is now getting into “cool, let’s talk about the quality time and analyze it further.”
We all have things that we are amazing at, and other things…well… it’s like pulling teeth. We either procrastinate hardcore, or get it done but with a bit of pouting, attitude, or even body language that is designed to indicate to everyone around us we are not enjoying it, lol. I definitely stomp around with the laundry basket.
Successful / Engaged people are incredibly realistic about what they are good at and enjoy (today we will call these “enjoyments”) and what they are not that great at and just have to dig deep to do it (we will call these “duties.”)
Have you ever sat down and listed all of your daily and weekly responsibilities – just like you would write up a job posting / job description?
And then, have you looked at that list, and decided what your enjoyments are and what your duties are?
Here is my list of roles / projects that fill my day-to-day rhythms. I’ve put beside them whether it is an enjoyment piece – energizing and rewarding. Or, a duty piece. Don’t enjoy it, just get it done.
Professional Job *Enjoyment
Exercise (running) *Enjoyment
Exercise (strength) *Duty
Clean surfaces *Duty
Organizing / putting away *Enjoyment
On-Demand Cooking *Duty
Advance Food Prep *Duty
Grocery Shopping *Enjoyment
Social Media *Enjoyment
Childrens’ Book *Enjoyment
Quality outdoors time with kids *Enjoyment
Quality indoors time with kids *Duty
Quality time with husband *Enjoyment
Finances and household budgeting *Enjoyment
Social planning *Enjoyment
Relationships / Communication *Enjoyment
Research / Learning *Enjoyment
Building Coaching Business *Enjoyment
Write down the list of ongoing daily responsibilities / projects that you have in your life, and assign duty or enjoyment to each one.
The next part is deciding how to manage all of these critical activities with our time.
I am a firm believer that you embrace and work with your strengths, and partner with your (partner) on weaknesses (your weaknesses may be their strengths.) Even just the conversation around your strengths and not-so-strengths is valuable. After a talk about our cleaning strengths and weaknesses, my husband and I decided I would be the organizer / put stuff away person and he’d take care of the cleaning jobs. After years of us disagreeing over things this has been a big improvement for us!
Make a conscious decision about which will be your daily activities (a little, often) and weekly activities (a lot, sometimes.)
The secret to being productive (and pretty happy about it) is tackling all of the enjoyment pieces of our life on a daily basis. I crack away at each of these, a little bit every day. But the “duty” items drain me, put me in a bad mood and just straight up take willpower.
Recently I made a conscious decision to tackle duty items in one big day, once a week instead of facing them down every.single.day. That works for me – and that’s what I want to stress: decide what works for you. What works for you? Do your “duty” items feel better tackled a little bit at a time every day? or would you rather roll up your sleeves and get ‘er done in one big blitz?
My husband’s strengths complement my weaknesses in cooking and cleaning – but when I do them, I try to blitz them so that most of the week, that precious time is spent in my strengths, dialing in our budgets, building businesses, planning social events, organizing and putting things away, etc.
One big cooking blitz, one big laundry blitz, one big cleaning session. I am totally okay with letting these to- dos stack up during the week while I engage with strengths, like getting my kids outside and doing cool stuff and quality time.
(Sometimes other people do not think this is okay – I’ve had my fair share of other people’s judgements – but I think you just have to steel yourself against criticism and hold fast to the fact this is what works for our family and lets us engage on a daily basis with our priorities and places of engagement and enthusiasm.)
“But if you are deciding put off important items, how do you keep track of them?”
You may want to ask that. Here’s another thing I do to make this system work.
I could write an entire post about journalling. I’m a passionate journaller.
I’d love to write about using it to keep track of projects, inspiring your life with bucket lists, tracking how you are doing mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually with daily check ins, intention and goal setting, or even just helping your memory out by transcribing dates from iCal into a written journal.
(I promise I’ll get to a post on this.)
Anyways back on track –
On Sunday night I sit down and set intentions and goals for the week, but I also write a comprehensive list of important things to get done, and I add to it as ideas randomly pop in my head, or as I suddenly remember things (I don’t have a great memory.) I’m known for remembering random things we need to do, and it’s only because I carry around this journal and get it down the moment it appears in my mind.
This technique also helps me maintain focus on my work by not getting sidetracked. Thoughts pop up, I put them into the journal to be deal with and evaluated later.
Depending on whether it is a duty or enjoyment item, I either tackle things daily, or I save the duty pieces to one dedicated evening / morning or day at when I have a chunk of free time and can tackle them all at once.
(This is what an ENTP journal looks like, if you know your MBTI types)
I am dying to know – what are your systems, how do you manage the great work and the grunt work? Are you a little every day, are you a all-or-nothing type? Have you ever sat down and thought about this?
If you have, is your system working for you so far? Any unique tips?
Let’s chat! I’d LOVE to know.