Have you been overwhelmed? Felt like there just are not enough hours in the day to get it all done? Stressed over impending deadlines? I completely understand. Having a large family (4 children 5 and under) is a balancing act. I have to make sure to spend time with each of them individually so they don’t feel let out. I have to make sure to keep up with their Pre K schedule. Then I added in my soap making company. I wish I could make soap everyday. Then there is marketing, craft shows, updating the websites and this amazing blog. Now I even added in going back to college. Crazy I know. There is a way to spin all those plates though.
Is multitasking a thing?
While some things are easily multitasked many can not. Listening to music while working out is symbiotic. Writing research paper while kids jump on the couch is definitely not. You can not keep kids from getting hurt while doing a major assignment. That is not to say that there are not ways to do homework with kids around. I regularly practice speeches for my public speaking class in front of my kids. I have taught them the bones of the hand as practice for me for anatomy. (Teaching is the best form of learning.)
Yet when it comes to most assignments peace and quiet is essential. Focusing on one thing at a time allows me to do a better job. My thoughts are more coherent. When I make soap or write a post on this blog I usually have to break it up into multiple short tasks so that I can finish. Finding an hour of time without interruptions is difficult, but fifteen minutes is doable sometimes even thirty.
Eating the Frog
This is a saying from a popular book Eat That Frog: 21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time by Brian Tracy. Eating the frog pretty much means the most difficult task on your to do list and doing it first. Get it finished and you will have the momentum to tackle the rest of the day. Don’t keep putting it off or it will loom over your head. If you don’t like reading (that thing you are doing now) there is also a video that sums it up quite well. Eat that frog on YouTube.
The Dreaded List
While the list helps most people it does not help me. I will try to do wayyyyyyyy too much when I make myself a list. This makes me anxious and I end up getting nothing done. Having it all written tends to make me feel like I have to get the entire list done and Murphy’s Law (whatever can happen will) always intercedes, some huge event that demands my attention happens.
One of my twins slams the others finger in the door and breaks it……
Or my fiancé falls through a ceiling while installing insulation at his parents house…..
Or my sister goes into labor……
So many things can completely alter a To Do list. So I prefer to keep mine in my head so I can rework it and alter it as needed. Some important time sensitive things I will put in my phone or on my calendar, but the little things, like what needs cleaning or making soap I don’t schedule I just do. It helps that cleaning and soaping are relaxing to me. Flexibility is important. Lists may work for you and if so by all means use them. By all means organize everything. Channel your inner Sheldon Cooper but remember to be flexible. Life happens and sometimes (often for me) you have to just roll with it.
My most essential tool in my belt, when you figure out what you need to do first everything just falls into place. There are a couple of questions to ask…..
Is this task time sensitive and if so how much so? Does it need to be done today or will tomorrow do, or can it wait a year?
Is this task important? Do you really NEED to do it?
I sort all these things into a table like the following. The urgent and important tasks get done first, then the urgent non-important ones, then the non-urgent but important ones, then lastly the non-urgent non-important ones. I do this in my head and very often switch the importance/ urgency of tasks but for some of you writing it down will help.
Ideas at the most inconvenient times
I have a very difficult time with recording all my ideas. Often,ideas start flowing and I am flooded with so many that I can not remember them all or even write them down fast enough. Ideas such as soaps I should make, or things I want to share with my readers, or answers to school problems that I struggle to save all of. A device to record thoughts would be the greatest invention ever, but alas it is not invented yet.
Voice to text and notes on my phone are very useful since I usually have my phone. I will jot down ideas (many of which I have no idea what they mean later) and work on them later when I have time. Many of the times when this happens I a driving or talking to someone. How rude would it be to stop a conversation to write something on my phone? The looks you get for doing so are only worth it if you are curing world hunger or the solving the grand unification theory. (I know too many big bang references)
I am sure there are many other ways all of you balance your spinning plates. What are they? I would love to hear your time management methods.