A couple weeks ago, I did a survey to figure out what my readers liked to read and what they struggled with. And this week, I thought I would do a series of emails to help you overcome those struggles. (If you haven’t taken the survey yet, I would love it if you did here). The #1 favorite types of posts people liked was planning and productivity tips and lots of people struggled with time management so I thought I’d bring you 5 Tips to Get More Done…So You Can Have More FUN!
“There just isn’t enough time in the day.” I feel like I used to say that to myself at least once a day. The battle between our never-ending to-do lists and the 24 hours we have to eat, sleep, work and take care of our families and ourselves is real and constant. By the time all our must dos are done, there is hardly any time for fun. That has got to change, life is too short to let it slip by without having any fun!
We’ll go through the tips first and then additional resources I recommend are at the bottom of the page so you can get more done and make more time for what you love!
Note: This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.
Tip #1: Identify Your Most Important Roles and Goals
We all have a jillion things we are juggling at once that it can be overwhelming to know where to start. So the first step in getting more done is identifying what is most important to you.
What roles do you play in your daily life? I am currently a stay at home mom, that means I am also:
- the kids’ chauffeur (my 3 boys are all school age but they play soccer 6 days a week and go to church 2 days a week)
- the on demand chef
- the maid
- the laundromat,
- the booboo fixer,
- the encourager,
- the homemaker,
- the household project manager and
- the household accountant.
That in itself is a lot, but add that I’m also a devoted wife, Rheumatoid Arthritis patient whose pain and brain fogginess changes as unpredictably as the weather, a blogger trying to start a work from home business and a person seeking a stronger relationship with God. I get overwhelmed just looking at this list of all the things I want and need to do.
But you know what? I don’t have to do all the things perfectly, all the time. So this year, I whittled down my list of roles and goals to my top 4 and wrote down what it means and why I want it.
- I want to be my kids’ encourager, this means I help them achieve their dreams. Whether it’s carting them to soccer or helping my oldest with applying to college and getting his drivers license, I am there when and where they need me to support their dreams.
- I want to be a homemaker, this means I create a loving and fun space for us to spend time as a family, a place my boys and husband will find peace, love and safety.
- I want to succeed at working from home, this means I can contribute to household income without going back to being a full-time accountant and auditor, a job that caused me much stress and worsened my physical health.
- I want to be closer to God, this means I will bring the peace that only church Mass brings me into my life and home everyday.
That means the other things slide a little. While I still have to do laundry, cook meals and clean, I’m not pressuring myself as much to get the house sparkling clean every week or a gourmet meal on the table every morning and evening. I’m finding ways to focus on my most important goals, simplify what’s required, and say no to things that don’t contribute to my 4 main roles/goals.
Make a list of all the roles you play, what that role means to you and why it’s important. Now ruthlessly cut that list to the top 3 or 4 that are most important to you and let’s find ways to simplify the rest. Check out the recommended resources at the bottom of this email for more help in this area.
Tip # 2: Create Effective Routines & Habits
I am a productivity book junkie and it seems like every one I’ve read suggests creating routines. Why? Because when something becomes a habit, it comes naturally to you. You aren’t stressed about remembering to do it, you automatically just do it. It’s ingrained in you, it’s part of you.
But just like that never-ending to do list, I have equally long lists of habits I want to cultivate. Creating an effective routine can be especially hard if you have little ones at home, elderly parents to care for, or your own unpredictable health to manage.
How do you make your routine “effective”? Well it’s the one that makes your body, mind and/or soul feel better when you’ve done it. If you haven’t already seen it, I created this Craft Your Ideal Day Workbook that helps you think about what habits you would like to incorporate into your daily life and put them together into a morning, daytime and evening routine.
Download my workbook. Check off the habits you want to incorporate into your routine. Print up the Ideal Day tracker and put it in your planner so you can get it done. Check out more recommended resources at the bottom of this email for more help in this area.
Tip #3: Limit Yourself to Top 3 Tasks
When I was looking over my 2017 goals at the end of last year, I sadly realized that I made progress on a lot but nothing was done. How come? I felt like I did my best every day and worked hard. How could NOTHING be DONE?
After much reflection into my goals and productivity, I realized that I took on too much. I wanted to do all the things for everyone. That’s why my first tip was to get your goals down to your top 3 or 4. Similarly, at the start of every day, I choose only the top 3 tasks I need to get done.
If I’m having a great day feeling motivated and productive and the kids and hubby aren’t home yet, I’ll take on more tasks. If I’m not feeling motivated and productive, I’ll use that time for self care. Whether it’s just taking a break with coffee and a fun book, calling my mom or checking in on Facebook, I take a break for my sanity’s sake.
I know I am easily overwhelmed and can burn out or feel defeated if I have a list of 20 things I need to do and only get 3 done. So I limit myself to 3 top tasks everyday and add more when it’s done.
Find a post it, notebook, planner or bullet journal that works for you. Make a list of the top 3 things you want to get done today. Short and sweet. Depending on how you feel when it’s done, add more or just relax and pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Check out my recommended resources at the bottom for more help in this area.
Tip # 4: Give Yourself Grace
Life happens y’all. And when you have unpredictable kids and health, you will be constantly interrupted and sidetracked. When an interruption threatens to derail you, think about those 4 most important goals. If your kids need or want you, spend the extra time cuddling them.
Take it from the mom who stares at her teen in disbelief every day that he’s going to fly the nest in a year and a half. Seriously, it happened in the blink of an eye. I can’t get that time back.
If your kids or best friend came to you stressed or worried that they weren’t getting enough done, what would you tell them? Now tell that to yourself. You’d likely comfort your child or friend, tell them it’s ok, advise them on what they could do to get better. I’m always full of good advice but I’ve learned to take a step back and give myself the same grace I give others.
Make the most of the time with your family now and give yourself grace if your to do list doesn’t get done. I can guarantee, if it’s important, it will be there to be done tomorrow and the world won’t end in the meantime.
Take a deep breath. Tell yourself you are doing your best for yourself and your family and that is enough. Tell yourself that it is enough, YOU are enough. Check out my recommended resources at the bottom for more help in this area.
Tip # 5: Schedule in Fun
Yep, go ahead, do it now, I’ll wait. If you put it off, you’ll forget. No one can be on the go 100% of the time without burning out. We need to sleep, we need to eat and we need to have some fun!
So often we neglect to make time for ourselves or our significant others. We get wrapped up in the busyness of life that we look up and realize that we’ve allowed people important to us to drift away, or that we don’t know who we are anymore, or we don’t know the last time we spent time together as a family. (I told you I’m so painfully aware of the teen flying the coop and his schedule gets busier with school, sports, social life and a new job, that family time is harder to come by).
This year, I am seriously scheduling in the fun or I will let life and my to do list get in the way. Here’s a couple ways I’ve done it:
- standing weekly lunch date with Superhubby on the day he works from home. I make sure I rearrange my schedule so I can meet him for our date.
- standing weekly family movie night. Usually on Fridays unless there is some event going on, then it’s over the weekend.
- standing weekly date night. The teen watches the kids for us whether it’s to watch a movie in our room or going out to dinner.
- standing monthly lunch with friends the first friday of every month.
These appointments are standing, meaning I put them in the calendar. Sometimes conflicts come up, but then I know to reschedule the fun time rather than forget to do it at all.
Make a standing date with your significant other, your friends or your kids. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, get a date on the calendar and stick to it! Check out my recommended resources at the bottom for more help in this area.
I’ve given you a ton of info, I hope you don’t mind. But if you’re still confused on how to implement these tips into your life, here are the resources I recommend.
- Powersheets* helped me pinpoint my most important goals (you can read my full review here), they’ll be back in stock on April 24th.
- Day Designer Planner or the Purposeful Planner* (the one I’m currently using) if you prefer daily format or the Passion Planner if you prefer weekly format which I used for a planner and bullet journal hybrid
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People* by Stephen Covey
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity* by David Allen
- Grace Not Perfection* by Emily Ley
- More of my favorite planners, books and planning supplies in my Amazon store* of favorite things
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I know it’s easy to get overwhelmed and burned out. We have so much on our plate we need to do for our families and so much we want to do to live our best lives and achieve our dreams. Taking a step back and reflecting on your most important goals, finding ways to simplify your must do’s and saying no things that don’t add value will help reprioritize your workload to fight that overwhelm. Creating effective habits and routines and limiting your daily task list to the 3 most important things will help your day run smoother so you can get your must dos done quicker and sneak some fun time each day. Give yourself grace on the days you can’t get it all done, just as you would give such grace to your child or best friend. And schedule that fun time, there is no time like the present. Life is short, you don’t want to miss it with all work and no play!
So tell me, what are your most important goals? What habits and routines have you put in place or need to implement? How do you manage your daily tasks? How will you be scheduling in fun??? Don’t forget to fill out the survey so I know how to better serve your needs!
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