We have officially embarked on what ends up being the busiest time of the year. Fall. Fourth Quarter. The Holidays. Travel. Family. End of Year. All of this sound familiar? Before we get too caught up in the whirlwind, I want to focus on how to simplify your daily tasks by adjusting big-picture goals.
One of my latest initiatives - as far as daily routines go - is to get to sleep earlier. This was inspired by my son’s new wake-up time each morning in the 5 o’clock hour - yikes!
I set my goal with clear parameters to follow:
I thought those were clear, attainable, and would be good checkpoints to motivate me to spend a little less time futzing around after my little one goes to bed. My time is precious and if I only have 3 hours to cook, clean, relax, and pump before I go to bed, I need to tighten up how I spend that time.
I forgot to factor in that those 3 hours are also when I can focus for longer than 10 minutes on something and catch-up with my husband. After the 9:30pm checkpoint, I would launch into a project (or a cozy spot on the couch) and loose track of time. Or I’d know exactly what time it was, but felt that finishing the project was more important than my bedtime goal.
But the truth is the only way a change is going to happen is if I deliberately make a change somewhere else in my life. It seemed that all the tasks and projects I wanted to work on were part of the problem.
I made a list of all the things I am currently doing. This included non-negotiables: meal-planning and cooking, laundry, pumping, work, working out, seeing friends, responding to emails, travel planning, paying bills. You get the idea.
On top of that, I am also: backing up my photos, journaling about my son, selling and donating items to make more room in our apartment, reading a magazine or book, watching TV, trying to eat less sugar, trying to get to bed earlier, digitizing all my recipes, scanning all my sheet music, and managing my newly opened Etsy shop.
These things are always floating around in my head, but having them in writing helped me identify inefficiencies and I realized the underlying theme (and big-picture goal) here is to improve the systems in my home now that I have a grasp of my new routine.
Ok - so this gave me the power to decide which projects are important to do now.
I asked myself:
Which tasks are contributing to improving my systems, as in, will it make my life run easier?
Which ones are for my health (mental and physical)? (Those are important too!)
In other words: What can I Do, Delegate, Defer, and Ditch?
And once I had my list of Do’s: What can be simplified?
I gave myself permission to tone down my journaling efforts, workout only 1-2x each week, let my Etsy shop run with its existing listings. Music scanning can wait until after the holidays and TV-watching can be limited. Now I read while I pump - that’s the kind of multi-tasking I can get on board with! Also, my husband is helping a lot with the cleaning efforts, and we’re being more lenient on the tidiness factor - we have a baby for crying out loud!
With those precious 30-60 free minutes I have each night, first I deal with anything urgent, then I can get to anything that will make my life more efficient. I have to set a timer by the way, so I don’t get carried away. Whatever I can get done in that amount of time is enough. I made a promise to my pillow!