1. Choose your absolutes, then absolutely keep them! As a working mother, think of what Ginger Rogers said about dancing with Fred Astaire—she did everything he did, but backwards and in heels. That’s a working mother. To work it right, you’ll need clear boundaries as to what gets your attention first and what matters most.
For years I’ve used a simple foundation to help me stay grounded. Using my fingers, I remember the five vital areas of my life, and each day do one thing in each area. For me, that means something for God, myself, husband, children, and to contribute. For example, I’ll read scripture while walking on the treadmill, send a “love you” text to my spouse, make my children’s favorite treat for dessert, and do a podcast for women online. One in each area, period. It’s not all day, but as I put consistent drops in those five life buckets, I feel happier and more energized overall.
2. Keep home life running smoothly. Not perfectly, just smoothly, so shoot for 80 percent in what matters most to you. You can’t do it all. Days will get crazy so decide ahead what comes first. Ask your hubby to tell you what’s most important to him—clean home, dinner on the table, laundry done, etc. Let him know you love and value him and the children, and that you only have x amount of available energy. Then, apply the ADE formula to the tasks: Abbreviate, Delegate, Eliminate.
First, Eliminate what isn’t absolutely essential right now. Take a year off from PTA, book club, or that scrapbooking goal. Then Delegate what you can. Assess the ages of your children and their abilities (remember, if they can read, they can do laundry). Start a “Kids’ Cooking Night” and begin with simple meals (soup and sandwich, ready-made ravioli and jarred spaghetti sauce, etc.) Soon they will have learned a life skill and you will have a regular evening off. Turn over to the children 15-30 minutes of varied daily chores: load the dishwasher, tidy cleaning zones, fold laundry, etc. Years ago I streamlined main areas of my Mama To-Dos—kids’ chores, meals, bills, laundry, etc. I saved 26 hours a week. That’s where I found the extra time I needed for business pursuits. For free easy recipes or ways to streamline life and cleaning zones, you can use free life tips on my website or try my “Get Organized” download.
3. Time to task. Make a list of essential to-dos today under Home, Family, and Business headings (no more than 2 or 3 items per—remember, these are Code Reds). Set a time limit on how long you will spend on them today—there will always be more you could do. For ten years I did a business called LIFEChange helping women and families improve their lives. I typically worked 10 hours a week during my children’s naptimes but often accomplished at least 20 hours’ worth by setting a clear time limit. That one principle made me consider creative solutions, network with others, and just work smarter. And I prepared some ahead of time. Putting in a wash, I’d rehearse my contact pitch, or while vacuuming I’d mentally organize three points of a column. Apply the right energy to task and you’ll be more work efficient and life satisfied.
You can be more balanced, starting today. Give one of these tips a try then email me your experience at www.conniesokol.com and be entered to win a free Faithful, Fit & Fabulous book.