Note from Kat: This post is from a HelloMornings Challenge contributor, Sarah.
I’m in the middle of one of those seasons. You know, the so-busy-it-feels-like-every-second-of-the-day-is-scheduled kind of seasons.
I’m walking around in a constant state of worry that I’ll forget a crucial detail and all of my spinning plates will come crashing down.
Recently, I found myself asking my four-year-old daughter to remind me of this or that, but I quickly decided that wasn’t the best approach when she started telling people, “My mommy forgets things a lot.”
I’m discovering these busy seasons are inevitable with raising a family, and I also know it will pass. But as the famous (in our house) bear hunt book says: We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. We gotta go through it!
So, instead of trying to escape the busy, I’m determined to do the best I can with the time and energy God gives me each day. I’ve gone back to my tried and true method for staying on top of my to-do list. Perhaps you’re in a similar season? If so, here are my tips for making it through with minimal plate-dropping.
Step One: The Brain Dump The first thing I do when I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed is to sit down and make a list of every task, responsibility and commitment that is fighting for space in my brain. Nothing is too minor for this list. Put RSVP card in the mail, schedule oil change, finish the laundry, return library books… Seriously, anything that’s taking up brain power goes on the list! Once I make this master list, I find it useful to actually make a plan to get it all done…
Step Two: Plan Your To-Do’s I (still) use a paper planner, and the one I have separates each day into morning, day and night. This works well for me because I can list tasks on each day at the approximate time I should complete it. For example, if I know I need to bring cookies to a party on Thursday evening, I add “buy cookies” to my lunchtime errands on Thursday.
During my busiest seasons, I even plan things as simple as sending a follow-up email or calling to check in on a friend. If I think of something I have to do, but can’t get to it right away, I jot it down in my planner to get it out of my brain and onto the list. And every time I hear myself telling someone I’ll do something, that’s a cue to write it in my planner. That way, I’m not wasting brain space worrying about whether I’m forgetting something.
And if a paper planner isn’t your thing (you’re my hero), I found an iPhone app called Things that allows you to manage tasks in a similar way.
Step Three: Maintain the System It does no good to write a list of to-do’s if you don’t look at the list. Each morning I spend a few minutes reviewing my planner. I move yesterday’s tasks that I didn’t complete to the current day (or a future day, if appropriate). This method makes it hard to procrastinate for too long without annoying myself.
If I write the same unfinished task day after day, it’s a sign the task is either not important or that I’m putting it off and I just need to do it already. And the best part of all this planning? Crossing those babies off when they’ve been accomplished, of course!
What method of planning do you use when you are feeling overwhelmed with daily life activities? Click here to join the discussion!
Sarah is a 30-something wife and mom of two preschoolers who lives imperfectly for Jesus. She’s a communication professional by day, word girl by night and always an appreciator of art. You can find her pursuing beauty and collecting stories at www.girlgrowsup.com.Leave a Comment