Are you are highly organized, or do you live by the seat of your pants? Or perhaps you function somewhere between the two extremes. Regardless of your level of organization (if you are a parent) you probably have a To Do list. If you write down that list at a given time and read through it, what kinds of tasks are included? Perhaps it would include housework such as doing the laundry, cleaning the bathrooms or prepping dinner. It may include logistical tasks, like taking kids to and from school, or doctor’s appointments. It might even include deliverables for your job and personal goal-related items. The “To Do List” task options are endless, and sometimes it feels like our own lists are endless as well! It can leave you feeling anxious, frustrated and overwhelmed if you aren’t careful about how you view and use this “list.”
I’d like to share with you a few strategies I have found helpful in reframing “To Do” lists. You may have your own strategies to add to the list, and I’d love to hear them!
Reframe my To Do Attitude
I had to make peace with the knowledge that some days, I will NOT complete the whole list, and that is OK. Of course, it’s awesome if I can get through the list, but let’s be real. Kids get sick, appointments run over, and priorities can change even over the course of a few hours. There are many variables that can impact my day and schedule, and at the end of the day I give myself some grace. I take stock of what went well and make note of anything I may have done differently then simply set my priorities for the following day.
Prioritize my List
I personally like to divide my list into high, medium and low priority items. If possible, I try and knock out the high and medium priority items in the first half of the day. Low priority items that don’t get complete just get added to the following day.
Ask for Help
Whether it’s establishing a carpool for the kids to school or activities, asking a spouse, friend or family member for help when things are becoming overwhelming, or asking you kids to assist with home responsibilities that need to get done, learn to be comfortable asking for help. We all know how great if feels to have the opportunity to help someone out. So when you need it, ask for it, then graciously accept that help and be ready to return the favor.
Divide and Conquer
You may decide to take time at the end of the day and have each family member be responsible for “resetting” a certain room of the house. A more formalized chore list where each family member has certain tasks they are responsible for on a daily or weekly basis can also be a great option to engage the whole family. It could even be as simple as a family rotation for certain tasks. In any case, you may want to consider delegating some of the “To Do” list to other family members…it helps them learn responsibility and the importance of working together as a family.
Let it Go
The reality is that the more you have, the more you have to manage. It may be time to consider truly evaluating what you need in your home and getting rid of (selling, donating) anything unnecessary. You will likely feel less stressed, more organized and have more time because you won’t be managing so much “stuff.” Just beware that once you have decluttered, you need to be disciplined enough not to replace the old “stuff” with new “stuff.”
After decluttering, it will be well worth it to spend some time organizing. When your spaces at home and work are organized, you can be more efficient in your work. An organized home is easier to tidy up than one that is chaotic. When children know where items belong, they can more effectively assist in cleaning up. It’s amazing that decluttering and organizing your external space actually helps your head space feel more decluttered and organized as well…give it a try!
Include To Do’s that Fill my Cup
It could be coffee with a friend, a walk with your spouse, or sitting down to a family meal. Be sure to include items on your To Do list that make you feel recharged, joyful, peaceful and restored. If your list is full of items that drain you, rethink your list. Yes, there are things we need to accomplish that are no fun, but we also need to prioritize the things that energize us, or we will end up feeling burned out.
Consider Hiring Help
Depending upon your circumstances, you may consider hiring a family assistant. This role varies based on a family’s specific needs, but this role often includes assisting with running errands/shopping, food prep/cooking, tidying the home/assisting with laundry, transportation of children and home organizing/projects. Some families benefit from having an assistant for a couple hours a day or even just a few hours a week. By off-loading some of the tasks that need to be completed to someone outside the family, it often allows for more quality family time to be spent doing fun activities together that the family enjoys.
The bottom line is that To Do lists, like most things, can be a helpful tool or a huge burden. You get to choose! I’d love to know your tips and tricks for making your To Do work for YOU! It takes a Village…
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