To say ‘no one understands busy more than me’, is an understatement! With four children under the age of six, I am a stay-at-home mom during the day and (cue Wonder Woman) spin into the Wedding Planner, CEO and Events Expert/Instructor when the clock strikes! I run two companies while I run the house. And the house is a farm. With lots of kids. Under six.
The reality is, when I don’t have class or appointments at night, I will go to bed at 7:45 p.m. and it’s from sheer exhaustion. I fall asleep upon impact of pillow. I completely understand the defeated feeling of being physically and mentally exhausted from trying to have everything done. But it’s not a bad idea to at least aim for perfection and do everything we can, to be as productive as possible. Because at the end of the day, when I put my head on that pillow, I do it easily because I did the best I could. It’s not to say that I do not have days where I wish I could have done more. Or that I feel like I am failing. There are days I question if I did my best in raising my children. Was I nice enough? Was I tough enough? And for those of you who find this familiar, this is normal and shows self-awareness. But my point is to not aim for mediocrity. Be ok with it. Manage it.
Here are some of my favorite tricks that help me do it all.
The 3 Minute Rule
Have you ever heard the term ‘you can do almost anything for just 3 minutes?’ Well, it’s true. You can tell yourself: OK I don’t feel like folding the laundry or I don’t feel like making those vendor calls tonight. But if you tell yourself: I am going to work on this task for only 3 minutes, one of two things will happen. You might grab those 3 minutes of productivity under your belt and then at the end of the 3 minutes will feel like you accomplished something even though it wasn’t everything. Or even better, you have gained momentum and created a sense of accomplishment, where you decide to simply finish it off. Because you already completed 3 minutes of that task. Finishing it off might only mean another 2 minutes? It might mean another 20. But either way, you will be able to feel good about yourself because you accomplished something. And that’s not just great. It’s inspiring.
The Space Shuttle Countdown
Do you remember the excitement of counting down for something wonderful to begin? Well, sometimes I don’t feel like driving to the office. Sometimes I don’t feel like cleaning the house. At times I don’t even want to get out of bed! But what I do (and picturing this is a riot) is I count down backwards from 10. Almost like I am lifting off. I know this might sound a little odd, but it works. I have this sense of waiting to start something exciting to happen and then I do it. Full throttle.
Lying to Myself
Yes, I lie to myself! Do you ever go food shopping and spend a ton of money on groceries, only to be so exhausted, that later on you don’t feel like cooking and order in? Well let’s just say I have spent way too much money on pepperoni pizza. While I don’t feel like cooking a meal, I lie to myself and say: I’m not going to cook an entire meal but I am just going to boil the water. OK I’m not going to cook a meal but I’m just going to put the oven on 350… And I keep going…I keep telling myself that I will only do so much (and in baby steps) because that’s all I can handle in that moment. But guess what? You’re already halfway there.
A Fun and Easy Task
This may seem silly, but I promise, it works! Add to that Memo (or Post it!) one ‘small and fun thing to do.’ There is something to be said about physically crossing off an item on your To-do list. There is a sense of satisfaction. So, if you have this list of “To do’s” written down in front of you and you include one that only takes a few minutes and one that you actually enjoy, you will have that sense of instant gratification. For example, ‘spend three minutes on the Neiman Marcus website and look up shoes for that Wedding you are attending in August’. No, I’m not kidding. It also might inspire you to tackle the rest of your list!
Touch it; do it!
And this is exactly as it sounds. You picked up that file of your most overwhelming clients? Now you are going to handle the task that’s waiting inside it. You touched it and now you are going to conquer it. Be careful not to pick up a task that you might not be able to finish. But if you did ‘touch it’ simply apply the 3 minute rule and ‘do it!’
Well, I hope this helps you out. If you can not apply all 5 to your daily routine tomorrow, give some of these tricks a try and see what works. And remember, tomorrow is always a new day!