Oops. I did it again. I stopped for too long and let my head fill-up with all of the things I’m doing at once. All of the sudden I felt overwhelmed, and no wonder:
- Etsy Shops (plural)
- Blogs (plural)
- Kids (plural)
- Chores (PLURAL)
- Husband (thank God, singular…though he may have multiple personalities I’m not sure yet)
I know this is the same for you. And the list is really much longer than that, but I didn’t want to remind you and send you clicking away in stressed-out disgust.
Instead, let me offer a little trick for you to try. It may be just my latest fad in keeping myself on-task (I’ve tried a few), but on the days I’ve taken the time to do this I’ve found out that I’m much more relaxed and much more effective. I really do get more done, which I knew was possible but sure seemed elusive.
Keep a Short List of Daily Goals
Goals, as in like the big huge “life goals” are something I’ve got an on-again, off-again relationship with. It depends on if they’re being nice to me or not and, truthfully, I’m not sure they’re as all-powerful as they think they are.
Those goals (get the house paid off, send the kids to Princeton, live in a foreign country for awhile) aren’t what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about today goals.
- Get to that morning appointment on time
- Make sure the kids do their schoolwork
- Get a blog post done for Everything Etsy
- Work on the (top secret) new Etsy shop by:
- Designing one new product
- Try three new photography location/lighting combos
- Make list of exact changes to make to the shop banner for Tim
- Make a deposit at the bank
You get the idea.
The funny thing is that, even if my daily goals seem like a long list, they almost always get done when I write them down. And with much less stress too.
When I try and run it all from memory I can hit about 80% success at best and you’d be surprised how some of the biggest things get forgotten. Last Friday I forgot to put a check in the bank. Not good on a long weekend.
The Key: Write it Down The Night Before
The secret to making this work calmly and easily is to write it down the night before. After things calm down a little, but at least a little while before bedtime, I’ll take a few minutes (it usually only takes five minutes) to make a short list. There are modern-digital-connected-techy ways to do this, but I usually just use a 3×5 card. Don’t tell anyone.
I don’t try to get every single detail, I just write down the most important items. When I write them down I automatically feel better knowing that I won’t forget. And I sleep better.
The next morning when I wake up I don’t really have to stop and plan the next steps because it’s mostly automatic and comes from routine. I just go about my day and glance at my daily goals card from time to time to make sure I’m on-track.
Stop When Your List is Done… Ha! (not)
Tim and I got started trying out this method after reading a post on the popular blog zenhabits. The post author took it a little further by doing a “weekly goals” list and pulling the “daily goals” from that. I don’t do that.
The other thing he did (keyword: he) was stop when he was done with the things on the list. I guess to make life much more enjoyable or something along those lines.
I’m a mom and that’s just funny. I, of course, keep going until I drop. But the key benefit I gain from my daily goals list is that I finish the day feeling reassured that I accomplished the most important tasks for the day and knowing what I hope to do tomorrow.
What works for you? How do you keep your life on task with so very much going on around you? I’d love to hear in the comments!