Okay, so you know you have to get stuff done. You have the to do list all written down and ready to schedule but you get stuck.
Seriously though, what gets done first when it all feels like a priority? How do you avoid feeling guilty when you simply cannot get it all done at the time you want?
If you could benefit from an easy and efficient way of organizing your to do list then you, my friend, are in the right place. It’s not difficult to actually get things done and get more free time, you just need the right system that works for your lifestyle as a working mom. Part of that system is knowing how to prioritize.
I want you to get results without the hassle, stress and time consuming learning curve of a million different tools to get your organization game down.
It’s key to know what truly matters most to your heart and contributes to you being your best self. This helps to start to ease that guilt. We’ll cover this.
About that system
Back to finding an efficient system that works. Working moms need a set it and forget type of system. Am I right?
Overwhelmed, behind, inadequate, always trying to play catch up.
If these sound familiar then keep reading to start turning it around.
As moms in general we start to blame ourselves when we feel this way. Again, it’s not you, it’s your system.
For example, when a medication error happens at work we look at the system first, not the person.
How are your systems set up to work for you, your lifestyle and your unique personality?
No feeling under the sun is new mama. I can guarantee you that I have felt this way and nearly every working mom has been there.
You’re doing a great job no matter what those feelings tell you.
My goal is to make this part of your life easier with a system to try. It’s given other working moms success and I want the same for you.
Let’s get started.
How to prioritize your working mom life
I love love love talking about values. Everyone has that one thing they nerd out about. Mine is the combo of values and time management. Once I put the two together it was like a light bulb went off. Getting this down will breathe life into your days.
What are values?
Values are things that make you the best version of yourself. For the most part they are based in a feeling or emotion. These will fuel your core decisions.
How to determine values
To determine your values, start thinking of things that build you up. If they were missing you would feel out of whack.
What is most important to you?
God, spirituality, health, family, security, adventure, etc…
It’s okay if these are not all valued equally, they’re not supposed to be.
Make a list of your values.
2. Play the match game : Is your time valuable?
Match your weekly to do list to your values so you can clearly see what’s outside of your values.
The point here is to be aware of how and where you are spending your time.
Step 1 : write down your to do list for the week
Step 2 : write down your values
Step 3 : compare the lists; are there items on list 1 that feed list 2?
3. Let’s prioritize
Decide which items on your to do list are urgent and important. Often times we swap these words out but they are not interchangeable.
Urgent : requires your immediate action
Important : tasks that contribute to your long term values, goals and mission
Deadlines will help you determine which tasks are urgent or important.
Sometimes a task is both and we’ll cover that right now. Keep reading.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
There’s a handy tool called the Eisenhower Decision Matrix that helps create a visual picture of how to prioritize your tasks.
It tells you when to do the “4-D’s” (do,decide,delegate,delete)
|Important||Do(complete now)||Decide(schedule it)|
Do : This happens when a task is both urgent and important short deadlines, critical to dos, problems needing immediate attention
(attend kid’s daycare recital after work today)
Decide : Important only tasks planning, long term goals, serious hobbies
(set up a retirement fund)
Delegate : Urgent only tasks that can be handled by someone else interruptions, busy work, time consuming
(set up staff meeting this week)
Delete : Tasks that are neither urgent or important no real purpose to you overall, not serving you, wasting time
(host the Saturday morning book club)
*it’s okay to do things and make time for others, just make sure it’s scheduled properly
Break it down
Your “do” list may seem like it piles on quickly because you’re so needed and obviously busy.
However, it is necessary to make time for the important things in your life. These will mostly be what’s feeding into those values we discussed and they give you a break from the hustle of true urgency.
Your mindset starts to shift and your outlook on the tasks become more appreciative and rewarding.
Pay yourself first
The trick is to break the long term important tasks down into smaller urgent tasks with tighter deadlines.
This way you make baby steps each week towards reaching your life goals, filling your cup along the way.
Slow and steady wins the race mama. Sometimes you have to be fast and steady.
The point is that you stay in motion towards your goals that fill you up the most. This is progress as opposed to looking back after months or even years wishing you had done something.
I’ve been there
That’s how I was with this blog. Can you believe it was a dream of mine for years before I finally got around to it? Yep, years!
I kept it in that mental “one day” file a.k.a “important/not urgent” section, but I never scheduled it.
Once I actually scheduled it and started breaking it down into smaller chunks with concrete deadlines I finally stepped up to the plate.
Faith in God, self expression, health, service and quality time are some serious values of mine.
When I take steps to work on my blog I get to exercise those values in different ways and I get fulfilled each time.
As a result I feel the work makes me a better wife, mama and worker, etc.
Do you see why values and time management are my favorite couple? I warned you it makes me nerd out lol.
4. Order and Schedule
So after you have your matrix all filled in you will need to start scheduling. Actually get those tasks on the calendar with reminders. If you don’t document it, then it wont happen.
Buuut how does a working mama decide the order in which things get done?
I suggest you pick something from your values list that you can work on and pay yourself first with that.
Give yourself some small wins to keep you going.
Remember your important and urgent time lines.
I suggest creating a weekly schedule to avoid getting overwhelmed.
5. Revisit and clean up
Revisit your boundaries and evaluate any conflicts and their significance.
Take a look at which duties got left off of the values list and the important and urgent lists? Can you delegate or eliminate these?
When delegating is not an option
I’ve always seen delegating as a privilege. To keep it real, not every working mom has that option. If this is you, please know that I see you and I feel you. You’re doing the best you can with what you have. Hard work always pays off.
There may not be family, funds or even staff available to delegate.
If not, then can you change your mindset until you can? Is it a means to an end?
If so, then maybe the mindset for that task is that it’s a temporary means to you reaching your valuable goal.
How did it go?
Okay, so after completing this exercise you should have outlined a reliable system for prioritizing your tasks.
Have you already started identifying some of your values? Did you learn something about yourself? This system will help you dive deeper.
Start feeling better about the work you do and pay yourself first by completing some tasks that are at the top of your values list first.
It helps you to have a clearer mind as you conquer the rest of your to do list.
Leave a comment and let me know a value or two of yours.
Seem like a lot? Get the shortcut
It may seem like a lot, but that’s just because of the detail and explanation.
Download a free road map of this system to get you from identifying your values to creating an action plan to complete your to do list in a way that makes you feel good and successful along the way.
There’s a free copy for you in the Exclusive Steadfast 365 Library.
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Free up more quality time in your life and get stuff done!
Stop the cycle of working through a to do list with regret and that sinking ship feeling. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Grab your free road map and go from feeling overwhelmed and behind to accomplished and less stressed. I’ll see ya there!