Yes, you read that right. All of you who think you are Master Multitaskers, probably find yourself surrounded by a pile of projects that are half completed. You are stressed. Your to do list continues to grow. You feel scatterbrained. You feel that you are constantly failing. Is this you, even just a little bit?
Well, it's most definitely me. Or was me. In my life in corporate America, I would pride myself on how many things I could get done in a day. That usually meant working on a presentation, and a report, and checking email, and having a meeting, all at the same time. I was partially present for everything. And I nailed it.
Then I started staying home with my son AND trying to run a business from home. Those same habits just didn't work and I felt myself failing much faster. I couldn't be partially present for my son. I couldn't be partially present for my business. I couldn't partially take care of my home. I needed to find a better system and I needed to find it fast.
The solution was really simple. Stop trying to multitask and do it all. Because let's face it. I wasn't doing it all. I was half-assing the majority of my work, including taking care of my son. I was at a local business meeting, brainstorming ways to get over procrastination, and the leader made a suggestion. This suggestion completely changed how I accomplished my day to day work. Here are the simple steps that I have been using to make sure I completely finish my tasks. You can apply this to any job you have. You can apply this to your housework. You can apply this to your children. If you stick with it, it not only crosses items off of your list once and for all but you feel less stressed.
1. Before you go to bed each night, write down the top six things you want to get done the next day. For me, I write down the business things I am going to work on the next day. Some days, I dedicate it to housework items. Sometimes, I even throw "workout" on there as the top thing that needs to be done. After you read #3, you'll know why...
2. Prioritize these items. What is the most important thing you have to get done? Make sure that is first on the list. It is very important that you are putting things in order by deadline or by importance.
3. When your time allows for those activities, work those activities in order, and DO NOT move to the next one until you have completely crossed off the first one. The key phrase here is when your time allows. Since I work from home, naptime is dedicated to my business. I do not touch the list of things to do until my time is 100% on those activities. By doing that, I stay more present for my son AND business.
4. Don't worry if you don't cross them all off every day. Remember, you put the most important thing to do on your list first. Even if you only got the first two items completed, you just completed the two most important things on your list. That's HUGE. Give yourself some credit!
5. Add and arrange the list nightly. As you complete things, add to the list. Reorganize and reprioritize as you work through things. Pretty soon, you will be completing more in a couple days versus taking weeks to get something done.
6. And most importantly, give yourself a break. Women especially run themselves ragged. We put everyone else first. We are constantly running from job to activity to volunteer to cook to clean. We don't stop. Every now and then, make sure "take a break" is on your list!
Ever since implementing this, I get more done. I stay more present for my son. Even my housework gets completed more often! I find when I stray from this practice, my life starts to go downhill---fast! When that stressed feeling starts, I know I need to pull it in and reorganize.
What about you? How do you make sure you are completing your most important tasks?
Have a great day!