This is Part 3 in my time management series. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 in the archives!
If you ask any time management expert, they’ll tell you that the key to succesful time management is simple realizing you cannot do it all. When you think you can finish everything that’s vying for your attention, you’ll inevitably fail and leave something important undone. However, knowing that the chances are slim of ever completing everything you need to, want to and have to allows you to prioritize to get the most important done.
Today, I want to specifically talk about prioritizing your chores and home management to-do lists. As a mom of three little ones, it sometimes seems like all I do is clean up…from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed.
I love having a clean home, but as time has gone by and we’ve added each child to our family, I’ve simply had to relax my standards. It’s been a slow process, but the key has been identifying my pressure points – the things that make me nutty if they’re left undone – so that I can get those out of the way.
These will be different for everyone, and to identify your pressure points, you have to first let go of other people’s expectations and focus on the things that are important to you.
Maybe your mother would be appalled at the pile of clean dishes on your counter waiting to be put away or your best friend would never leave a stack of papers on the foyer table as a reminder to take care of something. But if those things work for you – and don’t drive you nuts! – then you need to figure out which areas do nag at you so that you can worry about those first and the dishes and pile of papers later.
For example, about a year ago I realized that having our bed made in the morning was a huge pressure point for me. For some reason, I never feel on top of things if the bed is not made, but once I make it, I start to feel more in control. Once I realized this, I started making the bed as soon as I got up in the morning so that I don’t get distracted by real life once my girls start waking up for the day.
I also don’t mind if our main living area is messy during the day. I mean, it’s our living area, so I expect there to be toys and activities and projects spread out through the kitchen and family room. However, for me, having the bedrooms straightened and picked up is important. I know this is the exact opposite of how many other people feel, but since it’s one of my pressure points, I simply straighten up the bedrooms each morning as we’re getting ready for the day, moving anything that doesn’t belong in the bedrooms into the main living area so that I can find a home for it when I have time.
How about you? Can you identify your pressure points? Are there any that maybe you’ve been ignoring that continue to nag at you each day? Can you make those a higher priority and get them done so they don’t continue to bug you?