Time: Four Ways to Accomplish More
1. Utilize the 20 minute rule
Eventually there will be a break in your day (i.e. kids finally napping, or a lunch hour). When it happens, set your timer for 20 minutes. Use that 20 minutes to get as much done off your "to do" list as possible. When the timer goes off—and this is imperative—stop. Then, set it for another 20 minutes and do something you enjoy: read a magazine, take a cat nap, call a friend, get lost on your computer, or sit on your porch with an iced tea. Alternate these 20 minute intervals until your break is over. When you allow yourself a mental break, you're likely to be more purposeful with your time. When you're purposeful with your time, you'll get more stuff done.
This is a tough one for moms. In general, we are the keepers of the house, and as such we are used to being in control of kids, bills, cleaning and errands—down to every last detail. Let's face it; sometimes it's easier to do it ourselves because we know that it will get done right. I'm telling you: let go! Assign tasks to each child, even the young ones. If you need help, here is a checklist you can use to get them started. Don't be tempted to go back and fix whatever hasn't been done perfectly. The dishwasher police won't arrest you if the glasses are on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Instead, be happy they're clean and you're free to do something else that mattered.
3. Plan ahead
Meals are an easy place to start. I have two small children, so dinner time is not the time for me to be checking my cabinets to see what I can make for dinner. If I did, we'd end up eating a can of beans, tuna fish, and chocolate kisses. So I plan my meals and make my shopping list a week at a time. If I don't have time one week, then I repeat the list from the week before.
Also, one Sunday a month, I make one big batch of pasta sauce (my husband is Italian and won't do jarred) and one batch of chili; then I bag it up, lay it flat, and freeze it. It gives me at least six homemade meals per month. We're not big soup eaters, but you can definitely use this idea for any broth based soups, too.
4. Keep family time sacred
Having a scheduled family time each week will get you focused on what's important; which is building relationships with your family. Carve out time in your schedule each week that's devoted entirely to family time. Computers, TV and Cell phones are off--yes, they do have off buttons! If this scares you or if you think it will scare your family, just start with thirty minutes. Try to have it at the same time each week. Set it in everyone's calendar so that there is no room for excuses. This is a small step in creating boundaries for your life. Ultimately, when you say "yes" to your family, you're saying "no" to something else. And do you really need "something else" to do?
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