I think that to-do lists are the cat’s meow. I love to make them and feel great when I check things off. Even though I often forget to re-visit it and only mentally check things off my to-do list, it still gives me some satisfaction. I may use my to-do list as a bit of a brain dump, but that’s not the topic at hand here. Have you noticed that once you become a parent, your to-do list pretty much tripled in size? It may have grown even more than that if you’re one of those lucky folks with multiples. It can be so overwhelming and it’s definitely endless. It’s very easy to feel as though you aren’t getting enough done because there’s always something else to do. I’m going to give you some tips on managing multiple tasks that I hope with help you work through this.
Be real, yo
First, let’s be totally realistic here. More than likely, there will never be a day where you cross off every item on every to-do list you have. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it is to let go of some of the overwhelm you’re feeling. I used to always focus on the things that I hadn’t been able to accomplish in the day instead of all the things I was able to accomplish. This is something that many of us do and it’s not great for our mental state. When you go through your days feeling more like a failure than a success, that’s the persona you will perpetuate. Ever hear of “fake it til you make it?” This is a real thing that happens. If you are constantly labeling yourself as a failure, eventually you will encompass that and potentially truly become it. But, if you label yourself a success and force yourself to see the positive things you’ve done, you’re way more likely to be a success and kill it on the daily.
Multi-tasking is a controversial method of managing multiple tasks. If you don’t do it correctly, it can actually slow you down and cause you to be less productive. But, if you do it right, it can certainly be used to your advantage. The most effective way to multi-task is pairing mindless activities with mindful ones. For example, if two things on your to-do list are fold laundry and help kids with their homework, you can probably do both at the same time. Bring the laundry over to wherever you’re planning to help your kids. Whenever they’re working through a problem or you are in between actively engaging with them, fold a few pieces of laundry. It’s just important that you put it back down and redirect your attention to them as they need it. Let’s say two self-care things you want to do are read a book and go for a run. You could probably do both of these things together if you’re willing to listen to an audiobook while you go for your run. Enrich your mind and your body at the same time and come back home with a whole new attitude!
Now, multi-tasking is an art that must be perfected. You cannot pair two mindful tasks together because neither will get enough of your attention and will end up disastrous. You cannot try to help your kids with homework and answer work e-mails at the same time. It’s just not going to be a productive use of your time. But, you can probably get some good conversation in with your partner while you cook dinner or clean up the kitchen (hopefully together) at the end of the day. Look over your to-do list and see what items you can potentially do simultaneously in your day. Really evaluate whether or not you are getting more done in less time. If you aren’t, then that pairing probably isn’t a good choice.
Keep your eyes on the prize
Part of my morning routine thanks to the Sara Dean Sutherland of the Shameless Mom Academy includes a bit of journaling. Each morning I take a few minutes to write down 3 things I want to feel that day, 3 things I want to accomplish that will bring me closer to a goal, and 3 things I’m thankful for. One of my long term goals is to get this blog filled with content and out into the world with the farthest reach possible in hopes of helping as many parents as possible. Today, one of the things I listed as wanting to accomplish is writing a blog post. Here I am, writing it and it feels great! I know this is taking me a little closer to meeting my goal of helping lots of people. I’m also doing this post early in the day, so I’m excited to accomplish the other two key items for today. Once the three main items are accomplished, the rest feels like a bonus. When you’re deciding how to prioritize your tasks, make sure that you are choosing things that help you reach your goals. If your goal is to have a super clean and organized home, spend a little time each day getting part of your house organized. This is a great tip I learned from the Clutterbug Vlog on YouTube. She organized her entire home in 15 minute increments each day. Just squeeze in what you can and fill your soul a little. It will help everything else fall into place.
Share the load
When you have a daunting to-do list and feel the need to be a martyr, it can make accomplishing anything seem impossible. I have a really hard time delegating tasks. I don’t want to be a bother to anyone. But, typically people are willing to help. Maybe you could hire someone to walk the dog. Perhaps there are some kids in a confirmation class at church that need some community hours and you could have them come clean your windows or rake your lawn. Maybe your other parent friends would want to do a babysitting exchange. They can take care of your kids for you for a day and you do the same for them a different day which can allow you both some time to get those difficult-to-accomplish-when-the-kids-are-around tasks. Get creative with this one. Challenge yourself to find ways to involve others in what needs to get done. Utilize your tribe/community/whatever you want to call those people you know and love. More than likely, they’ll be happy to be called upon.
I hope that these simple tips will help you check a few more things off that to-do list each day. If nothing else, I hope it helps you prioritize and bring yourself into your goals for the future, instead of just maintaining what’s happening now. I hope you can feel accomplished more often than you feel overwhelmed. Get creative and change up how you do things and see what you can accomplish. I’m guessing you will surprise yourself.
Much love and productive vibes,
Momma Caped Nerd ❤
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