Do you ever get overwhelmed thinking about all the things you have to get done as a busy parent?
Even during a regular old week, it can feel like your to-do list is miles long, right? It is exhausting while you are in the thick of it and overwhelming when you consider it.
I’ve been there so often! To combat the overwhelm I have felt and even to squeeze in some me time, I have eliminated a bunch of things I was doing and simplified the rest. Now, it’s not that overwhelming and even makes me feel like I have some semblance of having my crap together.
So, after looking back on what I did to make this happen, I’ve written out a 6 step plan to help other overwhelmed parents revamp their responsibilities and tame that to-do list.
Step one: Make a List
Write out a list of everything you are responsible for. Don’t rush this process. Leave this list out so you can add to it as things come to mind over the course of a couple of days. This will include everything from your jobs, volunteer positions, chores at home, etc.
Step two: Eliminate tasks
Look through your list and eliminate everything from that list you can live without doing. As you do so, ask yourself these questions:
- What would happen if I simply did not do this thing anymore?
- Is there someone I could delegate this task to?
- Is it worth my time to do this task or would I be better off hiring someone else to do it?
Cross off every task that you can. Be sure to call anyone you committed to and let them know you can no longer keep that commitment.
Step three: Simplify Tasks
Next, think of which items on your list could be simplified. As you do so, consider these questions:
- Do I enjoy doing this task? Why or why not?
- Think of the place(s) where you perform this task. Is it efficient and clutter-free? If not, how can I make it so?
- Are there aspects of this task that could be done in batches so I’m not doing it as frequently? (like using freezer meals instead of cooking every night)
- Am I too much of a perfectionist when it comes to accomplishing this task? Could I lower my standards so it is not as daunting or time-consuming? (like not scrubbing every dish before loading them in the dishwasher)
- Can I accomplish this task while I am doing something I love to do? (talk on the phone, watch TV, read or listen to a book, listen to music etc.)
- Can I put two tasks together to get both of them done at the same time? (Such as folding laundry while you help with homework)
Step four: Make a plan
Of the tasks that can be simplified or made more efficient, make a plan for each of them and follow through. Give yourself time to rethink things and rework your space to fit your needs.
Step five: Accept
Of the remaining tasks that can neither be eliminated nor simplified, accept them for what they are. Appreciate that you are capable of doing them and that when they are done you are better for it. A good attitude can go a long way for these necessary evils.
Step six: Do your thing
Create new rhythms and routines for yourself and your home so that all the responsibilities flow together nicely. And don’t forget to make the things you love a priority during your weeks to come. Think of one or two things you would love to do but haven’t been able to because you have told yourself you didn’t have time, and go for it! Giving yourself permission to take the time to do things for yourself that restore you and fuel you is what life is all about.
Now that you’ve read through the steps, get out that blank paper and start writing out your responsibilities. You may be surprised by how little you can get away with.
Looking for some inspiration to make your tasks easier on yourself? You’ve come to the right place! Here are some more in-depth streamlining tips for certain tasks:
Getting yourself ready