Monday, October 9, 2017

Make It Better Monday: Priorities

One of the biggest reasons I ended up being away from blogging for so long, and why my posts are so sporadic, is that I have had way too many things going on and blogging just did not make the cut when I arranged my priorities.  I have a goal to eventually get ahead with some scheduled posts so that you will have something to read even on days when I cannot blog, but until that day I just need to do my best to post when I can.

When I was feeling overwhelmed I wrote out a list of everything I needed to do, whether it be on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, or even one-time basis.  I originally wrote mine on sticky notes, with different colors representing the frequency of which it needed to be done.  Nothing was too mundane, including brushing my teeth and making and eating meals.  It helped me to see how much I was doing on a regular basis, even when I felt as though I got little to nothing done and it is a good visual for others to see as well.  I then took all the notes that contained a task that could be done by someone else.  Some of those tasks I assigned to others, and for the rest, I let them know I would appreciate their help in getting them done.  In some cases, they had a vested interest in helping, such as menu planning or food prep and others go completely ignored by them.  I then prioritized the lists (more below on how to do this) and arranged my sticky notes in the order things needed to be done at that moment in time.  Each day, I would begin at the beginning of the list and work my way down until I ran out of time.  At the end of the day, I would re-arrange any priorities that needed moving and begin again the next day.  I no longer am using the sticky notes, but I still use the concept and do write out the things I need others to do on sticky notes.  I keep their sticky notes on poster board on my fridge and they put the sticky note on my bedroom door when it is completed.  I have been able to get ahead in some areas and am finding I actually have more time to do things, which is why I am able to blog again.

If this is something you are interested in, you may be asking yourself, how do I know which priorities should come first (or third or twentieth, etc)?  This is not something I can answer for you, but I can help you figure out what YOUR priorities are.

  1. If you believe in a higher power, pray for guidance and assistance in figuring out what you should do first.  If you do not feel this would be helpful, feel free to skip this step.  For me, it really helps and often makes all the difference in my planning.
  2. Take a little time to think about your goals.  Be sure you are thinking about all areas of your goals.  This may include personal health, work responsibilities, family relationships, spiritual, educational, financial, etc.  
  3. Now as you look at each of the tasks you need to do on a daily basis, ask yourself how much it helps you to reach your goals.  If it helps significantly, it needs to be near the top of the list.  
  4. Also, ask yourself if the task really needs to be done as often as you think it does.  Clean dishes and laundry are important for family health, but folding laundry, or at least putting it away, may not be quite as important. People can grab a clean pair of underwear out of a laundry basket almost as easily as they can a dresser drawer.  When you reach the point that nothing more important needs to be done (or you need your laundry basket), then fold the laundry and put it away.
  5. Some things need to be done on a certain day, those obviously become a priority before they are due.  
The nice thing about this plan is that it is adaptable.  If you were not planning on changing your bedding this week, but a child threw up in the middle of the night, you can quickly move that task up the priority list for today and down the list for next week.  Likewise, you may decide that somethings were really not as important as you initially thought and you can easily rearrange them. I have found I work way more efficiently when I know what I am working on next.  Life just seems somewhat less overwhelming when I have a plan in place.  This plan works well for me.  Your priorities may be different than mine, and they probably are.  That is ok.  We all have different goals and different responsibilities.  Let me know how you plan your day.

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