How do I manage a full-time career, life, and family?
Got this question from Sense to Dollars:
You seem to be extremely prolific and efficient and organised, esp at work and with this blog–what is your secret?!? Do you procrastinate on anything?
I had to really give this some thought… but it is little things like this:
A) Looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary tasks
- Dry shampoo to extend my hair washing when it is hot and humid (but does NOT replace actual freshly washed hair)
- Vacuuming every other week instead of weekly
- Blogging ONCE every other week or every 2 weeks for 4 hours and pounding out posts until my brain is fried; I also make notes during the week about blog post ideas and then type them all out with a basic skeleton so when I sit down, I can just follow my initial thoughts and structure
B) Making lots of notes:
- Weekly reminder to toss the towels in the wash before leaving for work then drying them when I come home
- Same: weekly reminder to soak my whites before leaving for work, and then when I come home, doing a quick wash & dry
- Making lots of notes about things I have to get done so I don’t lose track of them and sorting them into categories (e.g. House, Car, Baby Bun, Work, Blog so I can see at once in each category what has to get done)
C) Combining them into one big task such as:
- Washing dishes every other day or third day
- Doing ironing ONCE A MONTH — yes I literally let my clothes pile up and then go through all of them at once, when I have the iron out, hot and set up. Much easier. Plus I have tons of clothes so this works out well.
- All the dry cleaning goes out once a month
- Combining all my notes: E.g. Return X, need to return Y, need to pick up Z, and drop by Post Office for stamps — all turns into a 2 hour errand where I do all 3 at once. I don’t just do one errand at a time.
- When I need to do my budget, I make a ton of Budget notes, and then I sit down ONCE a week to compile and enter all of them instead of doing it here and there. Each 15 second task if I were to do it each time I need to, gets cut down in half if I group it all together, as I am already concentrating and working on the pile.
E) Not doing things that suck up a lot of time:
- I have been surfing a LOT less on my free time, like a LOT less. I used to read a lot of blogs in Feedly and surf randomly but this has gone down to once a week if at all.
- Do not bother with my hair — I cut my own hair (and it looks AWESOME, I get complimented a lot and I just smile and say thank you without mentioning the DIY), I don’t dry it (I just let it airdry), I don’t curl it, style it, or mess with it, I just let it do its wild thing.
- Do not bother with my nails — I just put a coat of clear polish. If I had more time, I’d bother with a proper colour or something, but for now, clear shiny coats look like I have done something and don’t show chips easily
- Do not bother with the stigma of not being a super Mommy who makes her own soap and basically lives to serve child — I am the best I can be. I need my own time to myself too and I already spend a lot of time with Baby Bun.
He and I sleep like this at night:
D) Multi-tasking only when appropriate:
- I suck at multi-tasking when I have to really concentrate, but if I am sewing on a button, I can watch a video, or listen to a podcast which then snowballs into a blog post idea or helps me calm down.
- I do not multi-task when I need to concentrate like write posts because I NEED A BRAIN to do it.
- At work, I listen to music or podcasts when I am doing repetitive tasks and don’t need to allocate a lot of brainpower to what I am doing (e.g. analysis)
That’s about it…
Lastly, this is something I’ve observed in myself … and my brain works in blocks. I have had to work for many years to get my brain to think in a logical, rational way where tasks are independent or interdependent on each other — “If I do X, then I need to do Y, then double back to Z, so why don’t I do Z first, then X then Y?”
Now I just do it naturally. The best trick to learn how to get it done and focus on organizing your life is to just splotch it all down on a big To Do list then sort it out.
Some other posts I’ve written on this topic:
- Overwhelmed? Here is how to clear your To Do List
- Organized in 5 steps
- How I organize my life — an old OLD post but still has some good bones