As moms and entrepreneurs, it’s a daily battle (read: war) to find that elusive balance. Besides hiring the staff of Downton Abbey, how does one fit a full day’s work, Instagrammable breakfasts, a clean house, diaper changes, storytimes and train-track building, date nights with the husband, time with friends, lunch, scrolling aimlessly through social media, pretty Pinterest dinners, showers, sleep, some form of exercise, and all the other to-do list items into 24 hours? Too often, our to-do list becomes the boss of us, instead of the other way around. Here’s the recipe for reclaiming priorities:
- Write your top three priorities for the year. Big-picture priorities. Three things you’ll be happy you deemed important on your death bed. Set aside. And remember that though a priority may be worthy, it may not be the year to make it a priority.
- Grab your planner, calendar, notebook—wherever you plan your life day-to-day. Transfer all your to-dos and obligations on a separate sheet of paper, with dates if applicable.
- Now. Cross out everything from your planner pages. Literally everything. Feel how liberating it is. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
- On those blank planner sheets, make time for your priorities. Next, schedule in the things desperately needed for life to go on (like getting your car fixed or filling out insurance forms before your coverage expires). Everything else, keep on that separate sheet of paper so they don’t loom and dictate your days. You’ll get to them when you get to them, and if you don’t, life goes on and you are happier for it. You might even find you can completely throw away that sheet of paper. It’s surprising how much ends up on our to-do lists that we don’t even need to do or want to do. Things we do because our priorities aren’t strong and clear enough, or we’re subconsciously afraid of judgment, or we have trouble saying no and establishing boundaries. If it isn’t a clear yes, it’s a clear no.
- That’s it! Enjoy doing (some of the) things you didn’t have time for before!