If you are reading this, you probably already know the basics of getting organized and multitasking. You have your planners and to-do lists. So, I won’t talk about that. Here are some strategies that I employ to keep my busy life in check, and accomplish a majority of my daily goals.
1. Every moment counts. Every moment adds up. Literally. Stolen kisses with the husband, hugs from the kiddos, reading a paragraph while waiting in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s, or anywhere. It adds up to a page or chapter read at the end of the day. It adds up to memories made with loved ones.
2. Your phone is your office. This goes along with #1. I have all my textbooks available on my phone. Most of my blog posts are drafted on my phone, my weekly study guides and reading assignments for residency are also drafted on my phone. So, at the end of the day, all I have to do, when I sit in front of my computer, is add finishing touches. This is a great strategy because, when I finally have time to myself after Tobe's bedtime, its usually not a whole lot.
3. Move fast, be efficient and deliberate. I have a plunger story to illustrate this point. lol. Last week, 10 minutes before I had to leave for work, my 2 year old clogged the toilet again (2nd time in a month) with a wad of toilet paper. I had to go down two flights of stairs to get a plunger. It was 8:31 am when I discovered the clogged toilet. I checked the time when I was done getting the plunger and unclogging the toilet, and it was 8:33 am! I kid you not. It all happened in 2 minutes. I felt like I had traveled in time. How had I done all that in 2 minutes? By sprinting and working really fast. Phew.
4. Have a back-up plan in case you run out of time. Yes, I have my hands full and being late is usually not an option for me. There have been times when I've had to dash out of the house with my hair in a Barrett because I didn’t have time to straighten it. (I turned it into a fashion statement.) I have had to leave in the middle of mopping up Tobe’s mess to answer an ER call. This is why I have self care items like a comb and deodorant in my bag. I recommend you do the same. That last time I had to wear a Barrett to work, I took my flat iron with me and spent my 25 minutes lunch break straightening my hair in a work bathroom. I had somewhere to be after work and not enough time in between.
5. Get used to a kid screaming your name in the background. (This applies to any other distraction). On my free weekends and evenings, I say to myself - ‘Yay! I can do this and that because I don’t have to work.' Well, that never goes s planed. People tend to overestimate how much they can accomplish when they have a kid or any other distraction around. Kids are constantly calling your name, tugging at your pants, needing something. So you either have to work around this, leave for a little bit, or fall behind. My mind works slower when my toddler pesters me but I am still able to get stuff done. Occasionally, I ask the hubby to take over and I leave for an hour or two to complete my work. That's ok.
6. Be present and deliberate with your time with loved ones. I’m still working on this one. I find that I’m easily distracted by my to-do lists or something else on my phone. I’m working on being away from my phone because when I do, it significantly improves the quality of time shared.
7. Give yourself credit. It can’t all be perfect. This is an area that I am 100% not doing a good job. I tend to dwell on the minutia and count my failures over my successes. I keep thinking about things I could have done better. We have to stop this. Even if it didn’t go perfectly, completing a task is an accomplishment, anyway. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to do your best. As long as you try your best, the important things fall in place.
8. Know your priorities. No one can tell you what your priorities are. No one should. As a person with multiple roles, there will be certain instances when you have to chose one. For example, caring for a sick child. Another situation could be taking time away from everything to study for a life altering exam. Priorities change in different life situations.
9. Have a support person - it can be exhausting. Sometimes you will need someone to talk to. I have my mom and husband for that. Praying and meditating also helps.