Thursday, January 15, 2015

Motherly Advice...don't fear the deadline...

Prioritising is something I struggle with constantly, and I decided recently that it was another area, where I really had to consciously treat my role in the home like a business.
I love lists. A good comprehensive list of daily, weekly and monthly tasks, really helps to keep me on track. Without lists, I'd struggle to accomplish half of what I do.
But what I've learned is that prioritising those tasks, is just as important. You can have a list and go at it like a bull at a gate, and still find yourself in a spot of bother if you haven't prioritised those things that need immediate attention, as opposed to the ones that aren't quite as urgent.
Set a deadline
I set myself deadlines all the time. Hourly ones sometimes, but mostly weekly and monthly ones. I see many friends doing this unconsciously with various challenges in their lives.
To do this effectively though, you need to accept that different tasks will have different deadlines according to their level of importance, or the date or time by which they must be completed.
Here are some strategies to help you clarify this idea.

1. Urgent vs Important
There is a difference between the two.
Ask yourself, 'what is the worst thing that can happen if I don't accomplish this task'. Often that will help you differentiate between 'urgent' and 'important'.
Washing here, might be able to wait until tomorrow, but it means I'll have twice as much washing, and nowhere to hang it, as I only have limited clothesline space. Even worse if it rains tomorrow, and today is sunny and warm...perfect drying weather. So maybe it really does need doing today even though it seems unimportant.
2. Assess the value of this task in your life today
The worst thing that can happen if I don't drop in on my son today is that he won't have his 15 minutes of Mum conversation, but if I don't get some sewing tasks completed, I'll be overspending on a birthday gift for a fussy friend. So the sewing is kind of urgent, even though it seems like a leisure activity to me.
Baking on the other hand, can wait as I've baked already this week, and whilst we're getting low, I have time to bake tomorrow afternoon and already have two easy recipes in mind...a quick orange cake with marmalade glaze, and my 15 minute microwave luxury all good and won't need more than 20 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking tomorrow afternoon.
3. Arrange tasks by effort required, starting with those that require the most energy, to maximise your get-up-and-go
Get the bathroom cleaning and vacuuming out of the way, and save the sewing and ironing for later. Do the grocery shopping first, so you have the energy to unpack and store efficiently, prepping as you go. That's a HUGE money saver.
You get the idea.
4. Budget Priorities

Shopping is not entertainment. You knew that, right?

Yet we often treat it as such.
I have friends who cannot go shopping without returning home with new home decorating items in tow.
Hellloooo....budget priorities! 

It's actually also a really good habit to develop 'Buyers Eyes' when looking at your own home as this can help you prioritise purchase of decorator items that might otherwise prove a huge temptation.
I try to view my home decorating or home improvement/maintenance efforts, with Buyers Eyes a couple of times a year, as this really clarifies what the priorities are in terms of decluttering, rearranging and cleaning, or scheduling new purchases or projects.

In fact a change of season is usually when I'll walk around the house with my Buyers Eyes as that's when some things are stored, and others brought out and aired for use.
5. Self Care Priorities
Another task that I prioritise is exercise and self care.

Whilst I'm not a fanatical exerciser, I do like my 40 minute walk each day. It's good for heart health and quiet time for me, as often the rest of my day does not hold a lot of me time, unless I've finished my tasks for the day.
Haircuts, self-manicures, general grooming, health care appointments and relaxation all deserve priority too. Don't think it's all about the homestead!
6. Remember to take your list with you!
From time to time, I've left the house without my precious lists.
I then have a decision to make.
Do I suffer the inconvenience of having to go back home and get the lists, slowing me down?

Oor do I go to my various shopping destinations, without my lists and have to make several trips to get it right?
Well, you know which one usually wins.

I return home for my lists and make sure I have a cuppa to keep me going while I'm there.

I've wasted some time and fuel, but I'd rather go shopping feeling prepared, and I'd waste far more time AND money, if I didn't have the lists. A good decision which despite having me loop back on a trip, actually ends up saving far more in time and money than not.
Lists and prioritising....not just important in the corporate world.



  1. Dear Mimi,
    From one list lover to another... people often seem to think I get a lot done and am organised. This is in spite of my recent confession about being TERRIBLE in the mornings, suffering migraines, several years of really bad health and all kinds of things! The saving grace is lists and an organiser. These can save so much time, stress and money too. So what time I have in a day is just better used and my week is better run. It would be my biggest help I think. This is a wonderful blog post. Love Annabel.xx

    1. Hi Annabel. Yes I find lists are often a life saver. Particularly so, if you're not feeling up to scratch! Love, Mimi xxx

  2. I am a list maker, Mimi. Unfortunately I often don't realise I have forgotten my list until I get to where I was headed. LOL!

    1. Hahaha Chel! That used to be me too! I've grown up since then ;-) Mimi xxx

  3. without a list of things that need doing I always just wander through me day aimlessly looking for something to do and usually forgetting what it was that really needed doing :)

  4. I find that lists are extremely helpful, but I need to do them more often. I tend to just muddle my way through things during the day, whereas if I put things on paper, the day, week, month runs more smoothly.

    Thank you for this post Mimi, it is a welcome reminder to start making lists again starting this coming week. I bet I achieve a lot more by doing this :)


    1. Muddling is okay too long as it works for you. Mimi xxx

  5. I love lists. The problem is that I will put 12 or more 1-2 hour tasks on a list for an 8 hour day. So it really does come back to prioritizing.

    1. Yes the prioritising makes a HUGE difference. Try it and see if it works for you. Mimi xxx

  6. I am so glad I found your blog! This post is the best advice I have ever run across concerning time planning-it gives me a clearer vision about how to get things done even living with chronic illness. It can be done. Thank you for the inspiration!

    1. I'm so glad you found it helpful. Mimi xxx


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