As a stay-at-home-mom to little people, I remember feeling so overwhelmed with the amount of things to do. Now, as a somewhat-stay-at-home-mom with older kids, the list has remained the same, but it doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming. There are actual moments in the day where I could sit quietly and read a book if I wanted. The list is still there, but it doesn’t feel as all consuming as it once did. Admittedly, some days I don’t feel like doing anything on that darn list. But, here are some tricks that I have found can help to motivate me and still let me read that book or even (gasp!) watch another episode of whatever Netflix show I am into at the moment. Read on as I go through 5 Tips for Getting Things Done… even when you don’t want to.
1. Set a 30 Minute Timer
This is my number one “go to” task motivator. Whenever I don’t feel like cleaning or meal preparing, or I feel like I don’t have time to do ALL the things, a 30 minute timer helps me focus. I will set a timer on my phone or on my kitchen timer, start a podcast or a good playlist, and I will just GO! I have found that I can usually get the house “Roomba ready” in about 30 minutes.
2. Play “Beat the Clock”
Sometimes, 30 minutes just will not do! Whether I have less than 30 minutes or the task is a little more involved, I will try to get as much done by a certain time. Sometimes, this is “noon” for lunchtime, but a lot of times this is before the kids get home from school. I’ll work until the time is up and then focus on the kiddos getting back. A lot of the times, whatever the task, I usually can finish before the time.
3. Make a Mess!
I don’t like messes. I am a Virgo, people! Order all the time! So, if I really want something organized or accomplished, I’ll make a mess. I do this daily with laundry. I throw all of the clean, not-folded laundry on my bed because I know that this will force me to fold it and put it into piles. There are some nights where that pile gets thrown into a basket in our room, but most of the time I hate the mess on my bed so I will take the time to fold it and put it into everyone’s piles. I do not put away other people’s clothes! I refuse! I’m such a rebel, y’all.
4. Start without Thinking
Sometimes, especially when it’s a BIGGER project, I just have to start. I normally like a plan. I normally like to know exactly how long something is going to take. But, sometimes I have no idea and if I never start, it just won’t happen. Take this blog post and the whole blogging experience so far. I don’t know what I have gotten myself into! But, I have things to say and I know that I needed to just start. I think this is the same for organization. It might not fit nicely into a chosen time, but just start the project. Finishing the task is a whole other skill, but man it feels so good once you do!
5. Pick One Task
2020 was hard for everyone, but if I’m being honest, 2021 was harder for me personally. My mom’s passing was really difficult, and there were days when all the motivation tricks in the world couldn’t help. I remember people telling me to “be kind to myself” for the next year or so, and that’s so wise. My “to do” list will still be there. No one cared if I was productive or not on one day. I needed a nap, so I took a nap. My body was tired, so I rested. On those days, I told myself to pick just one task. One. Sometimes that task was something I would have done anyway, like walking the dogs. Great. I walked the dogs that day. That’s all I needed to do that day. I was good.
Sometimes, being kind to yourself looks like giving yourself permission to take a break from the “have tos.” Sometimes, it looks like eliminating the pressure of making sure everything is perfect. Sometimes, it looks like getting everything done on your to do list because that is what makes you feel great! And sometimes, like maybe right now, it looks like watching a little Netflix with your pup and feeling ok about that too.