You guys! I am getting things done! Put your hand up if you, like me, record things to do in a planner, on your phone, or on virtually every scrap of paper you can find because checking things off is just so much fun. Anyone? Anyone? The satisfaction of a good "it's done!" check mark just cant be beat!
But, like with everything in life, there is opposition in all things. When I am on the ball with getting down to business, it's fairly safe to assume that the four small dictators who rule this household are reeking havoc elsewhere.
For example, I was taking care of some laundry yesterday (you haven't seen a mountain of laundry until you have been to my house!) and this is what I discovered upon emerging from the laundry room:
Pretty funny, eh? Kids are just the very best things (and the very worst things if your end-goal is a clean and tidy home or sufficient time to do IT ALL - I am constantly reminding myself to choose joy and memories over cleanliness and work).
I'd be lying if I pretended it wasn't a battle though. I am working on transitioning the battle from being one between people, and instead making it with myself and my own expectations of order. When you are a mom to a bunch of small people, an entrepreneur who thrives on getting things done, and a creative who gets distracted and sucked in to the need to make all things beautiful, home life can be a challenge.
I am learning though. And I'd love to share with my Mom-Tribe some of the strategies I've come across for Surviving the World (Mess) of little people, home, and work. So, here are my 3 Tips to Getting Stuff Done.
1. Set Realistic Goals (that make you stretch just a little). How many of you have heard that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. when you set them? No? Well, it's just a handy little acronym to remember that our goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. What I like about this acronym is that our goals for the day should be both ATTAINABLE and REALISTIC but also just outside our comfort zone so we can improve every day. In my life and business, that means that sometimes, my goals are to make my bed and take my kids outside. Sometimes they are to edit 2 galleries of images, clean the studio, prepare marketing materials, plan out social media posts, and email clients. Sometimes, my goal is to snuggle my baby on the couch for an hour. BUT, let me tell you: whichever goals are penned into my planner for that day, I feel a major boost of satisfaction when I can check them off. So, even if I might not always get EVERYTHING done, I still feel like I get lots done because I have recorded goals for the day.
2. Allocate Your Time. Remember when I said I'm a creative that often spends way too long making something beautiful or goes a bit crazy with one little thing? Yes... well... it's the truth. I don't know about you, but when I neglect 90% of my duties to tend to one little thing for way too long, I feel like junk afterwards. It is not a feeling I like to feel, and it is not a really that lends itself to a satisfied life. So, I allocate my time to different tasks and get a wide variety of things done. Generally, I start my day by making my bed, helping my awesome husband get the kids up, dressed, and ready, doing a short family devotional, and getting people where they need to be. When I get home, I spend 1-1.5 hours cleaning my kitchen and doing my other daily household chores (self-appointed). Then we have lunch and I do 1-2 hours of work. After school, I spend time with the kiddos, helping with their chores, snacks, and reading. Then, we do dinner prep. Once the kids are asleep, I do a bit more work or spend some time with my husband, It is a busy life; but a satisfied life where stuff gets done if I don't get distracted by one or two tasks for way too long.
3. Realize that I am in Charge. I have been listening to a few podcasts lately where the common message has been that I am in Charge of me. Now, that's not a revolutionary truth; and it isn't really even a truth that helps me to physically get stuff done. BUT, it is true; and it does help me to get stuff done in a round about way. It's a phrase that I use plenty when helping my children navigate their emotions. When Noelle is having a meltdown because Max is singing Jingle Bells next to her in the van, you'll hear me say "Honey, you aren't in charge of what Max does or doesn't do. But, you are in charge of you and how you feel about it...." I probably don't use it on myself as much as I should though. When my children are in destruction-mode, I will often find myself feeling exasperated, frustrated, and angry. How can I get ANYTHING done when I constantly have to police and clean up after the children!?!?! Well, it turns out, when I separate how I my feelings from my children's (or my spouse's) behavior, I feel better, and I am able to accomplish much more - likely because I'm not wasting a bunch of time getting frustrated, and having LOOOONG conversations regarding their behavioral problems and how they affect ME. Once I realize that no one can make me feel anything that I don't want to feel (regardless of WHAT my Masters of Disaster have done), things get much much easier to navigate and disasters get tidied up together.
I hope these little tips help you if you are feeling overwhelmed in your self-appointed jobs.
And, don't forget, I'd love for you to add to my work-load by giving me the privilege of photographing you and your sweet babies! The Sidney-based Studio is open weekday evenings or Saturdays for Maternity, Newborn, or Baby sessions. Outdoor sessions are currently being booked on Saturdays but Spring is coming so more outdoor availability will be posted soon!