Prioritizing a Full Plate

 

I find myself asking the same question each morning when my alarm goes off- “There’s so much on my to do list- where should I start?” Sometimes the answer is obvious if I or my kids have somewhere to be at a specific time. But I’m talking about when the answer is not so obvious and our plate is overflowing with responsibilities needing to be completed and each one seems to be screaming for attention. How should I organize and prioritize before I get so overwhelmed that nothing gets done or I feel like I’m only doing it half way? Here are some of my favorite suggestions that have helped me take a beat, take a breath and power through when I feel anxiety creeping in.

Have a plan but be flexible: Whether the night before or first thing in the morning, I like to write down everything I need to or want to accomplish for the day. Then I divide the list into urgent versus non-urgent. It’s also imperative- and this one took me years to figure out- to have some flexibility within that list. Things definitely don’t always go according to plan and I have learned that a flat tire or a sick child rearranges that to do list pretty quickly.

Be Honest: When prioritizing your day be honest with yourself about how much you can physically take on. Another lesson I’ve learned is that nothing deflates me faster than not accomplishing my goals because I have set unrealistic expectations. Whether it’s exercise or work related or anything else, we can avoid burn out and long term frustrations by setting attainable goals and being honest with ourselves about our capabilities.

Know when to say when: If a project is taking way longer than expected or you get knee deep and realize the end result is not what you thought it would be, we need to know when to let go and reassess. This can be especially hard if we have a tendency to strive for perfection but again, knowing our limits and being honest about the value of a project can free up time and energy for more important chores or goals. Not completing an item on our list is not a failure if it allows us to complete something more important or meaningful.

Ask yourself who you are doing it for: I have been known to say yes or commit to something for the wrong reasons. In recent years I have learned that before I commit to something that is going to take time, money or energy away from other priorities, it better be for the right reasons. Doing something to please somebody else is not a good enough reason unless that somebody else is a top priority as well.

Simplify wherever possible: It’s not wonder we live in a world obsessed with hacks and shortcuts. Technology has provided us with many useful tools to tackle our responsibilities. This is the reason Simplify Supper was born in the first place- me trying to simplify the daily need to feed my family because I chose family meal time as a top priority in our home. Search out the tools and products that work for your individual needs and don’t ever be embarrassed to ask for help.

 

Krista Numbers

Krista is the founder of Simplify Supper. She is passionate about making family dinner a priority and strives to provide simple solutions to make it happen.

Feb 02, 2014
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