Does It All Need to Get Done Today?

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A busy mom drinking coffee, holding her son, and working on the computer. I can admit when I’ve hit the wall. Sometimes, I’ve taken on too many commitments. Other times, the daily workload has just gotten too heavy. I often try to do it all, but the truth is, I can’t.

When I feel overwhelmed, I try to prioritize. If I can’t do everything, what can I do to keep moving ahead? Below is a list that will help me get back on track.

1. I don’t let my to-do list get too long.

“No” is a good word. Have I overcommitted myself? Where can I cut back? Not everything on my daily to-do list needs to get done. If it doesn’t need to get done, I let it go!

And as for the things that I want to do but just can’t fit in? I let that go too! Too often, I overbook our schedules, only to realize that we all would have been much happier staying home and making cookies. I cut back when I feel life getting too hectic.

2. I let go of unrealistic and unnecessary expectations.

Once I’ve cut out unnecessary to-do’s, I can focus on prioritizing what’s left. Where can I take some shortcuts? Can we order takeout tonight instead of making dinner? Can I clear the clutter into baskets and save a deeper clean for later? What will help me make progress but still free up some time?

3. I cut the distractions by getting out of the house.

My home and all the chores that go with it can be a huge distraction. I’ll sit down to tackle my to-do list and get distracted that breakfast is still out, the kids’ rooms are a mess again, the clothes are piling up in the laundry room, the dog wants to go for a walk, the fish tank is turning green, and everything else.

At this moment, I want to do the things that are tangible right in front of me. It’s easier to fold the laundry than reply to emails. It’s more satisfying to clean the kitchen than sit inside and make phone calls and appointments.

If I leave my house to finish these things and give myself a set time limit, I can do them much more effectively.

4. I know when my most productive time is.

My most productive time is in the morning. It makes a difference if I can get some emails out and breakfasts made before my kids are awake.

Once the kids are at school, I prioritize the day. Do I focus on organizing the house? Do I need to get some work done first? If I can’t do it all in one day, it’s best to get the most pressing thing done in the morning before the day gets away from me.

I’m certainly not perfect at getting things done. Sometimes, I let things pile up and get behind. When I feel like I’m getting lost, it’s time to ask myself: Does it all need to get done today?

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Kate S. is a mom at home in Fairfield with her 4 kids (2 girls and 2 boys) and one puppy. Kate's sister introduced her to Chris, whom she married in 2010. They welcomed their first daughter in 2012, a son in 2014, another daughter in 2016, another boy in 2018, and finally a puppy in 2021. Kate and Chris's parenting motto would probably be, "Just take them with you." As a family, they continue to enjoy activities like skiing, kayaking, and hiking by taking turns to teach the older kids or strapping babies into backpacks. Kate can be found out and about exploring with her kids, volunteering at their schools, or laughing with other moms at the beautiful chaos of life with children.

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