Terri flopped down, exhausted after another day where she wasn’t exactly sure what she accomplished.
“How can I be this tired?” she moaned out loud.
Surveying the great room, she noted all that was undone.
- Laundry still in baskets ready to be folded
- Dirty dishes in the sink
- Dishwasher door open, half unloaded
- Toys scattered everywhere she could see
- Bills opened on the counter
- Newspapers scattered on the floor by the chair
- Books she’d love to read
Exhaustion overwhelmed her. Bone. Tired.
“At least the kids are in bed and quiet.”
Still sitting, more like half reclining, on the couch Terri felt frustration build. Lately it seemed this was her “normal” routine. And she hated it.
The list of “undone” was growing rapidly, while the list of “done” was falling desperately behind.
“Why can’t I seem to get done what I set out to do each morning? I know what needs to be done, yet I get to after dinner and very few if any of those items are actually done. Most are started but not completed. Ugh! This is so frustrating!”
Have you ever felt this way at the end of your day?
It doesn’t really matter if you work full-time outside of the house or are a stay at home mom or function somewhere in between. There are days when you feel like you accomplish nothing. And that’s frustrating.
No matter how good your intentions are in the morning, it feels like your day gets derailed despite your best efforts.
Here are 5 changes you can make today:
- Evaluate your time wasters. What do I mean by that? One of my biggest ones is social media, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, you name your preferred option. I’ve noticed I can jump on to check on the status of someone or something and then realize 2 hours have passed! Yikes! My planning is now shot to you know where. Other time wasters could be extended phone calls, text messaging, email, or a myriad other things. Most of these things are beneficial, but not without limitations.
- Turn off the TV. Even if you have it on for background noise, it is a distraction from what you need to be doing. This was my number 1 when I was a young mom (and I still get trapped by it if I’m not careful). How many times during the day do you stop to take a quick look at something that caught your eye? Add up those minutes and you’ll be shocked at how those “few minutes” actually add up to several hours. What could you do with those hours instead? How much could you accomplish in that time if you just turn off the TV?
- If you don’t write it down it won’t get done. Okay, you may not agree with me on this one, but I’ve found it to be true in my life. When I create a list of items I need to accomplish within the day or the week, I’m more likely to actually do them. When I simply “have them in my mind” the items tend to slip through the holes in my mind and never get done. This creates more frustration along with wasted mental energy because I’m trying to remember everything I have to do. Ease your mind. Write the items down where you will see them and not forget about them. Use paper and pencil or digital means, but write them down.
- There’s no such thing as multi-tasking. I used to pride myself in being a good multitasker. In fact, I even said that in several job interviews. However, researchers say what we call multitasking is really task-switching and it wastes productivity! One study even hints that your IQ drops every time you multitask, similar to skipping a night of sleep or smoking marijuana. Multitasking raises your stress level thus lowering your stamina. Talk about a joy stealer! You’re better off focusing on one task at a time, completing it and moving on to another. This allows you to get into a flow state where you are more productive in less time and make fewer mistakes.
- Plan your days or others will plan them for you. This is called intentional living. I’ve wasted an embarrassing number of years doing the exact opposite. I allowed the tyranny of the urgent to rule my days. Thus many tasks were left undone to the point that many permanently dropped off my radar. Oh sure, I was “busy” but at what? And why? The harsh reality is every person on this planet has the exact number of hours in each day. Time is finite. You can’t change it, but you can maximize it through living intentionally. Thus, I’m learning to plan my days so that when others have great ideas about what I should be doing that day, I know if their plan coincides with mine or not. Makes saying “no” when I should much easier and saying “yes” more joyful.
It’s been said that failing to plan is planning to fail. I don’t want that to be my epitaph.
Therefore, I’m changing my unhealthy patterns. I’ve decided it’s time to live intentionally. The past is gone but I’m learning from it. As my friend, Kary Oberbrunner says, “Up until now, I’ve [fill in the blank].” The future begins today.
What about you? Will you join me and choose to live intentionally? Leave a comment below. I’d love to hear what you do to create the life you want to live.
Capture the extraordinary in the ordinary today.