Who’s a little overwhelmed?

When you have a to-do list a mile long — yet you consistently come up with new projects and ideas — it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And let things slip away. But I’ve always been of the mind that if you want something badly enough,  you’ll find a way to make it happen. In my case, it just gets tricky because the number of things I really want is steadily increasing — and I’m determined to find a way to make them all happen.

The good news? Over the past few months I’ve actually been able to come up with a plan that lets me make progress on my many goals on a consistent basis, plus gives me time to work on new ideas and be creative. It even gives me time to sleep and eat and all that important stuff. It looks perfect, written down in my planner. Of course kids don’t always let the perfect plan actually take place, but with a little persistence and determination on my part, it takes place enough of the time that I’m confident it’ll all work out.

With all that being said, I’m busier than ever these days, but I feel like I’m actually making a bit of progress. If I could just get a couple of things to slip into place — like that darn cash flow problem — I’d be in pretty good shape.

 

The Plan

My dad is always telling me to focus on one thing at a time. And in theory I agree with him. You make the most progress quickest if you just focus on one thing. But, unfortunately, my brain doesn’t work like that. Sometimes I can get absorbed in one task for a while, but most of the time I get bored. And my mind starts drifting. And I think about all the other things I have to or want to do instead. So my “perfect plan” allots time to each task I want to do — ideally about an hour — before it’s time for something else. I have time in the morning before the kids are awake, and I have time in the evening after they go to bed. In between there are tasks, too — things that I can get done with them or working around them while they do something on their own.

The plan is this:

Mornings:
When I wake up in the morning (at either 4:30 or 5), Monday through Friday, I start a load of laundry. While the laundry is going, I take care of other tasks. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I will be starting to blog again (this is a new addition, obviously!), but each morning is also assigned a project. Current projects include working on one of my websites, posting items on eBay (either personal items or items for my business), tagging items for the local kids’ tag sale, working from home for my day job, etc. Then, once Avery is awake and comes downstairs (usually about 6 am), I get him breakfast, eat breakfast myself, and start the day. He usually watches TV or plays video games for a little while during breakfast, and I will take the opportunity to do a bit of cleaning or finish up that morning’s project. Then, once Emily is awake (she usually wakes up an hour or so after Avery, about 7 or 7:30), we do what we have to do to get ready for the day: brush teeth, get dressed, get things together if needed. Then the meat of the day begins.

Middle of the Day:
Once the kids are at school or Nana’s house, it’s time for me to go to work. The number of hours depends on the day, and sometimes I’ll do a quick errand before or after work, as well. Then it’s time to get the kids. Sometimes we’ll go to the library or the park, or we’ll just head home and play. The time before dinner is “free time.” Sometimes errands will creep in, but most of the time it’s just whatever playtime or tasks come up.

Evenings:
Around 5 or 5:30, depending on Emily’s nap time and what we’re doing beforehand, we’ll eat dinner. Dinner is followed by a little playtime, then bedtime. The kids go down pretty early, usually by 7. Then it’s Mommy time. I’ll take care of a little cleaning in the kitchen if needed, then start my evening projects. There are usually 2 projects on any given night, one business- or money-related like the morning tasks, the other of my choice (often business- or money-related, too, but sometimes cleaning, writing, or crafts instead). Then it’s shower and bed. I’m usually in bed by 9:30. I have found that 7 1/2 hours is a good sleep length for me, so that works pretty well.

Weekends:
Weekends are often much the same as weekdays, but they can be a bit more laid-back. I don’t try to fit in quite as much on weekends unless I’m feeling particularly motivated. During the day we usually try to do a fun family activity, such as go to a museum or event. Evening tasks are usually my choice rather than business-related, and sometimes I don’t have a project in the morning, though I may sneak in a load of laundry.

 

How It’s Going

On days that I get a good night’s sleep (in other words, I’m not interrupted more than once), it goes pretty well. I’m motivated to get things done. On days that it seems I’m woken up ever hour or two (happens sometimes with 2 kids and a handicapped dog), the morning or evening project tends to slip away. But overall I think it works out well.

It took me a while to figure out this routine. And I know it certainly wouldn’t work for everyone. But with my personality (and the sheer number of things I want to accomplish every day), this has been the best solution for me. Very little boredom, since I’m mixing things up regularly, and progress on my many projects.

What do you think of my day? What routines work for you?

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3 thoughts on “Who’s a little overwhelmed?

  1. Linda Ramos

    Vanessa, I truly admire the fact that with such an extremely busy and exhausting schedule that you always find time to spend with the family just doing fun things. It is so important and makes for so many of the memories your children will cherish forever.

    1. Vanessa

      Thanks, Linda! I do try to make sure we have fun time together. They’re only little once! And I want to make sure we’re building happy memories, not just memories of to do lists and working.

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