Breaking the Everyday into Small Pieces

I think we can all agree there needs to be more hours in a day.  Just think about how much more we could get done!  If you’re trying to crank everything out between the hours of 5 PM and 10 PM during the week, then you know where I’m coming from.  It all comes down to simplifying and focusing on just a few things at a time.  I wrote another post a few months ago that kind of touches on this, Five Ways to a Happier Me.

I’ve started making myself sticky notes at work with a list of things I want to get done that evening.  And sometimes I even scribble a time next to each item on the list.  No, my half hour time slots don’t always work, but they do help me focus on the task at hand.  It’s so easy to start doing laundry, then get distracted by the shoes or clothes laying around.  Or the dust and dirt on the counter.  Or really, when it comes to laundry, ANYTHING else.

Setting your mind to small goals has been proven to be more effective than putting one large, seemingly out of reach, goal in front of you and stressing out over how you’re going to achieve it.  This can be true with any kind of goal….health, fitness, career, business, home, or even your BLOG. 😉   Right now I want to focus on mostly the goals of our everyday lives.  Taking care of our homesteads, and the things we “have” to do.  When you break the everyday into little pieces, you give yourself a much better chance of being highly productive.

I struggle with this in daily household activities.  I want to take time for myself but I also know I have to vacuum, do laundry, or tidy up a room.  While making my sticky notes at work, I set a goal to get two to three particular things done that night, and then reward myself with something I want to do–a work out or a hot drink and sitting on the couch(complete opposites, huh!).

While I am definitely more prone to work out in the barn than I am in the house (anyone else guilty of this?), I still struggle with what to do first and how to get everything done.  I know I have obligations in both the house and barn, so here’s what I do to keep myself sane and make sure the house doesn’t get neglected:

  • Make a list each day.   It’s okay if you don’t get to everything when you planned to.  Just add it the next day!  I prefer hand-writing on actual paper, but a phone or tablet works, too.  Get your ideas and goals flowing while you’re sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast, or if you’re like me, while you’re eating lunch at your desk.  Or something else I do– have your list accessible at any given time so when something pops into your head you can make note of it.
  • Time it out.  Even if the timing is off or doesn’t quite work out, it will help propel you into gear when you see you’re behind.
  • Pick days for “House” and days for “Barn”  (Or whatever your “other” is)  I find it a lot easier this way because if I devote most of my evening to the barn I can get quite a bit done, instead of trying to get a little done here and there.  Then the next day when I go out to the barn I know I can just feed and come back in.
  • Focus on one area at a time.  What needs done the most?  Some days I only vacuum a couple of rooms, but hey, I still got something done!  Or I scrub the water buckets but don’t clean the barn floor.  I can put that on my next list!
  • Think about the reward.  Whatever that may be for you.  There’s always things here that must be done every day.  I think the animals would be a little upset if I didn’t feed them, give them fresh water, or clean their stalls.  Not to mention I’d be a terrible animal mom and never forgive myself!  But some days I’m tired and just want to relax.  So I tell myself that after the “everyday things” are done, I have to accomplish at least one other thing.  Then I can be done for the night!
  • Schedule yourself a break.  If you fill up your list with a ton of to-dos and no downtime or anything enjoyable, your list will just become burdensome.  And you’re less likely to do it.

These are just a few ways I help myself break down the day into manageable pieces and stay productive.  How do you help yourself reach little goals?


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