I think I'm efficient and productive but recently I've been feeling like my mind is a trying to keep a dozen tops spinning, and, as a result, it is flying to pieces. Too often I go through my day responding to emergencies, muddling through my tasks, and feeling like I've accomplished nothing at the end of the day.
I've been hearing about the Ivy Lee method recently and I decided to adapt it for my life as a homemaker and homeschool mom. The basic idea is these six steps.
1. At the end of the day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. NO more than six.
2. Prioritize these six in order of importance.
3. In the morning, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first is finished before moving on to the second task.
4. Continue down the list, one task at a time. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new six-task list for the next day.
5. Repeat each day.
I found that writing no more than six items was key. I have a tendency to write down everything I hope to do on my to-do list. I also don't usually write down the obvious things that I do every day - like laundry. Or meal prep. Or Bible reading. So I started listing those things on my list of six. Then at the end of the day I can see that I actually did accomplish something, even if nothing "extra" got done.
I didn't sweat about prioritizing, because I never work on one task until it is done. Never. I might start reading my Bible, then jump up to make Ed's lunch, or start breakfast, or the baby wakes up, or....But whenever I'm interrupted, I try to come back to my interrupted task as soon as possible. Even if it is an hour later.
Some tasks such as laundry need started, then I move onto the next task, keeping in mind that laundry will need attention throughout the day. Having meal prep on my list doesn't mean that I'm necessarily making meals at eight o'clock in the morning but seeing it on my list does mean I've been better at making a plan for my meals instead of waiting until four o'clock.
I'm not sure why but this simple six-task list has been helping me keep my mind on what I need to be doing. Maybe it is the fact I'm spending time the night before thinking about the coming day. Maybe it is the fact that I see "Bible" on my list first every day. The first four items on my list rarely vary (Bible reading, laundry, school, meals). The fifth and sixth item are often an "extra" job, maybe canning pumpkin or sewing a dress. Often these are the tasks that get written down several days before finally getting done.
I'd love to hear if you have found a simple method to make your homemaking more efficient.