I am a full time single mom with two kids. I run my home, my finances, and everything that entails in addition to working full time. Yes, it sounds overwhelming, but its not and I consider myself extremely successful at it. I’m not wealthy, but we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and toys to entertain us. We are happy and healthy and enjoy our lives, and to me, that is successful.
Whether you are a full time career person, a stay at home parent, a house spouse, or whatever it is you are, you can be successful and happy. Here are a few rules I’ve learned over the years that have helped me become a successful human in this busy world.
- Time Management-This is definitely number one. Time is constantly moving, every minute, every second, it goes by without anything we can do about it. Now is the best time of all. Right now, this moment. Not yesterday, not five minutes ago, not tomorrow, or next year. Sure it’s good to have plans and set goals, but it’s important how you spend right now. I always ask myself, what can I get done in the next hour? Or 20 minutes? Or five minutes? It could be washing up the breakfast dishes. Or sitting down with a cup of coffee. Or meditating. Or going for a jog. Whatever it is that is important to you. Which brings me to number two.
- Know your Priorities-One of the things I dislike the most is chaos. If I don’t have an idea of what I need to do today, I will fill up my day with too many tasks, then become overwhelmed, and end up trying to do too much, and nothing gets done. There are always the daily routine tasks such and cooking and cleaning, going to work, taking care of kids, etc. But there are also things that are out of the ordinary, such as special projects that I want to do, errands that need to be run, cars that need to be fixed, doctors appointments, lunch dates, etc. It’s these extra tasks that need to be prioritized. We all know what is most important in our own lives and keeping on task with these important things is what will keep the chaos down. How I keep track of things I need to do, is lists.
- Make Lists-Lots of lists, or one big list, whatever works for you. List aid my memory and keep track of my thoughts, the thoughts that escape me ten minutes later. Post it notes, a little notebook and dry erase markers are my tools. I use dry erase markers in my bathroom, bedroom, anywhere there is a mirror. If I’m brushing my teeth and notice we’re almost out of toothpaste, I jot it down on my mirror. This is also a good tool to use to communicate with the kids, they love to leave me little love notes. I also keep post it notes throughout our home. I make little notes to myself on things I need to do, to buy, to make, and to write down what I wrote on the mirrors. Post it notes are great because they stick anywhere and I usually stick them where I can see them to remind me of what I need to do. I always carry a little notebook in my purse, it’s usually stuffed with post it notes that I’ve collected from the walls of my home. But it also contains lists and ideas and thoughts. This little notebook definitely keeps me on track.
- Multitask-I’ve read a lot of articles and reports lately how multitasking can actually keep us from being productive. I’m all about putting my focus on a single task, but, c’mon, I’m a woman. If I can do two things at once, I’m going to do it. I will read while I’m eating. I will reorganize my DVD’s while I’m watching one. I will listen to an audiobook while I’m washing dishes or cleaning. Some things I don’t want to multitask. When I’m helping my kids with their homework, I want to only focus on them, pretty much anything that I do with my kids, I don’t multitask. It’s important to me that they know my full attention is on them. As you probably noticed, I usually multitask with a chore and something enjoyable, this is how I find my balance.
- Find your Balance-I’ve been in a situation many times before where I just have too much on my plate. My bottle is full, add anymore to it or shake it up, and I’ll explode. This is where balance comes in. There has to be quiet somewhere among the noise. Rest when there is fatigue. Play after the work. Relaxation with the stress. Finding joy when life throws you a curve ball. This is the last rule that I learned, and I learned it when I looked in the mirror one day and saw wrinkles on my face, bags under my eyes and white hairs sticking out of my head. I was way too young to look so old and haggard. Find joy and peace amongst the hard work and business.
Some days I find that I am caught in a whirlwind because I have slipped into a chaotic routine. Its these days that I revisit these rules and find my focus again. Life is to be enjoyed and also to be a success on our own terms.