Manageable Multitasking (Advent Unplugged)

December 11th, 2011

Christmas To Do List

There are not enough hours in the day.  Can I get a resounding — “amen, sister” — from the other mothers out there?

Right.  One of my goals this Advent season is to manage my time wisely.  Easy to say, difficult to implement.  For me, time management is mostly about setting realistic expectations and working out a triage of my priorities.  And resisting the urge to do too much multi-tasking.

I heard something the other day that resonated with me — kids know when you’re multitasking around them.  If you’re sneaking in Facebook updates in the midst of a tea-party with your pre-schooler, she’ll know it, and while she may not say anything, consistently giving your kids only part of your attention is going to have a cumulative impact on your relationship with them.   And not in a good way.  I try to be as fully present with my kids as I can in the few hours we have together each day between work and bedtime.

Thus I have about two hours each day after the kids are in bed in which to accomplish all the things I want (and need to be doing).  Laundry, exercise, baking, adoption paperwork, blogging, cleaning, etc.  My to-do list gets pretty daunting.

I stay sane by dividing my evening into chunks of time and striving to be realistic about what I can accomplish in those chunks.  Then I do those things and don’t worry about the others.

My nightly activities might look something like this:

Sunday: exercise, prep Monday’s dinner for crock pot, blog
Monday: exercise while watching Terra Nova, laundry, clean kitchen
Tuesday: exercise, bake cookies, phone call with mom, adoption paperwork
Wednesday: exercise, laundry, clean living room, blog

(Note the consistent element is exercise — I do that first to be sure it gets done.)

I don’t plan out the whole week of activities in advance (I’m not that structured) but I do try to visualize my night and establish my priorities before I start my first activity.  So if I know that I want to blog and make hot cocoa mix one night, I won’t let myself spend 40 minutes browsing other blogs.  It’s easy to let the night get away from you.  Having a plan helps!

2 responses to “Manageable Multitasking (Advent Unplugged)”

  1. Isa says:

    Don't need to be a mama to hear you on this one! But one interesting thing I read over at Feeding the Soil (which you should check out if you don't read it already) is that it might be easier to just include kids in your chores–laundry, especially–to get them used to it and to preserve some sanity for yourself. Also, we love the advent calendar!

  2. Opa says:

    You handle things very well indeed, dear.

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