I wrote this post for work. Told the blog cop I'd like to write one on getting it done, then it took me 12 weeks to get it done. Oh well, better late than never.
Single parents must carefully guard our time to ensure everything gets done. There’s a lone wolf to tackle the stack: work, school, cooking, cleaning, mowing, house projects, shuttling the kid around and handling insurance, savings, doctor visits and bra talks.
Here’s how I get it done.
What Matters to You?
Before trying to figure out how in the heck to get everything done, it’s important to decide what matters most in life. This shapes how we direct our time and activities. Where our heart is, so is our time and money.
Here are 5 things that matter to me: daughter, work, faith, working out and beef brisket.
Spray Time and Talent on What Matters
We should do the things that matter most to us.
Family matters, so I work a schedule that maximizes time with my daughter, while minimizing afterschool gym-jail. My employer lets me start the day early, leave for school pick-up, then work from home in the afternoon.
Doing a good job at work matters, so I choose to work extra hours to help keep the project on schedule. Sometimes this means logging in late from home, after my punk’s in bed. Or bringing her into the office with me for a weekend migration.
Faith matters, so we carve out time for prayer, church and a couple outings each month to help others.
Staying fit matters, so I cram in runs over lunch and weekends. Workouts make me a sharper worker and a healthier dad. They also allow me to eat massive platters of meat.
Beef brisket/food matters, so I continue sharpening my cooking skills and teaching my daughter how to work a wok. I like trying new flavors and tasting an ethnic dish for the first time.
You’re Unique and Special, Just Like Everyone Else
Clutter and distraction dampens our ability to get done what matters most. I think going with the flow and being like everyone else contributes to clutter.
The norm for many families today is: enter the kiddos in three sports at a time, along with choir, band, interpretive dance and bull riding lessons. I wonder if we do this because it’s best for our kids or because we need to keep up with everyone else that’s doing it? While I like the idea of exposing our children to a wide variety of extracurriculars, school should come first (unless your daughter is named Gabby). Plus, offspring mostly yearn for time with mom and dad. I tell my 10-year-old her #1 priority in life right now is school. Soccer, singing and the other goodies come only after we shore up studies and her grades are solid.
Last night after her first day of school, Pigtails sat down and asked, “Daddy, can we just sit down and talk?” Perhaps it was a stall technique before bedtime, but I like to think these chats will keep us close for life. And I would have missed that quiet conversation if we were rushing around town, distracted and hustling her to practice
Here are some things I do to help get it done:
- Turn off the TV and limit Bejeweled Blitz, they eat time.
- When cooking dinner, I make extras so we can do leftovers for lunches.
- Limit my daughter to only one or two activities at a time during the school year.
- Once or twice a month, set aside an extra-long workday to help stay on top of assignments. This reduces stress and keeps the project manager happy.
- Keep the workouts going, even when busy. They’re a net gain to health, productivity and busting stress.
- Don’t worry too much about keeping the house tidy during the week. Spend an hour Saturday mornings de-junking.
- Take time to be thankful for what we have, and schedule time to help others. This keeps me balanced and appreciative when life’s dishing a beat-down.
What matters most to you, and how do you get it done?