Mar 6, 2013

How to Stay on Task: Chunk Your Time!

As a mom at home, sometimes the to-do list can get rather overwhelmimg. I don't know about you, but when I have a lot to get done, I tend to flit frantically from one task to the next. I'll start folding laundry and then remember a phone call I need to make. So I'll leave the laundry to make the call and then I'll see that I didn't complete the breakfast dishes or the less-than-spotless toilet will BEG to be wiped down (Do you have boys? Then you know what I'm talking about. Gah!). Anyway, before I know it, an hour has passed and I've accomplished next to nothing.

A woman I admire named Elisabeth Elliot, when asked what to do when overwhelmed with tasks, gave this advice: "Do the next thing." She meant to do the next thing that comes to hand, whichever task presents itself. I love that advice, but I do find myself asking, "WHICH next thing should I do now?!" Additionally, sometimes, y'know, every now and then, we might come across a chore that we really don't want to do. Like putting laundry away. Or making dinner (don't tell anyone, but I don't really enjoy this task). Or going through the mountains of papers that come into our home each week.  HERE IS MY TIP FOR YOU, dear reader.

i love my retro kitchen timer!

photo credit here

Divide your day (or your hour) into fifteen minute chunks. When Mt. Laundry intimidates, I can say, "I will fold this laundry for 15 minutes!" And I'll set the timer and fold like mad for 15 measly minutes. It's amazing how much one can accomplish in such a manageable amount of time. Or I can say, "I am going to work on this kitchen for 15 minutes!" If I work diligently, there are very few household chores that can't be completed (or close to!) in 15 minutes. The best part is that I can usually stay motivated to my task for 15 minutes...impressive, I know. *Wink*

This technique works beyond the home as well.  When I had a home-based business, I would give myself 15 minutes chunks to do certain tasks, such as making phone calls or responding to emails.  You can also reward yourself with 15 minutes of doing what you like - reading blogs or your book or calling a friend.

What about you?  How do you help yourself to stay on task each day? 

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