When you to-do-list is a wish list: 5 tips how to get things done!

Often, my to-do list is actually a wish list. My head is hoping to get everything done in the 16 hours i am awake. I'm always busy when I have my eyes open, if not with work, it's with it with the kids, housework, sports or finishing that one cool series.

when your tot do list is a wishlist

That's how it is in 'normal weeks', but how do we do this if we have an important deadline at work or when the kids have vacation ? And how do we make sure we all keep a bit of balance? And especially nice if this benefits the little and big people in the family. Don't worry, I am definitely not that person telling you how to manage your to-do list. I do want to share my experiences with you. And to be honest; it is a continuous rollercoaster. Finding the balance always remains a puzzle (but so is balance, right?) In our family of five, we have three very happy children, two stable careers and a huge kitchen table where we talk and laugh a lot together.

OK, here come my five golden tips for keeping your work-life balance.

My five golden tips are:

Let it go - to get things done

Keep on dreaming.... If you want everything organised to perfection. There is just no way to always have everything organised to perfection. Especially , when you do have to keep a lot of balls in the air. Either you remove certain activities from your schedule, ask someone else to do them, or lower the bar a bit. Usually, you don't want to lower the bar, so choose realistic goals that fit the available time you have.
Most importantly: stop making yourself feel guilty. Stop thinking that you are a worthless person when it comes to your duties as a tudor , that you just can't put in all your hours for work right now, and you certainly don't need to be frustrated that you don't have the oomph to exercise every day or create that oh-so-desired flat stomach. If you haven't yet mastered the art of letting go, listen to the Frozen song 'let it go' again. 

Try not to multitask home and work

Remember this: making a business call while helping your child with homework (or perhaps several children) or cleaning the bathroom while trying to remember what groceries to get is not the right choice. Just don't do it. Most of my followers (about 90%) are women and we think we are the queens of multitasking. But trust me: to restore balance in your life, focus on only one thing at a time. When I help my kids with their schoolwork, I concentrate on that, when I clean the house, I put all my energy into it. When I talk to my husband, I make sure I look him in the eye.

This way, you can complete the job more efficiently and effectively, especially if you put a time limit on it. If you can't resist the urge to multitask, move on to rule number 4. 

set a daily goal

Set a daily goal, and stick to it

A friend once told me to set five goals a day. Three business tasks, one family goal and one personal goal. It doesn't really matter how many goals you set yourself, or how you divide them between your personal and professional life. The idea is based on the idea of a vase with some big stones and a whole bunch of pebbles. If you put the big stones in the vase first, the pebbles will still fit in easily. The other way round is a lot trickier. Your main tasks are the 'big rocks' the other chores are the pebbles.

These goals don't have to be huge, think of: 15 minutes of one-to-one reading time with the kids, call the client who doesn't respond to your email, read the newspaper. Try it for a few days and let me know if it helps. I'm sure it will turn out positively.

Special toys or special activities

Let's pretend for a moment that rule 2 doesn't exist. Sometimes you just need to multi-task. For moments like that, I have a few activities and special toys ready for my children. That way, they can have fun while I do what needs to be done. That can be a household task, a business meeting and sometimes just a few yoga exercises for myself (because I know I can concentrate better afterwards).

When my children were smaller, I made a 'surprise box'. It was actually a basket full of interesting things to explore, feel or smell. I always helped them on their way and after a few minutes they could entertain themselves. And that ha my hands free.

Next to my sewing machine, I have a vintage Fisher Price school. My daughter knows she can play with it while I'm behind my sewing machine. Now that they are a bit bigger, I have invested in some games they can play with independently: Smartgames I find ideal for this. They know they are allowed to play with these independently.

The square babysitter (oeps I did it again)

And yep, I definitely deploy the square babysitter sometimes too. I have yet to meet a parent who doesn't use the television to have some quiet time. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that either. But this just doesn't always work. Children unfailingly sense when they are being 'pooh-poohed away'. So give them something challenging and some attention in the beginning, then afterwards you will have your hands free.

Hang in there ladies. Some days a lot is asked of us as parents. And we all do our best to make the most of it. Don't set the bar to high and try to make a list every day of what you would like to do for your own work, yourself and with the kids. That really helps to find peace and rhythm in it all. Good luck, you can do it!  

when your tot do list is really a wishlist

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