Last weekend was an incredibly busy weekend. The Handy hubby and I had family obligations on both Saturday and Sunday in addition to just a ton of things to do around the house. I also had a short turn around with my work schedule. I would be back on the road Monday to work that night.
Normally this would be a pressure cooker situation that leaves me cranky and a bundle of nerves. Somehow, when we got home Sunday night at almost midnight, I was tired but happy and relaxed! What had I done to create this different mental outcome? After some reflection I realized I had increased my productivity while simultaneously lowered my stress level. All it took was a few simple steps.
Lowering the stress level and increasing productivity
It really only took 3 simple steps to get more done and have more fun doing it. It’s really not rocket science. First, I made a plan of what I was going to do and how I was going to accomplish it. Second, I got an early start to my day. Lastly, I was realistic about my time and plan.
Making a Plan
Friday afternoon, after getting home from work, I took 20 minutes to organize my to-do list. For several weeks I had been carrying a small notebook with me where I could jot ideas, to-do items, grocery lists, etc. I took the time to write all my to-do’s in one long list. The next step was to prioritize the top items.
I have a rule about prioritization. I never pick more than 3 items to put at the top of my to-do list. This allows me to focus and really get those things accomplished. If I finish those items, then I can pick 3 more, but never more than 3 at a time.
Getting an Early Start
The next morning I made an effort to get up early. After three 12 hour shifts in a row, it is tempting to sleep late. But I find that if I get up before 7:30 am my day is much more productive. I’m not a morning person and no matter what I do it takes 1-2 cups of coffee to get motivated. When I get up early I can ease into my day. Often I can get a couple small chores started while having breakfast and coffee. Things like emptying the dishwasher or starting laundry, check some email or get a few bills ready to send.
On this particular morning , I was up by 6 am. I made coffee and started the laundry. I drank my coffee while reading from my current book. A little “me” time while getting something done at the same time.
Realistic About Goal Setting
Because of my family obligations I was only going to have a limited amount of time on Saturday morning and early afternoon to get anything accomplished. This information helped to set the priorities on my to-do list. I was realistic about my time and what tasks I could complete. Why set myself up for disappointment and frustration when I fail to cross anything off my list? As with any goal setting, I wanted to “stretch” myself by making the goals a little ambitious. I didn’t get every single thing completed, but I got about 90% done. I felt both accomplished and challenged.
The Final Component – Contentment
I think there was one final piece of the puzzle that isn’t easily quantified. That would be contentment. I was really satisfied with what I was doing, where I was doing it and who I was doing it with. Sure I had some chores that I don’t particularly enjoy (laundry) but I was also doing something I loved (working in the garden). As a bonus, the Handy Hubby was able to help me in the garden. When you spend half your time away from each other, any time spent together is enjoyable.
I was doing all of this in spaces that I enjoyed. I’ve worked hard to make an aesthetically pleasing home and garden. Both are still works in progress, but I enjoy spending time in them.