Multi-tasking: Setting Boundaries and Routines

metime managementparentinghome management

Barbie Mom in the grocery store Last week, I wrote a post about how moms need to get clear on their priorities and let go of the idea of "getting it all done." Several of you commented about how doing less can feel like more when you're doing the things most important to you. I totally agree. Now, let's take a look at some of the things that get in the way.

One of the first things I ask the mompreneurs I coach to do is to describe their daily and weekly schedules to me. When we are the primary caretakers of our children, the managers of our household and the CEO of our companies, we tend to run short on time (understatement of the year, I know!).

Multi-tasking Madness

Think about a typical week for you. How does it normally go? Oftentimes we are so over-committed that we spend all our time multi-tasking (or 'half-tasking,' as my husband calls it). We try to manage our email while we're playing Legos with the kids; we return business calls during soccer practice; we try to work on client projects while the kids are in the tub. We get up at 4am to bake muffins for the fundraiser for the PTO while simultaneously jotting down notes for a meeting we have that evening with our child's teacher. We're never fully present in any given activity, since the demands on our time cause us to constantly have to think about all our responsibilities.

When multi-tasking doesn't work, we opt out of sleep, figuring that the only quiet time we're going to get is when the rest of the household is in bed. Fatigue sets in, tempers flare, decision-making is hard, and resentment runs high.

Routines to the Rescue

The scenario above usually leads to burnout. But it doesn't have to be that way. What really helps is to create a routine that allows you to know when you have time to accomplish what you need to, rather than trying to do everything all at once.

With clear boundaries around work time, family time, household management time and me time, everyone knows what to expect. Things on your to-do list get done. You no longer have to multi-task all the time or "steal time" from one activity to give it to another priority. Your children know when you're available to them, your clients know when you'll get their work done, you know when you'll have time to finish your house and garden projects, and you'll know when you get a break.

It takes some adjusting to get used to a new routine, but the payoff is that you can relax your body and mind knowing that you have planned a time and a place for the priorities in your life. Routines don't have to be rigid--they serve as guidelines or a "general rule of thumb." Exceptions are allowed and even healthy! I'll share a lot more tips in next week's post to help you create a routine that works for you.

Are you a marvelous multi-tasker? Do you have routines set for work, errands, laundry, family time, etc.? Please share what works for you (or what isn't working!).

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Lara Galloway, The Mom Biz Coach, is a speaker, a business coach and the founder of the Mom Biz Academy, the "MBA" for mompreneurs. She teaches moms how to do what they love without compromising their priorities. Grab her "Six Steps for Creating a Sustainable Mompreneur Business" audio course here!

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Wife to her motorcycle-loving husband, mom to three kids aged 8 and under, and founder of the, Lara Galloway stays sane by taking long walks, making and eating good food, drinking lovely wine or beer, and doing work she's passionate about as the Mom Biz Coach. In the Mom Biz Academy--The "MBA" for Mompreneurs--she teaches moms how to run successful businesses while running a family through a variety of teleseminars, coaching calls, and an online forum.

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