Between the hours of 9 and 5, 3 days a week I have a ‘to do’ list that is clearly defined, carefully appraised and acknowledged at each stage of its completion. I prioritise, I achieve and I generally feel good about myself and know that others are appreciative of the work I have completed. I am at WORK.
The rest of the time I am at HOME and I have a chaotic to do list, mainly in my head, that I never get close to achieving and which is mainly acknowledged by my failure to complete things. Rarely does anyone say ‘Wow, we have toilet roll!’ or ‘Great new toy management strategy, well done!’ Not that my family aren’t appreciative in other ways, they are. But when I am at work I feel like I am moving forward, at home I am at best treading water but more realistically slowly sinking into a to do list of never ending thankless tasks.
Some things get prioritsed; We pay the bills on time, we have insurance, we have mainly got food in the house and the children have only ever left the house naked through choice rather than a lack of available clothing. Somehow the really important stuff gets done. Mainly because the alternatives are not acceptable. Imagine dying without life insurance. What if your partner couldn’t pay the mortgage and had to sell the family home? In the middle of all the grief your children, who you couldn’t look after anymore, would have to leave their home. Doesn’t bear thinking about and a quick phone call and a monthly direct debit can cross it off the list. And now we have it we have surely reduced our likelihood of dying. Sods law and all that. Keeping on top of the kids’ rooms and clothes, now that is something worth avoiding. More than a phone call and a Direct Debit required to sort that out.
So I decided I needed a strategy. Surely the difference between work and home didn’t need to be so marked. One of the main differences between the two is that at work we take a few seconds to acknowledge what we do achieve. I don’t do that at home. Also, I try to do far too much at home. If my boss gave me unachievable goals I would challenge him and try to make them more attainable yet I happily expect the impossible of myself and then berate myself when I fail to achieve them. So my plan is simple: set achievable goals and reward myself when I achieve them. I recently attended the Mumprenuer conference and one of the speakers there Ben Blackman, gave us 10 tips for success. One of them was something he had been taught by a life coach which was to do 6 things a day. It seems too little but it is a good place to start and I am assuming it doesn’t include things like getting the kids up and dressed or having lunch. Six specific tasks that need doing over and above the day to day that is living. So my list for tomorrow (a non-working day!) is:
- Take the dog to the vet
- Sort through one box of toys in the playroom with a view to evicting as much as possible pre-Christmas (I am planning to do 2 boxes a week).
- Prepare posters for the Christmas Fair on Friday
- Decide what I am going to wear to Blogfest.
- Write another blog post
- Review success of list and reward appropriately!
Check back on Friday to see how if it worked! How do you make sure you feel rewarded for all the stuff you do at home that no-one sees?
I have written this blog as an entry for the Aviva/Mumsnet To Do list challenge. If you want more info on life insurance you can see this guide.