Thursday, July 16, 2009

Resource Management: Do It

Many of the things that end up on our list of things to do, are just that. They are simply things that need doing.

We can think of a thousand things that fit under that category, right?

As a mom of two small ones, a wife, a part-time ICU nurse, a member of my church and of an active Mommy and Me playgroup ...I have a million things on a regular basis on my "to do" list!

I have home-related things, I have finance-related things, I have education-related things, I have church-related things, I have ...the list goes on, just like yours.

There are many, many suggestions out there that can help us prioritize the list of things that we need to simply get DONE.

All those lists overwhelm me :)

So, I have come up with my own plan for attacking those "Get it DONE" things that help me bring my mountain down to size, and leaves me feeling less stressed in the process.

First, my lists give me an idea of where I stand. Anything that I place on my Stress List, that I have identified as just needing to be done is right there in front of me. That is the first step ...seeing the monster for what it is.

Some things on my SL* may be, pay the bills, clip coupons, write a note, do the laundry, wash the sheets or vacuum the car.

Then, I have to decide what I am going to do with the limited resource of time and energy that I have at the time I am creating my list. Some days, I may have little to do outside the house so may have some hours to put to attacking that list. I may only have an hour before the kids get up, or I have to leave on our next adventure. Either way, I have to weight what needs doing with what resources I have at the time.

Prioritizing is one of those subjective things that you have to work out yourself. I do have my list of priorities close to my eyes, with it in the same place I write my lists. I like to remind myself of the fact that my kids come before the house (so the laundry can wait), that financial freedom is important to me (so taking the trouble to cash out money for the monthly envelopes is worth it!), and that I need to spend time with God before I get started on anything else. Its a good idea to keep track of what you are aiming for :)

Weeding out what needs to be done NOW, can give you a good idea of the order you need to things in. It will relieve the stress related to time pressure, and having it out of the way leaves room for doing other things. If it is a "get done today" thing it. If you dont have anything that NEEDS to be done today, find something that needs doing soon and get it done. That way, you dont have to stress about it as the time closes in. Waiting til the last minute adds lots of undue stress to something, so plan ahead and do what you can before you HAVE to have to done right then.

And, lastly ...and my favorite "get it DONE" tool ..set a timer.

It is amazing what you can do with a bit of focused energy and attention. Using a timer to give myself boundaries helps my stress, because not only does it help me get it that thing quickly but because it gives me permission to stop when the timer goes off.

I literally use this tool every day. If I want to work on the garage, for instance. I will set my timer for 1 hour, attack the garage for that amount of time then stop when it goes off. I have gotten an hours worth of work done, it shows because it was focused work, and I can move on to something else if I need to. Next, I need to load the dishwasher. Set the timer for 15 minutes and go for it. At the end of 15 minutes, I am probably done and that is one more thing to check off the list.

Need to pay the bills? write a grocery list? clip coupons for this week? ...set the timer for 15 minutes and work it out. You will be surprised with what you get done.

Want to look at this idea a bit more ...I have written a post on this topic awhile ago. Take a look and let me know how it works! There is a concept that I stole called "Crisis Clean" ..its all about using your timer to help you get stuff done fast! I love it.

*In case you missed it, the Stress List is a place where you write down EVERYTHING that you find weighing on you. It helps to get an idea of what is overwhelming you. This list may be written or mental, but either way it gives you the pause to ponder what it is that is bearing weight on your shoulders and heart. SL worthy things may the dishes need doing, your mom is ill, your kids need discipline, your car needs gas, you need to lose weight ..whatever.

Remember, anytime you decrease stress in an area, you are freeing up resources for God to use in another more worthy area!


  1. The idea of what needs to be done NOW really helped me yesterday. I had an hour or so while my mom and my kids napped, and I had several things to do: I needed to wrap mom's bday basket for her bday the next day, I needed to get ready for another bday party we were going to that afternoon, I needed to do my Bible reading, and I needed to send an email to a friend I had inadvertently neglected of late:). I would have liked to do Bible study, email, bday basket, get ready.

    Unfortunately, I had to put those things in order of TIME demands. I really needed to be ready for the bday party when everyone woke up, or it would be a very stressful time when it was time to go. So I did that first. And then I had to have mom's basket wrapped by the next day, so I tackled that next, not knowing when I'd get another chance before tomorrow. Then I did my Bible study, and unfortunately, I didn't have time for the email b/c my mom woke up, and I needed to visit with her (which was great, too).

    I can't help but think that if I'd done things in the order that I WANTED to, I would have been much more stressed out about getting ready for the party, and getting her basket wrapped.

    So that's my example of "getting it done":). Thanks, Court, for putting this out there for us to think about and use. It definitely helps me all the time!

  2. This post (AND Kim's comment) are just perfect for me right now. I have a million and one things that I would REALLY like to have done NOW, but I can only do 1 thing at a time... and this is a good reminder to consider what is most important/most pressing/what will relieve or eliminate the most stress. I wasn't reading your (old) blog posts for a bit b/c I had too much stuff going on the last while, but I'm hoping to dig right back in. Thanks again for doing this!


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