I have 10 minutes to get the living room dusted before I need to start dinner. So, I get my rag and cleaner and begin dusting around the room. I spot some mail on the piano and realize it’s the bill I need to get paid. I drop everything and go to the computer to pay the bill. While I’m there, I check my email and facebook. I grab some toys to put away as I make my way back to the living room. I get the rag in my hand and am ready to continue dusting when the kids come running downstairs to tattle on each other. By the time the conflict is resolved, it’s time to make dinner, the living room is still dusty, and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.
In our family we have a special term for this: puttering. Grandma was the Queen of Puttering. During her later years she would be busy all day, wear herself out, and get nothing completely checked off of her to-do list.
Tips for the Busy Mom:
- Set a timer. If you tend to get side-tracked, help yourself focus by setting a timer for one specific task. 10 minutes to dust? No problem. It will help you stay on-task and feel like you’re accomplishing something. But remember, YOU’RE A MOM! Of course you’ll have interruptions. Build in some extra time for children needing your attention.
- Create small tasks for each day. The idea of cleaning my whole house is overwhelming. But, I set certain cleaning and laundry goals for each day. Monday I dust upstairs and wash clothes. Tuesday, I dust downstairs and wash bath rugs. And so on.
- Train your kids. Hang up hooks near the door and help them learn that when they come home they are expected to hang up jackets, bags, etc on the hooks. Or to take their lunch box to the kitchen. Or put their shoes in their room. Or tack paperwork from school on the corkboard so you’ll see it. You get the idea.
- Deal with the junk drawer. Take everything out and put it in a box. If you use an item, put it back in the drawer. If not, it stays in the box. After a month, anything left in the box is thrown out, donated, etc.
- Control the clutter. Use containers, baskets, etc to help organize the items that you do need to keep around your house. But, be choosy about what you keep. There is something very freeing about a decluttered home.
- Ignore the to-do list. Your children are SO much more important than your to-do list. Don’t get so wrapped up in the things you need to get done that you forget to enjoy your blessings! They know if you’re fully engaged with them or not–set everything aside and play, talk, laugh with your kids.