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Life Hacks for Mediocre Moms
#2) Bite Size Your Biggies

by Angie on October 2, 2013

Hi. I have a confession to make. I’m in Utah.

So, to recap:

a) I haven’t hardly blogged in the past… year?
b) I’ve decided to blog every single day in October.
c) …WHILST also committing to self-discipline and self-preservation (a new regiment for me!) during this month (which alone could kill me, setting aside the fact that I’ll also be making time for blogging every day)
d) My computer is broken
e) AND I’M TRAVELING.

No biggie. No sweat. It’s day #2 and I’m still here! Haven’t jumped ship on this 31 Day Challenge Yet!

airplane

I’m in Utah for a week with my daughter Sam. Except I won’t hardly see Sam while I’m here. She’s got fun plans. I’ve got fun plans. The Manchild is at home with the other kids and some VERY DETAILED hand-written instructions on how to function as a single dad in “Angie’s House”. The freezer is stuffed with dinners, the laundry is ALL CLEAN, and I’M FREEEEEE!!!

freezer meals

More on why I’m in Utah later…

Today’s “Life Hack for Mediocre Moms” is: Bite Size Your Biggies

Yesterday I told you that writing down my priorities, goals, and dreams was EPIC for little ol’ me. I LOVED IT. That exercise alone gave me steam for days! (See above comment about the freezer full of meals and clean laundry. BOOM!)

But the e-book Tell Your Time, which I’ve been using as a jumping off point for my life make-over told me that I need to break down my larger goals into actual steps/tasks and THEN do something with those tasks. I had to decide if they were negotiable or nonnegotiable and whether those tasks were flexible on a calendar or fixed.

This part of the exercise was pretty stressful for me. I felt like every one of the tasks on my list were non-negotiable, yet flexible. Meaning– everything is super important, but I have to be the one to decide when they take place. Yikes.

When all was said and done I had a hand-drawn calendar that looked like this:

calendar

(p.s. I think it’s funny that I personally needed to do this activity in pencil on paper, as opposed to electronically. I don’t think I would have been able to really engage in the mental exercise of planning an entire week if I were doing it with taps and clicks of my fingers/mouse on a screen. There is something really invigorating about eraser shavings on a paper! I miss it!)

Lessons I learned by breaking my larger, beautiful, inspiring goals into steps/tasks on a calendar:

  • a) I actually do have a lot of time to “work” on my projects/blog while Charlie is in school/at playgroup. wow. 8-10 hours a week, plus nap times if needed.
  • b) I need to fiercely protect that time from being whittled down by other needs/distractions that could be done during the hours I am with Charlie (cleaning, church group meetings, yardwork, errands, lunch dates)
  • c) I must wake up at 5:30 if my priorities are going to be accomplished (exercise, scripture, prayer, planning, showers). First things first.
  • d) I can’t allow myself to get on the computer in the morning or none of the aforementioned things are going to be accomplished. (There simply isn’t time in the morning to “squeeze” in a quick blog post- especially seeing how much time I SHOULD have available during planned blogging time if I use it correctly.  The morning routine is full of super-valuable tasks that can’t take a back seat to poor planning/execution from the previous day.)
  • e) Certain time blocks revealed themselves as absolutely ideal for certain tasks. I never realized that they were there before. This exercise brought those points out very clearly. ie, Friday afternoons simply must include planning time for the next week and Monday absolutely MUST be grocery shopping day. If I botch those two things up, I lose those valuable work blocks that I need mid-week. Mind-blowing realization here.
  • f) My stress levels were really high while trying to iron out my schedule. This rigorous scheduling is against my nature these days. But when I looked over my finished product, I was relieved to see “cushion” hours every day where I could relax or catch up if things had gotten too crazy.
  • g) I know that things will change and kids will get sick. I will have to adapt, of course, to the ebb and flow of days and weeks, but I now have this to fall back on. And by seeing the full week laid out I can visualize the consequences of standing in the kitchen pretending to be productive while actually doing absolutely nothing. And eating. Always eating. :-) I can see that every hour is valuable to me.
  • f) Lastly, I was forced to look at my “dreamer” goals, write down literal steps/tasks that would take me there, and then insert them into my week. That was cool. Little by little this way of thinking and planning could get me somewhere closer to those once far-off places I’d only dreamed about before. Maybe.

A wise man recently taught me something interesting about goal-setting. He said, “Your goals should be big enough to make you a little nervous. But also feasible enough that when you plot the tasks required to accomplish them into the timeframe you have available, you find peace and confidence.”

And that’s where I am today. Give it a try? Go ahead and Bite-size your biggies.

Catch these other Life Hacks in my 31 day series:

#1) Roles, Goals, and Dreams 

#2) Bite Size Your Biggies

#3) Do Different

#4) Read Something Weird

#5) Exercise Yourself

#6) Zero Dark Early

#7) Manage Your Moods

#8) The Power of a Good Thing

#9) Church it Up

life hacks for mediocre moms 300

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Kitty October 2, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Thanks so much for posting those great time management ideas. Even tho I am in a different time of my life as an empty nester, I have a job and have to take care of my aging parents (and I would like to get to blog now and then too) so really, the same principles would apply. I like your saying “Bite size your Biggies”…it reminds me of another old saying “Life is hard yard by yard, inch by inch it’s a cinch”.
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Amy Lynn Andrews October 3, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Hey Angie, I love this! Thank you for the shout-out and thank you for the peek into your process. So inspiring. You go!

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