In a few days, we will carve a month into the New Year. No doubt, many of us held the best of intentions in our hearts for 2013, but our once hopeful resolutions have gone by the wayside. For single parents in particular, the problem is that sometimes our goals are not realistic for our stage in life—raising our children. In this busy and stressful season, we need to focus on making changes that are realistic. We may also need to lower our expectations of ourselves.
As single parents who face many responsibilities alone, there is no need to do more than necessary or to take on any additional challenges. In fact, we need to simplify our hectic single parent lives so we can stay on track. This means we need an easy system for getting things accomplished. Try the following three steps to keep you focused.
Create daily lists to help you prioritize what needs to get done. Start by writing a daily list in the morning. To keep it simple, you can jot down your top three tasks for the day. Whatever you do not finish, you can transfer to the next day’s list. The important thing is not to feel guilty about unfinished tasks.
Use the "first things first" motto to concentrate on what needs to be done immediately. When you and the kids are overwhelmed and hungry after work, stop and remind yourself that dinner (and NOT that business call) is top priority so you can take care of it right away and not worry about task #2 looming ahead. After doing the most important thing first, you will be able to move on to the next priority with a lot less confusion.
Chip away at procrastination in increments to feel a sense of accomplishment. For those bigger items on your to-do list that remain repeatedly unfinished and haunt you week after week, pick one item to tackle and then commit to working on it in 15 minute increments until you finish. Start by selecting a task and deciding on an increment of time that is realistic. If you don't have 15 minutes to spare, for example, set a timer to work on the project for 10 minutes. Over a period of days or weeks, you'll finally finish the task--and the burden will be lifted.
What works for you? What are you doing this year to get back on track and get things done?