I have always faced my role as mother and homemaker as my professional career. Just as anyone who has a career outside of the home attends professional development, networks with others, and dresses appropriately, these too have been the way I have dealt with my life. Not to say my home is sterile and official looking, but rather I have had the attitude that this is important, that it deserves my full attention, focus, and skills.
I know this sounds like fancy words but it really does reflect the truth – I’m not trying to make my choice in life sound better, or more significant in an upmarket world – I’m simply saying, I faced my life at home with purpose, intention and with specific goals. I used skills that I had developed in the business world to help me be efficient and effective at home.
Time management has become big industry and it is big even in the area of homemaking. I’m sure you know the names: Flylady, Simple Mom, Orgjunkie just to list a few. And I have used many resources to fine tune my skills, to work on the things I find hard, and to find better ways of doing things.
Recently, I started to think about some of the habits that have become a bit slack of late I thought about time management in the business world. Three keys came to mind:
- Eat a Frog every morning
- Eat an Elephant one mouthful at a time
- Use your Golden Hour
So how do I eat a frog and an elephant all in one hour?
Eat a Frog every morning comes from a quote from Mark Twain “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”. The idea is that if you get in and do the one task you struggle with, or are procrastinating on then the rest of the day’s work won’t seem as bad. Having that one task under your belt gives you motivation to keep on moving with the rest.
The next question is “How do you eat an Elephant” and the answer is “one mouthful at a time!” The idea behind this quip is that instead of being overwhelmed by a large task ahead of us, we just take the first mouthful, and then the next and then the next: one mouthful at a time. “Just do the next thing” is another mantra that is helpful when life gets overwhelming (having a to-do list, or a routine helps make that decision as to what is the next thing is for us to do).
The Golden Hour – there are a few different interpretations on this one; but the way I like to see it is to use the first hour (hopefully before anyone else is up or interacting with you) to prepare yourself for the day. The golden hour is to help you prepare for managing your responsibilities, to get that focus and clarity that you’ll need once the challenges of your job start coming at you. It may look slightly different in the business world but for me, the things I do to prepare myself to manage my family and household are:
- Look after my relationship with God: read the Bible, pray, think
- Look after my body: drink water, exercise, shower
- Plan my day
When those tasks are done, then I am ready to eat a frog and start on that elephant!