How To Conquer a Chaotic Week
Welcome to the fourth installment in our Getting Organized for the Week Ahead Series where we are learning to maximize our time and minimize our overwhelm. In Why We Need to Write Things Down, I asked you to capture everything on your mind. We focused on the following questions in relation to our list:
- Is this urgent or just important?
- What is unimportant or totally unnecessary?
- What can I delegate?
The goal is to eliminate up to 80% of the items you wrote down.
Don't get excited (or upset), you won't get to 80% overnight. It has taken me a long time to get my list of actions down to the critical few.
There is no one way to whittle down the list. It is a combination of tactics that you will learn to use over time. I get asked the "how to prioritize" question often. However, a priority is something urgent. I find there are very few things in my life that I consider urgent.
So, if it isn't about priority and urgency, what is it about?
A successful, organized, and productive week is about aligning your values and vision with your actions
This is best illustrated by sharing with you the week I just finished!
As I sat down to conduct my weekly planning session on Sunday morning I was staring at a gnarly week. It was the last week of school and The A Team had three half days requiring the coordination of childcare.
Teachers' gifts needed to be bought, Little A had a mid-week birthday party, haircuts were scheduled, Ironman training is heating up, I had three LONG days of strategy meetings at work which included a work dinner, blog posts needed to be written, and I promised The A Team a super fun (week long) end of school celebration.
I felt like I was sucker punched in the stomach. This week was so big and hairy it looked like a giant muppet!
But Tara, how is what you listed above the critical few?
It's not and some weeks are just like that.
Our quick turnaround action for this week is an exercise to help us during our most chaotic week. But before I give you the exercise I want to say this - we have choices. We are in control of our lives and our week.
I take full responsibility for letting the Muppet in. I could have told the kids I was too busy to celebrate the start of summer but I truly wanted to make this week exciting and joyful for The A Tean.
I could have told Little A she couldn't go to the birthday party but it is her last birthday party as a Kindergartener.
As far as half days, Ironman training, work commitments, and teacher's gifts - that was just divine timing.
A Quick Turnaround Action for a Chaotic Week:
- Define your most basic needs (not wants!). What absolutely needs to happen each week?
- Practice letting go of everything that isn't a basic need for one week.
- You can use a mantra. "I chose now to let go of X."
Having a predefined list of basic needs makes it easy to align your actions with your vision and values during your busiest weeks.
Here is a look at our value list:
- Family Time
- Wellness/Healthy Living
I keep my value list short. As long as I have my family, my health, an my sanity (i.e. organization), I have it all.
Here are my basic needs:
- Grocery shopping
- Meal prep
- Orderly house (basic straightening up, organized, progress on laundry)
- Time connecting with my family
- My morning time
What about your goals and projects? Where do they fit into a chaotic week?
They don't really. I find it very soothing to just focus on my basic needs.
If I have to let up on the workouts or personal goals for the week it is OK. I absolutely have faith my goals will be achieved. My goal is not to survive the chaos but to THRIVE through the chaos. Everything else can be put off till next week when I have more room in my schedule.
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