Time Budgeting: Prioritizing

Yesterday, I asked people to post their to-do lists on my Facebook Wall or PM them to me and I would. What I didn’t tell you was that I’d pick one of the lists to put into priority order! Admittedly, the order I put them in is logical to my brain and my life, but may need some tweaking for the person it belongs to.

I highly suggest starting a Google Calendar, especially if you run a busy household. It takes a little time to set up with the basics, but I know my day is on track and I am getting everything done and people to where they need to be just with a quick glance. We’ll go more into the calendar in a later post.

So, here is her list:

A typical "Mom" to-do list, wouldn't you say?

A typical “Mom” to-do list, wouldn’t you say?

(Italicized are items I added that weren’t on the original list. Like financial budgeting, we ALWAYS forget *something*. No problem, just add it to the budget!)

First, I start with the things that MUST happen:

  • Personal Hygiene Time
  • Bedtime
  • Meals
  • Meal prep
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Bathing the kids
  • Kid lessons
  • Laundry

Try as we might, those suckers come up daily (or consistently, at the very least). Therefore, they are the first things that go on our schedule. This is where times and length of the activity will vary person to person. Be realistic when guesstimating times for your activities. Do you have a favorite day to grocery shop?  Do your kids take lessons anywhere which would dictate the order of your list? (I like to condense errands to save on gas and time!) Do you usually open a box of cereal for dinner and call it a day, or do you like to prepare 7 courses nightly? That’ll make a difference in how much time you need to allocate (budget) to the task! Remember, there are only 24 hours a day, so you need to use your time wisely!

Next, I move on to the things that might help her have order in her life, yet still occur on a regular basis:

  • Hotspots (kitchen counter and desk)
  • Chores/Commissions (*note: the list-maker is an FPU Grad. She knows about Commission vs Allowances!)
  • Menu Planning
  • Cleaning (though I think this goes hand-in-hand with “Chores”. We’ll dive into that one later…)
  • Kids art/ schoolwork

You can then take a look at this secondary list and see what happens daily, weekly, bi-monthly, etc. Do you Menu Plan once a week? Do you ask your children to help around the house? And how do they know what is expected of them? (seriously… we’ll get to that in another post. It’s a biggie)

Lastly, we list our “projects”:

  • Fun Planning
  • Clean Car seat and booster cover
  • Toys (thin out/organize)
  • Books (thin out/organize)
  • Donate extra bikes, car seat, books, and toys
  • Photos
  • Baby Books

Believe it or not, there is a logical order for these things also! Would you go to the donation place to donate the bikes and then have to go again to donate the toys you are thinning out? The answer is NO! I’ve put the items in the order *I* would do them in. Any time I had an open slot on my schedule, I would spend a little time doing whatever was at the top of my list.

Now, you’ve got a little bit of clarity to your to-do list, right? (I hope!) But what happens when something comes up, like a birthday party, or a big family dinner, or the holidays??

You learn to be flexible! You move things around (the first list can be shifted, somewhat, but some things, like meals and bedtime can’t be stopped completely,and PLEASE, keep the personal hygiene time a priority! 😉 ) to make some gaps for the extra things, like extended meal prep for the dinner, decorating and extra errands for the party, and gift wrapping time that doesn’t happen at 1am the day of!

When you have a bajillion things to do and only 24 hours in which to complete it, don’t you think you’ll find a little peace by knowing you have your priorities in order?

The baby books can wait, but the babies can’t.

Wishing I addressed a specific topic? Want more details? Drop me a line and let me know! I’ll do what I can to help!

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