Finding the Time - Kimberly Thompson

Years and years ago, I read a little book that impressed me very much. It was called “How Do You Find The Time?” and was written by Pat King, a mom with ten (yes, 1-0) children. My copy of that little book is long since gone, and it has since gone out of print, but the lessons the author taught me remain. Here are some of the things that stuck with me:

* Write down what you have to do at the beginning of every day, and prioritize your tasks. Put a #1 beside the most important, and go from there. Work on the most important tasks first, working your way down the list. That way you don’t get to the end of the day with less-important things done but the most important still hanging over your head.

I have expanded this concept to task size. If there are several things of equal importance to do, do the biggest one first. Once you are over that hurdle, the other things won’t seem so difficult to finish. If I have a huge pile of clean laundry, I tackle the sheets first and then the towels. Once those are folded and put away, the size of the pile is a lot smaller and what is left seems easy.

* If you have a deadline to meet a big goal, sketch out a simple plan starting from the deadline and working backwards. For example, if you are throwing a party and must be ready by 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, your plan might look like this:
6:00 p.m. Party Starts
5:00 p.m. Shower/Dress
4:00 p.m. Prepare buffet table
3:00 p.m. Finish prepping cold foods/turn hot foods to “warm”
12:00 p.m. Cleaning/straightening of party areas
9:00 a.m. Turn on slow cookers for hot party dishes (yes this item reflects my extreme dependence on slow cookers!)

And so on. When planning a party I actually go further and sketch out when I must shop for party food and decorations (days or weeks in advance).

With this method, you can gauge whether you are on track to meeting your goal. You can also see whether you are trying to cram too much into one day. Whether you have a hard day at work, a long list of important errands, or a topsy-turvy house that must be put in order, planning backwards works.

* When children help, it’s good for them and it’s good for us.

They are learning skills that they will carry with them for a lifetime, and they are gaining a sense of mastery over real situations.

They reduce our work, even if it’s just by a little bit.

When they are helping, they are not “messing.”

Wishing you a productive day,

The Mommy Mentor