This morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. and helped my two kids fix breakfast, lunch, and, for one, an after-school snack. Then, I drove them to their separate schools and returned home at 8:15 a.m. to start my own daily routine. As I walked by the TV on my way to shower, the perky-and-perfect morning show host on the TV announced their next segment, “How to Stop Being Lazy and Be More Productive.” For a moment, I was completely stopped in my tracks. As I showered, I thought about the busy day ahead and the clients I work with. This past month has been focused on helping people identify their priorities and create more productivity in their lives. (This is especially important this month as the kids have returned to school, and we Mom-preneurs feel like we should finally be able to “get more done.” Being lazy is definitely not one of our problems.)
I don’t think anyone I know is lazy. I doubt many sitting down to watch that morning show are actually lazy. Overwhelmed, exhausted, over-worked, and under-rested are the descriptors many of my friends and clients would agree they relate to. There is so much on our never ending To-Do lists that they have become I Wish I Could Do It ALL Lists.
Lazy doesn’t seem to be the problem. Busy seems to be the problem. And by busy, I mean busy-work—not the highest priority tasks but all of the little things that make us feel productive. We’re able to check off lots of quick easy tasks that we’ve accomplished, but as fast as we cross them off, we add two or three more. Especially now that school is back in session and we have PTA meetings, Booster club meetings, sports, and music activities, there never seems to be enough time in the day! Social media, with its cute animal videos and connecting with our equally “busy” friends, has taken over where talk shows and soap operas used to offer us solace. But is spending time on our personal devices and watching a little television actually being lazy?
Our society demands we pay attention to all kinds of entertainment through a variety of media devices. We’re told we need to focus on self-care, and we need to save the planet by not using convenient forms of plastic, and we should stop eating processed food and return to making healthy food from scratch, and we need to. . .
I say, stop!
If we want to be more productive, then we need to do what matters the most to us. We need to prioritize and do the things that provide the highest value.
SAVVY TIP: If you find that you routinely avoid doing certain tasks, answer the following questions:
- Do I know how?
- Is there no way?
- Do I have no desire?
As women, we are the controllers of our environments. We are the Helpers and don’t often ask for help for ourselves, but we should! We cannot possibly “do it all.” We weren’t meant to. God is a communal God, and He created us as communal beings. He knit us in our mother’s womb with a variety of gifts, skill, talents, and passions, but not all of them. Research shows we are the most productive and happy when we spend 80% of our time doing things we are good at. In fact, we are the most joy-filled when we are doing the things we excel at! If we don’t know how to do something or we have no vision or desire for it, it keeps getting kicked to the bottom of the list.
- If we don’t know how, we need to reach out to our support system and learn how.
- If we don’t see a way to do something, we need to reach out to our support system to identify what we are missing. If we’ve thought about it, then there must be a way to get it done.
- If we have no desire to do it, then face it, ladies. We will never do it, unless it’s the only thing that will get our kids or our husbands to stop complaining. If this is the case—delegate! Find the person who loves to scrub the bathroom or create the newsletter or do the filing.
We need to prioritize rest and joy so we have the energy to do the things that have the highest impact in our lives. As Christians, we need to prioritize our time with God so He can supply us with the energy and the focus we need.
Instead of continuing to run through our days doing as many things as we possibly can as quickly as we possibly can and avoiding the rest, we need to stop and create a new plan: A plan that gets things done and actually allows us to be “lazy” and not feel guilty about it.
The steps to identifying your priorities include:
- Identify your Values—know what’s important to you.
- Understand how you’re “wired” (your personality, strengths, and talents)—do those things that honor yourself. Delegate the rest.
- Develop your personal vision—know why you do the things you do.
If tasks or requests for your time match your clearly defined priorities, then go ahead and schedule them. If not, delegate them to someone who truly values them as a priority.
If you would like help identifying your genuine priorities and creating an action plan that will allow you to get the important things done and all the rest of the list, too, please contact me! I would love to share with you how working with me to develop your Joy Strategy will change your I Wish I Could Do It ALL List to your DONE list. I love to work with clients one-on-one, but I also have a Mastermind Group starting very soon that will also address these issues.
Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.