In preparation to write the book, Pretty Neat, the authors interviewed numerous women, all busy successful women, some employed, some stay-at-home, some work-at-home. A common theme among all of them is that no one really felt qualified to speak about being organized. They all felt they didn’t have it together in one area of their lives or another. From a stay-at-home to a CEO, and no one had it together.
One thing this shows us is that we all have a tainted view of what all together is. We all seem to think others have achieved it, but we have not. The fact of the matter is that there is no right or wrong way to be organized, in our lives and in our belongings. We all need to work to find what is best for us, in our situations, and stop worrying about comparing ourselves to others.
In order to do this, we have to learn to live by our priorities. We need to define what is important to us and live each day reflecting those priorities.
Most of us tend to choose our activities each day based upon deadlines or what is urgent at the moment.
From page 16 in Pretty Neat:
The other downside of letting deadlines drive your daily to-do list is fatigue. Living a just-in-time life can leave you feeling rushed and frazzled, like you’re vaguely behind the eight ball or stuck on a treadmill that is going slightly too fast, to nowhere in particular.
It is easy to let your daily things get in the way of your priorities, unless you intentionally make a decision not to let them do so. Let’s look at some ways to keep that from happening.
2 ways to live your priorities
First of all, look at the things on your to-do list, whether it is written, digital or in your head. Ask yourself WHY are you doing these things? Are they things that are important to you, or to someone else? Are they things we just do because it is just what we should do? Things like making your bed each day, or having your kids in ballet AND soccer, or a perfectly manicure lawn?
From page 18 in Pretty Neat:
Most people get into the habit of doing what needs to be done each day and rarely consider whether they are maximizing their time. All of us do this to some degree. It is a coping mechanism that enables us to get done what others expect from us, what is nagging at us, or what keeps us awake at night. We get done what we need to get done in order to keep our lives and households running smoothly.
That said, are you sure, really sure, you are doing the most important things on your to-do list each and every day, or are you just putting grease on the squeaky wheel without even thinking that you might need a new set of tires instead?
Take a look at your list again. Ask yourself why you are doing the things you do. If it is because you want to, then that is fine, just make sure it is a conscious choice.
The second step toward living your priorities is to incorporate Big Picture Planning into your life and your to-do list. Many of us have dreams and goals of things, bigger things, we want to do in the future. Many times though, nothing ever gets done with those dreams and goals. The days, weeks, and even years go by and you aren’t one step closer.
To make the dreams and goals that you have come to life, it is important to take steps daily/weekly towards those goals. Take a look at a goal you have. What is the first step that needs to be taken to make progress toward that goal?
When putting together your list of things to do for the day or the week, consider what action items for your goal can be done as well. Working towards your goal one step at a time will bring you closer day by day.
Another great benefit of working slowly, yet steadily towards your goals is that it makes life less tedious and more fulfilling and rewarding as you know you are doing the things that are important to you and your family.
So, what is on your Big Picture List?
- Go back to school
- Start a business
- Homeschool your kids
- Move to the country
- Move to the city
- Move out of the country