All busy WAHMs probably start the day--or even the week--with a to-do list, but sometimes that list can get a little unwieldy. It helps to take a few moments to prioritize to do lists, because you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of things you have to do. There are a few steps you can take to rank your tasks, which helps you manage your time more easily and helps you to be more productive throughout the day.
Brainstorm Everything for Your To-Do List
Even if you already have a to-do list, start from scratch and write down everything that you feel you need to get accomplished for the day or for the week. You can come back later and add things, but it really helps to just throw everything down on paper.
Look at the Timeliness of Your Tasks
Obviously, there will be some things on your list that have a due date or deadline. Write down any due dates you have, as this will help you prioritize when certain tasks must be completed. If other tasks really don't have a due date, you can assign one yourself, depending on the importance of the task.
What would Make You Feel Accomplished?
Now ask yourself, "At the end of the day, what do I need to have accomplished so I feel like today was successful?" This is the part that forces you to get real. You probably cannot get everything done in a day, so settle for what would make you feel happy. Even if it's just one task--just set a goal. This will help you stay focused and keep from getting sidetracked.
What can be Shuffled In?
If you spend a lot of your work day at the computer but also need to clean house, intersperse cleaning tasks with computer time. This allows you to get up and move around while still checking things off your to-do list. See how you can shuffle different tasks into your day to keep things lively and keep you moving along.
Baby Steps, Baby Steps
Don't be afraid to break down large tasks into baby steps. For example, if you have a large project due in a week, break it down by daily goals. Make a few phone calls, answer emails, and so forth each day so you make some progress. It's easy to be stonewalled by a huge project. If you break it up into small tasks, you won't feel overwhelmed.
Redo Your List
At the end of the day, your to-do list has changed. Some tasks will be complete. Others will have some progress made. Redo your list at the end of the day, taking into account all the changes that have been made. This will help you see exactly what you accomplished during the day. It will also keep you moving forward with what must be accomplished next. If you end the day with a to-do list, you can get started right away the next day.
As a WAHM, you need to maximize your efficiency in the office so you can have more time with your family. By prioritizing your task list, you will be able to work more effectively without wasting your precious time.