Every morning I open my eyes and feel flooded by the pile of things I have to do: have a shower, wash my hair, find decent outfit for myself and my kids, make breakfast (usually it’s 2 different sorts of porridge), drink lemon water, make coffee, prepare fruit and snacks for kids, pack their backpacks, check weather forecast, pack soccer equipment, get my yoga clothes, fill water bottles, put on make-up, use perfume, and make sure everything is done on time. We run to the bus stop, it’s our morning exercise. My kids often ask me: mom, do you ever eat? Hmmm… The good side is that I don’t need to worry about weighing too much, because I don’t have time to check my weight.

My table is full of post-it notes, notebooks, weekly planners and other forms with scribblings of things I have to do or not to forget. I often feel like drowning in all this mess.

One of my friends, a full time working mother of three kids, seams like a master of time management to me. Last time I visited them I saw a list of meals for the next two coming weeks. She knew what they would eat next Friday! Every weekend she spends three hours cooking for the coming week. Which seems horrible! But smart, because during week, after work she just heats up the meals. Her meals always taste delicious, because she strictly follows cooking instructions. I really admire her… but deep down in my heart I know it would never work for me… I have to be more organized, more disciplined. I know I’m a horrible procrastinator. I look for help. Internet is full of really good advice. I try to stick to some of them: make breaks, set deadlines, make long-term and short-term goals. To tell the truth, I never fully reach my goals. I keep telling myself: “the most successful people are the most disciplined ones”, “do your job first and then eat dessert”. So, when will I have time for dessert (what I mean to be able to do the things that I want to do)? And because I’m writing all this I assume I lack self-discipline to learn self-discipline. I’ve listened to B. Tracy audio record for so many times (link: https://soundcloud.com/mariusdima/the-miracle-of-self-discipline).

His advice is very good. But… are these my old habits that drag me backwards, my fears, lack of persistence or focus? I don’t know, I just want to get rid of that, leave that behind me. It happens that I usually have a couple of jobs or projects on a freelance basis. I do it to earn more money, but to tell the truth I can hardly make ends meet at the end of the month, and often feel like I don’t have a real job. Listening to Malin Cronqvist, who is a co-founder of Help to Help, I realized, in order to succeed one needs to have a narrow focus. It’s not easy, life is full of amazing opportunities and it seems we have so many choices in terms of studies, work, business.

I was recommended to read a book “The One Thing” (link: http://forleadership.org/wpcontent/uploads/The-One-Thing.pdf). And I actually started reading it, usually these kind of recommendations end up in one of my to-do lists. I’m still reading the book, but I think it suits my way of life and personality. I stopped looking for new “real” job a while ago. I’m quitting one of my jobs in couple months and I suspended my freelance contract. As Gary Keller and Jay Papasan write: “The big success comes when we do a few things good”. Let’s see what happens… It’s scary, but I know that at the moment I have to spend as much time as possible with my kids. And I truly agree with Gary Keller and Jay Papasan: “The problem with trying to do too much is that even if it works, adding more to your work and your life without cutting anything brings a lot of bad with it: missed deadlines, disappointing results, high stress, long hours, lost sleep, poor diet, no exercise, and missed moments with family and friends”.

I guess discipline is very individual and everyone has to find a way that works. In a meantime I’ll continue reading the book and focusing on one thing. Hope you will join me.

Author: Ingrid Heima

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