Bee-ing a Worker Bee
Bumblebees are the ones we see working hard all summer. They are the ones pollinating and providing for their queen. They are a symbol to me of power, dedication, focus, and hard work. Though I'm not big into insects, I like the symbolism of the bee. I try hard to emulate these characteristics that are so encouraging to me. I learn from them because the idea of being "as busy as a bee" means that there is no idleness in a person's life. They are good stewards of the time given to them, which can mean a number of things! For me, busy as a bee, means I'm being productive. I'm working hard, I'm crossing items off my to do list, and I'm putting in a good day's worth of work.
It's not always easy to be a worker bee. It can be draining from time to time, waking up and feeling this dread that no matter how much gets done, there's always more to do. I feel this way about dishes and laundry. There will always be cooking involved, and clothes will always be worn, making these two tasks the most time consuming. There are other tasks that get mixed in to the bunch whether they be daily, weekly, or monthly. Today I would like to share how I go about setting myself up for success when it comes to tackling the to do list and being productive.
1. Use a planner.
I can't say it enough how important it is for me to have a planner. I must use a paper planner because it's the physical item that seems to ground me. I've used the online calendars for work, but nothing quite grasps my attention as using a physical planner. I've used several throughout the year, and this year, I am using the Passion Planner. I am in love with this planner and have had such a fun time setting up my upcoming weeks already! I was a bit hesitant at first with it being grey scale, but it's proven to be quite nice. I've added my own stickers, and use Washi tape to separate tasks, adding touches of color that bring a smile to my face. This leads in to the second tip.
2. Make it beautiful.
Being a visual person, it is so wonderful to see the colors and feel the textures that are in my planner. Using stickers, Washi tape, and occasionally colored pens to dictate my schedule, I have a feeling of desire to open it up and review it regularly. The colors bring a smile to my face and I can breathe a sigh of relief. Even if there's a lot going on in a particular day, I feel a sense of control when my planner is made up beautifully, and showing me that there is a time for each task.
3. Be flexible.
It's not ideal, but life happens. We all know it. Life has a funny way to throwing us off our game. We could throw in the towel and call quits on our plans if something fails, but if we can be flexible, and allow for some space for change, we would be better for it. Having a plan is just that, it's a plan. It isn't law. Things can come up and we can rearrange the schedule. This is often why I use a pencil when filling in my planner rather than using pens. When things change, it's easy to keep the look clean and orderly when you can erase and move.
4. Mark things off.
I do this in my planner and in my to do lists (which is part of my planner now that I'm using the Passion Planner). I put a check mark by the items I've completed, and I "X" out the items that were ignored or discarded. This gives me a visual as I flip through my planner throughout the month and I have a good idea of what's been accomplished.
5. Tidy up as you go.
This is a huge part of keeping productive for me! If I can spend a few minutes regularly cleaning up, I can maintain the momentum. I make it a point to use my transitional time to clean up. When I'm finished with one task, I take the few minutes to put things away before moving to the next thing. If I'm making dinner, while I use dishes, I'm washing them or putting them in the dishwasher, this way, after the meal is over, it only takes a little bit of effort to put the remaining dishes away before moving on to the next task. When playing with my nieces and nephews, once we've finished playing with one set of toys and moving on to the next thing, we spend a few minutes putting away those toys before pulling out the other set.
6. Keep the TV off.
This is a huge thing for me. If the TV is on, my motivation goes out the door and I become a couch potato. Knowing this about myself, I spend minimal time in front of the TV. If I'm working on house chores, I put music on the surround sound to have the noise, but no visual distractions. The TV is off throughout the majority of the day, and if I decide to watch TV on a certain day, I wait until the evening, when all the tasks have been completed for the day, and I can just sit and unwind for a little without making a mess in the process.
There's so many other things that can be done to keep the motivation going! You just have to figure out what works best for you and your family. It's not always easy, but it is definitely worth it!