I volunteered to take Kriste’s weekly post today, because she had a schedule snafu, and why not? Help a mom and blogger out, that’s what we’re all about.
Only problem is that I’m a bit short on time myself. Blogging during the middle of the workday is hard, because, you know, work. But then, blogging on a Friday night is also hard, because work, kids, etc. So this is a problem I often have.
What’s a mom to do when faced with a time crunch, whether it involves the kids, the job, or other commitments? Here are the time-saving tips that help me:
1. Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good.
If it’s more important to get a task DONE than to get it done PERFECTLY, let go of the perfect and let it fly. I have been known to spend 4+ hours on a blog post. Sometimes that’s necessary, when I am citing laws and just can’t make stuff up. But if it’s unnecessary, cut the fat. Something is usually better than nothing. I tend to carefully wordsmith all of my emails to clients, because I would like to not sound like an idiot, but I find that the more I hem and haw about word choice and grammatical structure, the more problems I find. And while that email is not getting sent, there’s other (billable) work that is not getting done. Ultimately, I don’t think my clients care about the eloquence of my emails, as long as they read like someone with a college education wrote them.
Same holds true with the kids. Brownie for breakfast? Hey, it was one of those fiber-enriched brownies. You’ll cook them eggs tomorrow, when you don’t sleep through the alarm. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of food. I mean good. Good food, food good.
2. Stick with What You Know.
Lately, most of my posts on this website have revolved around a common theme of my solo law practice and being a mom on top of that. I thought that talking about my personal and professional challenges in this capacity would attract the most readership. But you know what post I did months ago that still gets me a new comment 1-2 times every other week or so? This one on how much I hate to cook. Apparently, my little rant continues to resonate with an entire tribe of us anti-Marthas. Who knew? The solidarity I have with you readers on this issue is, sniff, beautiful. So, I have been telling myself to do a follow-up post on that topic, though I have yet to take my own advice. Maybe because I’m worried that the sequel will fail to live up to the original, and keep putting it off (see #1 above).
Also, my FMLA blog post, which barely skims the surface of the complicated topic of maternity and parenting leave in Connecticut and the rest of the country, keeps getting hits and queries from people struggling with their own leave situations. So if I am in a pinch to do a blog post, I should really do something on this topic, which I know well, or on cooking, which I know will resonate with people. Just as in parenting, if you find a product or routine that works fabulously for you, you should stick with it, instead of attempting to reinvent the wheel with a new system, or trying to save money by switching brands. When time is of the essence, it’s just best not to experiment.
3. Forgive Yourself.
I am continually frustrated by how quickly my day gets frittered away by urgent yet unimportant tasks that pop up, or by unexpected emergencies (though is there any other kind?), or by just my own underestimation of the time required for a task. As the day draws to a close, it’s disheartening to cross off only one—or even none—of the items on your to-do list.
I had an acronym: P.O.T., to use as a mnemonic device to remember the three points for today’s blog post. I was in the car on the way to school with the kids. P stood for “perfect,” and O stood for “old” (as in re-using my old content). I have no idea what the “T” was supposed to stand for. All I can remember is the word POT, which is completely unrelated to this blog post or any individual topic within it. Time? Trap? Tapdancing? It is making me freaking crazy, and frustrated, because the last one was going to be good.
Oh well. I can forgive myself for all the to-dos (was THAT it??) on my list that won’t get done today, and for failing to remember the awesome finale (“Takeaway”?) to my post. Because if I don’t, I will just be consumed with my feelings of guilt and stress, and that will make me even less productive. And my kids and my work are counting on me, so I can’t let that happen.
What are your time-saving and general awesomeness tips for parenting and life in general? Share them in the comments below. Also feel free to discuss your hatred of cooking or FMLA questions. Gotta give the people what they want.