As a woman navigating divorce, we're often confronted with juggling a million different tasks, emotions, appointments and dealines — it's enough to drive anyone crazy. If you're a mother going through divorce, you can easily times the amount of weight on your shoulders by two, maybe three, and easily find yourself overwhelmed.
Whether is managing your job (or looking for one), managing your children and their schedules, finding time to exercize and keep fit, maybe even dealing with the possibility of a new relationship — you can quickly find yourself wondering, "how am I supposed to do all of this?
Have you ever felt that way? I have….many, many times! And…I am happy to say, that I have learned how to manage all of this and much more!
The following five steps are the first that you will need to master so that you can begin to focus your TIME and ATTENTION on ALL of the areas of your life that need your management.
Step One: Identify each area of your life that needs your attention.
The first step towards managing the areas of your life that create a feeling of overwhelm is to identify what each of those areas are. Some have been listed above, but you may have a business, multiple children with multiple schedules, more than one job, a relationship… Use one piece of paper for each area of your life and label the top of the page with the name of the area or category that you would like to manage.
Step Two: What is your ultimate, desired outcome for each of these areas.
For each area or category, write your desired outcome for what you would ultimately like to accomplish. For example, let’s use Parenting as the category. Your desired outcome might be to: “to connect with your children in a meaningful way each day and to influence their moral and values in a positive and productive way. to make sure that they get to all of their activities and commitments in a calm and prepared way. to create family time each week that allows for an opportunity for all of you to share the successes and challenges of the week”
This is only an example, but for each category of your life, you need to clearly identify and write out what your desired outcomes are.
Step Three: For each desired outcome, write out WHY you want this outcome
Once you have identified and written out your ultimate desired outcomes, you will need to write WHY you not only want this outcome, but why you MUST create it. Using the example from above, you might have a WHY that is:
“I must create these outcomes so that I can be the kind of influence and parent that will support my children to become their best selves. To support my children to reach their peak performance and the opportunity to achieve their goals. To create meaningful opportunities to connect with them so that they know I am here for them as they experience both the successes and challenges that come with growing up.”
Your WHY needs to be the reason and the motivation for managing all that you will need to in each category.
Step Four: For each desired outcome, identify what series of tasks has to happen to achieve the outcome
Now that you know what your desired outcome is and WHY you must achieve it, you are ready to list all of the tasks that need to happen to create each outcome.
Do not worry about how long your list of tasks are or how you are going to do them, simply that they need to happen in order to effectively achieve the outcome.
When we allow for these tasks to continuously swirl around our heads during each day, week, month….we gain a growing sense of overwhelm and hopelessness.
Once the complete task list is written out for EACH category and desired outcome, you will be ready to begin to plot them out in your life.
Step Five: Specify when each task absolutely needs to happen to create progress
The tasks that you have written will take two forms…one set have absolute time restrictions and the others do not.
For example, your son may have football practice at 5:00 pm every Monday and Wednesday. That can be put easily into your day/week so that you know where and what you need to be doing at that very moment.
Take all of the time sensitive tasks and plot them in your calendar.
For the tasks that are left, identify which of them can be done and accomplish your desired outcome. If two tasks will each achieve your desired outcome…then they both DO NOT have to be done at the same time. One can be done now and one can be done later. You can now choose when and how they will get done thereby saving time and spreading out your commitments. I know that this may seem simplistic…and in some ways it is.
The DISCIPLINE comes in being able to make these five steps a weekly habit that allow you to get the overwhelm out of your head and into a plan that will absolutely achieve the outcomes that you truly desire.
The final piece of guidance I can share with you is the following:
If a task DOES NOT lead to any one of your desired outcomes, then it is not something worth doing and should be eliminated from your calendar, time and attention.
I hope that this helps you to begin to create a new discipline for managing your complicated but wonderful life! I am here to support you should you wish to talk further about how to make this a part of your daily life!