5 Steps to Summer Sanity: Breaking It Down (Part 5)
You’ve created your vision for your family life and business. You made a list of goals, and you’ve identified systems that can help with efficiency, time management, and overall household peace. Now it’s time to break down your systems and goals into smaller tasks and start implementation.
Step 1 – Prioritize Your Goals
To prevent you from getting overwhelmed, take your list of goals and prioritize them. But where to start, you ask? Here are some ways you can do it:
- What needs to happen first in order for other goals to be completed?
- What will be most exciting to do first?
- What is the easiest goal to reach (or the hardest)?
You could re-write your list of goals in the order they will be completed. Some people choose to write each goal on a sticky note and put them on a board in order of priority. A digital way to do something similar is to use Trello or Asana.
Step 2 – Break Down the Larger Goals into Chunks of Smaller Goals
Not all goals will require this step, but some of your goals may require a lot more time or tasks to complete than others. For example, say you want to schedule social media posts for a week at a time, but you need an automation system first. A smaller goal would be choosing and setting up an automation system before you can begin writing and scheduling your posts.
Step 3 – Complete a Timeline or Calendar for Completion of Goals
For each goal, decide how long it will take to complete each one, and create a target date for its completion. Be sure to consider how much time you will have available to dedicate to working towards your goals. Will you work three hours a day at once, or two hours in the morning and one in the evening? What will your schedule be like?
Step 4 – Break Down Your Goals Into Action Steps
The next step would be to take each larger goal and break them up into action steps. You may want to do some mind-mapping. Another method is to work backward from the goal by first writing down the last step to be completed to reach the goal, then writing down the step that comes before that, and before that, until you get to very first step.
You may also want to notice whether tasks will be completed only once or multiple times. For example, setting up your automation system is a one-time task. Sitting down to schedule your posts will be a task you’ll do multiple times over the course of the summer.
Step 5 – Schedule, Automate Or Delegate Your Action Items
By the time you finish writing down all your tasks, you should just be able to plug the tasks into your calendar. I haven’t talked much about breaking down your personal goals, but I think it is very important to schedule tasks for your personal goals before your professional goals. This includes any self-care activities.
I realize for birth pros who are on-call, births are going to trump the personal activities. However, please go ahead and make your family and personal goals your first priority. By the nature of your work, duty calls when your clients need you. However, you still need to live your personal life. Have backup plans in place, for births as well as for changing family plans. Each situation will dictate what backup plan will be needed when you have to attend to your clients.
Once your personal goals are accounted for in your calendar, add in your individual business tasks, taking into account how much time you will have to dedicate to each action item. Some people like to group similar tasks to be more efficient. For example, they might research two different topics or set up email templates and send out marketing emails in one sitting. All phone calls can be made at once. You get the picture.
Automating as many tasks as possible can be extremely helpful, especially around your online presence. Blogging, email newsletter, and social media tasks can easily be automated using free or inexpensive software programs. Client management systems can help streamline your client processes, and bookkeeping software can help to manage your financial tasks.
Finally, there may be some action items that you can outsource. You may decide that having your home cleaned weekly is important to you, so you’re going to hire someone to do it for you because that means you’ll have more time for your family! You may find a grocery shopping/delivery service like Instacart or a recipe/ingredient delivery service like Blue Apron helps you avoid the stress of shopping with littles. You may hate keeping track of your books and decide to hire a bookkeeper to help you, or a virtual assistant to take care of scheduling your social media and blog posts that you’ve written. You can even delegate some action items to your kids!
Step 6 – Have an Accountability System to Complete Your Goals
You have come all this way… make sure you actually take ACTION and work towards your goals to keep your business running smoothly while dedicating time to your family. Have a way to keep yourself accountable to your family and to your business.
Once you get all your tasks on your calendar, make sure you look at them daily and dedicate the time to do them. Ask your spouse or a friend to check in with you at certain days and times and ask about your progress. Have your kids remind you that today is the day you promised to take them bowling.
Step 7 – Celebrate and Enjoy Your Summer
When your systems are in place, you will discover how much more efficient you can be when you have to work on your business. With schedules in place, you’ll know exactly when you’ll have to time to work and what needs to be done. Your kids will appreciate the predictability of their days, knowing what the agenda is for today, tomorrow and next week. You will all have activities and events to look forward to, and your life will feel more at ease.
Celebrate when you hit important milestones and meet your large goals. And most of all, enjoy the freedom you will have knowing you are organized and will be able to dedicate time to both your family and your business. It does take some initial planning and work to get started, but it will really be worth it. Here’s to keeping your sanity and having the summer you envisioned!
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