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Making the Day Count

At busy times of the year, like the holidays, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all that has to be done. Most of us have demands from work, home, and our children. It is easy to start believing that with all that we have to do, we are not doing anything particularly well. There are few things as demoralizing as living with that fear.

Over the years, I have developed a way of coping with competing demands and, in the process, I have begun to define success in a new way. In any given day, I need to homeschool my children, address the needs of my home (cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.), and work from home. The problem is that I have found that I simply canít do all three of them well in one day. Something inevitably suffers.

In order to avoid having to chalk up each day as a failure (due to my not having done everything that needs to be done), I began to think of each day as a pie chart. 1/3 of that pie is homeschooling my children, 1/3 is keeping house, and the last 1/3 is work. Years of experience have taught me that I will never be able to shade in my whole pie at the end of the day. While it is true that I often do all three things each day, I donít do them all well. I may do a bang-up job of teaching my children, cook a fabulous dinner, and do three loads of laundry. I may even knock out a freelance assignment. I will not, however, be satisfied with my performance on all three.

Enter the 2/3 rule: every day, I expect that I will be able successfully to accomplish 2/3 of the duties in my pie. If, at the end of the day, I can say that that has happened, I consider the day a success. Further, I start out each day only expecting to be able to achieve success in 2/3 of my standard tasks. Hence, I donít set myself up to fail.

Granted, there are some women who get everything done, every day. My hat is 100% off to such women. That has just not been my own experience since having children. Further, some people donít need little mnemonics to make them feel that their days have not been wasted. Again, I am not that woman. I have to find concrete ways to tell myself that I am doing a good job, or else I can get mired in a sense of failure.

If you play such mind games with yourself, consider adding the 2/3 rule to your arsenal. The more you are able to view yourself as successful, the more positive you will find all of your daily interactions to be.

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