For those of you who are cynical and read my last post and said to yourselves – yeah right she’s going to rest forty five minutes in the middle of the day – you can pat yourselves on your cynical backs. I have not rested in the middle of the day. One afternoon I tried, but a Princely cricket match popped up. So it’s been full steam ahead, which I don’t find easy (read it’s exhausting, even without having to do the washing, which my mother in law kindly reminds me when I complain).

Procrastination is my middle name. Especially when my To Do list is inexhaustible. I find myself staring at my Notes app on my phone with the letters beginning to blur into each other. At this point I put away the phone, the list and have a cappuccino. Of course this only increases my stress an hour later. Things to do NEVER go away. So I’ve been trying to balance it out with a simple trick that gets me going. I call it The Five Minute Rule.

The Five Minute Rule is telling myself that I’m going to do a job for five minutes and that’s all. We all have five minutes. And in that five minutes I do the job. Simple. Of course some things, like writing a blog post, takes more than five minutes. Which is fine, because once I’ve begun my five minutes I’m on a roll and can finish the job.

I use this for everything. If my optimistic mind is gullible enough to believe that sorting through the pantry will take five minutes, so be it. An hour later at least the cupboard is sorted.

I often think I can’t do things because they’ll take too long. Once I’ve begun something it’s always easier, quicker and more satisfying than living with the TO DO hovering above my head.

Setting time limits also helps to complete jobs. For example I’ll set aside an hour for menial jobs. This contains the things I really don’t like to do and therefor avoid like SA taxis on the road. I use this trick with the children to. I’ll set a time limit for them to clean up their Lego. It works even better if I put the timer on. Without a time limit they faff around and I become the nagging mother that I don’t want to be (but probably still am). I think setting time limits begins to teach them time management skills which are so integral to living a balanced, productive life. It’s hard to teach what you don’t have though, hence my self work in this area.

The daunting problem with To Do lists is that there’s always something to do. It’s like the dishes in the sink, there’s always a dish to wash. So a very important thing I’m trying to do is put a cap on my jobs for the day. I’ll do a certain amount and then I’ll put away my phone and refuse to think about the rest. Tomorrow is another day. I’m not going to be A-type, anal and miserable. I’d rather be B-type, fun loving and spontaneous and friendly.

The ‘being’ with which we clean, tidy, organise and do all the millions of things us working mothers and stay at home mothers do matters the most. I was once told that you should make friends with your admin. I’m yet to do that, but I’m trying to breathe, have a better attitude and stress less, whilst still getting what needs to be done, done. And if I don’t get to the shoe store to replace the sneakers that my lovely, sweet Prince lost today, so be it. As long as there’s toilet paper in the house. We’re okay.