We all need margin to live productive and fulfilling lives. It helps us perform at our best and be fully present. But what happens when you lack margin at home?
Just like at work, we have long to-do lists at home. From laundry to cooking, to cleaning and shuffling kids to activities. Not only can it be difficult to keep up with all of it, it can feel like you’re never actually resting when you should be.
Here’s the good news: you can end overwhelm at home by applying the same principles you do at work. By doing so, you’ll create more margin for the people and activities that matter most. Here are 3 steps to doing just that:
- Determine what matters most at home. We’re often in a reactive state, trying to put out one fire after the next without thinking about where we add the most value. Our personal resources, energy, and attention are finite. So instead of trying to get everything done, ask yourself what the most important things are that will have the most impact. And how will those things impact the people around you, like your children, spouse, or roommate?
- Filter your household activities to see where you add the most value. What do you enjoy doing that you’re good at and also needs to get done? It might be meal planning and cooking, lawn maintenance, or cleaning. Try making a list of all the tasks on the docket, paying careful attention to the ones where you add the most value.
- Eliminate, automate, or delegate the rest. Looking at your list from the previous step, eliminate anything you neither enjoy nor are good at. It could be that those tasks are ones your spouse or partner actually enjoys and are skilled at. Or, maybe you find another way to get them off your list. If managing your budget is a headache, consider automating some of it. You can set up auto-pay for different bills or use budgeting apps with reminders. If groceries are a pain point, consider using a shopping service. If you can swing it, it’s a small price for the amount of time you get back. Or, try a menu-planning service that sends recipes and the ingredients to make them. Personally, I hate yard work, so we’ve hired a service that comes and takes care of everything. That once would have taken me hours on a Saturday, but now, I get to enjoy my weekend instead.
It’s easy to feel guilty and to think that, because it’s your home, you should be the one doing everything. If you take that approach, you’ll go back into your workweek just as exhausted as when you left. By applying the suggestions above, you can do the things you enjoy, have margin to spend time with the people you love, and get the rest you need.
What needs to get done at home that you truly love and are good at? What tasks can you eliminate, automate, or delegate?