Five ways to prioritise tasks when you’ve got a lot to do

As homemakers, we all have days when it just feels like too much and we don’t know where to start.

Here are some different ideas to help you prioritise when you feel overwhelmed.

The first thing I recommend is sitting down with pen and paper and doing a ‘brain dump’, where you just write down everything that pops into your head – tasks, appointments, notes, thoughts, etc. You just get it all down on paper. From there, you can create a task list.

Then choose just ONE of the following techniques to help you figure out where to get started. I say choose just one because these are many different ways you can prioritise a task list. Sometimes there will be one clear thing that is the most important, but other times everything seems pressing, and that’s when it can be hard to move forward.

Read through all the tips and then pick one that will work for you.

Top 3 priorities 

The first idea is simply to choose three of your tasks that you absolutely must get done today. Number them 1 to 3, and then just work through the list.

I like this tip because completing 3 tasks is achievable (provided they aren’t too big!) but will also make a substantial impact on your list.

If you get through all three, choose another three, and keep going!

Ask your husband 

The next tip is my go-to for when I’m feeling overwhelmed with everything on my plate – I ask my husband what he would most appreciate me getting done that day. And then I start with that.

This method is great because I don’t have to overthink it, I have clear direction, and it makes my husband feel really cared for when he comes home and finds that one thing done.

If your husband doesn’t have anything in mind, you can phrase it as a choice (E.g. “Would you rather I get the floors vacuumed or bathroom cleaned today?”).

10 minute timer

Have you got a generally messy house to deal with, like when school holidays are over or you’ve just had a big party? (I mean, no one’s having big parties right now, but you get the idea 😉 )

A great way to break through your overwhelm is to set the timer for 10 minutes and see how much you can get done.

I bet you will be surprised how much you achieved!

This method is also great for when you only have a short time period available, like before you have to pick up the kids from school.

What will have the biggest impact? 

Think about which task on your list going to give you the most bang for your buck.

What’s going to make the biggest impact for your time commitment?

Things like vacuuming the floors, tidying the kitchen bench or making the beds fall into this category.

They don’t take a lot of time, but the visual impact will be huge – clean floors and a tidy kitchen bench LOOK great. And that might motivate you to keep going.

What do you least want to do?

Look over that brain dump list you made – which item on the list fills you with dread? Which task do you most want to put off for another day?

Start with that!

I’ve heard this described as the “eat the frog” method, and the idea is that if you get the worst task out of the way first thing in the morning, the rest of your day will be great by comparison.

Also, after you do the thing you least want to do, you might find yourself thinking things like “That wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be!” and “That was much quicker than I expected”. These thoughts can then help to motivate and spur you on to get moving on the rest of your list.

For some people, getting through a list of tasks and staying on top of things seems to come naturally.

For others, we need to strategize and plan and continue to find new ways to manage our time and our homes.

Neither disposition is morally superior. It’s largely a matter of different personalities and perhaps different skills.

If you’ve been carrying around false guilt because you’re not naturally organised, let me encourage you to drop it!

Remember that your purpose in homemaking is to bring glory to God. There are many different practical ways to approach that.

So seek the Lord’s strength and wisdom, and get on with doing the work he has put in front of you, in way that best suits your personality and situation.

I hope some of these tips help you learn to prioritise and perhaps, move through your list a bit faster!

Share in the comments:

Which tip are you going to try first?

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