Does your to-do list never seem to get any smaller? If you knock one thing out, three more things take its place, and the list grows and grows, like a giant roll of toilet paper. If you’re feeling defeated and frustrated, it’s time to shift your focus. I bet you a crisp $20 bill that you do more in a day than you realize. Between emptying the dishwasher and changing the cat litter, there’s a whole lot you do every day. Imagine how energized you’d feel if instead of focusing on the list of things you didn’t get to, you instead celebrated the things you DID get do? Spoiler alert. This will give you the energy to get even more done.
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! You can subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
Are You Frustrated?
I hope you’re not feeling tired or frustrated because you’re not getting things done on your to-do list.
But in case you are struggling, this post will help
How often do you focus on the things you didn’t get to?
- The grocery shopping that never got done?
- The bill that got paid late because you forgot?
- The guest bedroom that hasn’t been cleaned since Aunt Sophie came to visit 8 years ago?
Let’s talk instead about micro-victories. You know, those HUGE victories you have during your day. Like when your toddler puts on his shoes so you can actually leave the house not-too-late.
Let’s talk about why focusing on these teeny-tiny good things that happen in your day can help propel you to do MASSIVE things!!
Beating Yourself Up
Yesterday was not a good day. It was Sunday, which is my day to get caught up and ready for the week.
But it didn’t go well.
I got dragged into the spiral known as the Internet. I was trying to find new software for my mailing list and I went down a wormhole.
It was a terrible day.
I looked into one option. Thought — this is IT! It’s terrific! I spent hours trying to set it up, only to realize it wasn’t good at all.
I did this not once on Sunday, but TWICE.
By the end of the day, I felt like I was going to pass out from exhaustion. And worse of all, I’d wasted my day.
How often does this happen to you? You work really hard on something, whether it’s a work project, looking for a new bed for your kid, or making a dinner that no one eats. And it just doesn’t work out.
Things aren’t coming together. It feels like everything you’re doing is for nothing.
It makes you feel defeated.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have extra energy to be throwing away on doing things that aren’t fun and that don’t have results.
It’s so frustrating.
Creates A Defeatist Attitude
Yesterday when my quest for software wasn’t going well, you know what happened?
I couldn’t make dinner.
I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t find anything in the house. I figured no one would like it anyway. So why bother? Instead, I had a little pity party and got very negative.
What’s going on here?
What’s going on is that the energy from my DEFEAT was bleeding into other areas of my life.
You can guess that nothing went well that evening.
I had a fight with my daughter over homework. I got mad at my husband for allowing the kids too much screen time.
You got it. It’s a downward spiral.
Here’s what happens when this downward spiral happens, if you’re not thinking the way I’m about to show you.
You blame everyone and everything.
The problem is that all the software out there is rotten. There’s not good software that exists anywhere.
Or, the problem is screens. Too much screen time and no homework.
And without realizing it, we blame everything and everybody.
And I’m right there with you. I do it, too since I’m not perfect. We all sometimes fall down this spiral.
But here’s the problem.
The spiral does not have an end.
Once it starts, you can keep going down. The next day, you get angry at something else. And it continues till
-you’re mad at everything and everybody
-you give up on your to-do list because why bother?
And unfortunately, this leads to a very imbalanced life. I don’t recommend it.
Find the Micro-Victory
Here’s what stops the cycle. It’s finding the little thing you did well.
Using my example, my micro-victory was learning that some cheaper options for email software won’t work for me. 5 years for now I won’t regret using a more expensive option because I don’t want to be frustrated every day of my life with a bad email program.
It would also look like focusing on the homework that my daughter actually did and celebrating that instead of the one assignment she didn’t get to.
When we find the micro-victory, it brings us UP the spiral rather than down.
It turns our negative energy positive.
Imagine if I was feeling GREAT about myself for working so hard, instead of beating myself up?
What would be the results?
You got it — I’d KEEP working!! But if I kept focusing on what I thought were failures, I’d give up.
Celebrate Your Micro-Victories Every Day
I invite you to celebrate your micro-victories every day.
On Fridays in our Facebook group we talk about these micro-victories. We focus on what we did that we’re proud of.
Sometimes we’ll get a funny answer. Last week someone wrote, “I shaved my legs. Does that count?”
A few people responded — of course it does!
You see how the shift in your thinking can help you get more done, and feel great about yourself while you’re at it?
What I’m describing makes sense, doesn’t it?
But in case you prefer documented research, I’ve got a study for you that demonstrates this point.
They found what they call the Progress Principle.
The more frequently people experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run
And they also found that big wins were great – but they were relatively rare. Instead, they found that small wins could have a tremendous effect on people’s attitudes.
How Will You Implement?
How can you implement this in your life so that you can celebrate little micro-victories?
How will you shift your attitude so that you go up the spiral and not down?
And this applies to every area of your life. From your work, to getting dinner on the table.
How will you incorporate celebrating micro-victories so you can get more done, and have more joy doing it?
I invite you to start thinking about how you’re going to incorporate this into your own life so it becomes natural and your default. So you have fewer days like I had yesterday and more days with joy.
Thank you for reading this and I wish you the joy of a balanced life.