I’m often asked, “How do you do everything you do?” and I usually reply with “I just stay focused and keep going.” However, this standard answer is becoming increasingly unsatisfactory to those who ask. So, I’ve decided to write about this. How do I get things done?
NB: I’m on a journey and still learning every day and certainly don’t claim to have it all together. With this in mind, I will try and share some of the things that work for me.
Perhaps a brief summary (dare I try) of my day-to-day and week-to-week might help by way of introduction.
My name is Megan. I love my life. I’ve been married to Rohan since 1997 and we have two delightful kids, Zarriah and Maddox. I love being a Mum and I love being a teacher, speaker, author and presenter. I’m committed to providing a super enriching home and learning environment for my children with library visits, picnics, holidays and much more. I volunteer my time at my local church on weekends. I write on my blog every week. I speak regularly at conferences, schools, universities and not-for-profit organizations both here in Australia and overseas, particularly Asia. I record 3 podcast episodes each week (with a fourth one starting soon). I’ve written four books and am constantly developing new resources for teachers. I fly to Sydney (usually with the kids) every other week for business and to see my family… I could continue but you get the idea…
So, HOW do I get stuff done?
1) I get up early.
Yep, this pretty much is one of the big keys. I get up early, before the kids wake, and I get stuff done. In fact, as soon as I get up I make myself a cuppa, have a shower, get dressed (including hair and makeup) and I sit down with the intent to work, to get stuff done. And I do. I love this time of day. All is quiet, and me and my cup of tea and my computer hang out. We work together. We get stuff done. It is the most amazing feeling getting your kids out of bed around 7am, knowing that you’ve had 2 incredibly productive hours of getting stuff done. The best.
2) I have a system for everything.
I really do. I have a morning routine. I have an evening routine. I have a system for getting the kids dressed and ready. I have a system for writing my blog posts and producing my podcasts. I have a system for keeping my house tidy. I have a plan for everything and I stick to it. Habitually. Methodically. And it works.
3) I hone (and sometimes change) my systems.
I’m constantly looking for ways to become more effective. If I can think of a better system, then I will change and modify until it works even better. I love FlyLady. She has helped me with so many little things, so many systems that have helped me be more effective.
4) I grow daily.
I really am committed to getting the most out of every day. I want to learn everything I can from the days that are given to me. I ensure that I’m always learning and always growing. I read books, listen to podcasts, engage in professional development, do everything I can to learn something new every day.
5) I reflect daily.
I expect to learn something new every day. I take time (usually at the end of the day) to ask myself this question: What did I get from today? I use a Daily Reflective Journal to help me think about the day and learn from it, which you can download below.
6) I make time in time.
My husband Rohan taught me to do this. To make time in time. To take my daughter on an errand I would usually run on my own; to have a podcast playing in the car; to make a phonecall in those 5 minutes and say what I need to say in the given time I have; to use my time in the best way I can (I’m currently writing this post on a plane); to really savour the moments, even the ‘everyday’ ones.
7) I allow people to help me.
I am an organised, capable person and I’m used to getting stuff done and learning to be more and more efficient. And up until 2 years ago I never really ‘let’ anyone help me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want help, it’s just that my default response when someone asked me, “Can I help you with that?” was “No, I’m fine thanks.” About 2 years ago I decided that if I really was going to get stuff done, then I needed to let people help me. So I made a commitment to say ‘yes’ every single time someone offered to help. And it has been amazing. Say yes the next time someone offers to help.
8) I (try to) avoid perfectionism.
I’m the first to admit that I like things as close to perfect as possible. I openly acknowledge my OCD tendencies. I like things very tidy and organised and clean, all the time, every day, every moment. However, I’ve learned that expecting and insisting on perfection just doesn’t work. I’m all for excellence and believe in doing things well, but I’m learning that excellence is not perfection. Teaching students is far from a perfect art and sometimes the hard effort you’ve put into that lesson or that document or program just has to be enough.
9) I’m (learning to be) flexible.
Following on from my tendencies toward perfectionism, I’m learning that flexibility is a great character quality, and one that is essential for educators.
Things can and do change all the time and we need to expect that and learn to deal with it appropriately.
10) I enjoy the journey.
The way I sign off with ‘Enjoy the journey, and more importantly, enjoy the moments’ is not just some pithy little phrase I thought of. It’s actually the way I live my life. I try to enjoy the journey, to make the most of every day, to find the joy and gratitude in the ‘everyday’ moments.
Getting things done is important and all of us are always looking for ways to do this more effectively.
I hope that you too can get things done in your life, with your family, and in your profession.
As I always say (and I always mean it wholeheartedly),
Enjoy the journey,
And more importantly, enjoy the moments.