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How To Juggle Like a Pro: Use the Power of Synergy

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{This is a guest post by Sherri Kruger from Serene Journey and Zen Family Habits}

Doing what we love and what makes us feel inspired and creative is important for own wellness and growth. And it also models important values to our children.” – Lisa Byrne from Rekindling Parts Of Yourself.

I get asked this question quite often: “How do you get so much done and still have time to raise a family?”

I’ll start off by telling you I’m just an ordinary girl, wife to a great husband and mom to two very young, very active boys. I’m certainly not super woman, I don’t always have my stuff together and there are days where I don’t feel I’m adding much value at all.

That said I do raise my kids, work on my marriage and manage to maintain two blogs and created a new site to further help people be awesome.

You don’t need to be superman or super woman to get a lot of stuff done. There is one thing in particular that you can do to drastically improve your juggling skills. And that is to Synergize.

Once you align what you love with what you do you can achieve amazing things.

All of my online adventures are tied in with what I enjoy in “real life”. Serene Journey is where I focus on helping people lead happier, simpler more deliberate lives. Zen Family Habits is where I share many of the same things but with a stronger focus on family – which I’m passionate about as I now have a family of my own.

My newest endeavor (which launched yesterday!) is called Listbean. It’s a site that will help people be awesome, through the power of organization :) I want to help people be awesome at being effective, efficient and deliberate in everything they do.

The common themes that run through all of these sites are simplicity, happiness, and living true to yourself.

These are also things I strive for in my real life. Two years ago my husband and I downsized our home and purged a lot of stuff we were holding onto because we thought we may need it someday. We’ve also recently taken a look at where we are and where we ultimately want to go as individuals and as a family. All of which I share and incorporate into my various online projects.

Doing things and getting stuff done does take a lot more than simply aligning what you enjoy with what you do, I mean there is the actual doing part as well. But if you can work towards synergy you’ll have a huge advantage.

A typical day for me:

5:30-6:45am up and exercise/write/coffee/tea/breakfast/make bed/make lunches

7:30am online email/write/read

8/8:30am breakfast for the boys

9 – 1pm dishes, vacuum, laundry, dust, clean bathrooms, outside gardening, walking, lunch, clean up

1-3pm boys nap; me: write, plan, garden, make phone calls, return emails

3-7pm prep dinner, tidy the house, play outside, eat dinner, clean up, play/read, bath, bed

7-11pm write, plan, email, time with hubby

It’s a full day but when the lines dividing your roles blur you can become very efficient and effective at what you do since it all feeds into each other and is really one in the same.

Some of the tools I use:

My productivity system isn’t pretty. It’s not the latest and greatest app it’s actually a combination of a bunch of ideas from a bunch of different systems.

I think the most important thing to remember when choosing an organizing system is to make sure it works for you. If it doesn’t don’t be afraid to toss it aside and try a different one. If your constantly fighting your system you won’t be very productive.

To keep track of my various projects I have a very large scrap book, the kind kids use to create their masterpieces. Each project gets a different color post-it note and as ideas come to my head I add them on individual notes.

At the front of the scrapbook I have a “working on” page where I keep 3 things I’m currently working on. They can be all from the same project or from three different projects it doesn’t matter. The reason this works for me is I can focus on a small number of things at a time and when they are complete I don’t have to think “now what do I do?” I simply flip through my scrapbook and move a few more sticky notes to the front and work on them. Easy peasy I think.

The driving force behind Listbean

I disliked having to write and then re-write lists every time I did something.

Take going to the in-laws for the weekend. I thought it was such a waste of time rewriting the list of what to take. And when I didn’t write a list I would always forget something – last visit it was the playpen. That made for an interesting evening I’ll tell ya.

Being fully customizable is what, in my opinion, makes Listbean an important tool in my arsenal of productivity tools.

Thanks to my hubby I also keep track of goals/desires/wishes on a larger scale. So I start by asking myself: What do I want to accomplish this year or this month?

This allows me to choose which smaller, more specific things to focus on in any given day or week so that I’m always inching closer to being where I ultimately want to be.

But maybe this type of goal setting isn’t for you, maybe you’re a details person if so make sure to revisit Lisa’s Mastering the Mini-task it’s an excellent article on breaking down to-do items into next actionable items.

My biggest piece of advice is not to wait.

Don’t wait for the right time, don’t wait for a slow time, don’t wait until next week, and most certainly don’t wait until things are perfect – because I’m sure you know that’s never going to happen. Start slow but the key is to start. As you begin to juggle you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Toss the things that don’t and keep adding things that work and add value to your life.

It’s not really a secret it’s just trying the best you can to align what you love to do with what you’re actually doing. The rest just falls into place.

What things in your life use the power of synergy?  What do you feel passionate about?  Have you found ways to bring your passion into your everyday living?

{Note from Lisa: Thank you for this fantastic post, Sherri!  If you aren’t familiar with Serene Journey and Zen Family Habits you’ll want to check these sites out– they are incredible sources for living a simple, happy and fulfilled life. And get on over to Listbean today–it’s free! I am already customizing many of my own lists…an incredible time saver for busy moms!}

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marci@OvercomingBusy

The idea of synergy is so important! I guess I never thought about it much before, but so many people are pulled in so many directions they are stressed out and unproductive. You are productive because your endeavors feed off of eachother. Brilliant!

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Lisa

I totally agree Marci! It became clear to me that I needed to find work that “doubled” as something I felt passionate and excited about so I could not only be filing my cup– but also doing my best work possible.

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Sherri Kruger

Hi Lisa,
Thank you so much for letting me contribute to your lovely home here and for sharing Listbean with your fabulous readers. I’m so glad you like it. :)

Marci, that’s exactly it! The more unrelated things you try to do (perhaps in the futile attempt to be a supermom/superdad) the more stressed out you can become. Synergy helps because, like you say your endeavors all feed off each other. :)

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Vina

Wow, this really resonated with me. Thanks, Sherri. I knew I needed focus in my, but synergy much better captures what I was thinking. Thanks for putting words and a new framework to think about!

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