How are you getting along on the assignment to work with just one calendar? If you have no clue what I’m talking about, go here. This is Part 2 of 9 Ways Being Ruthless Helps You Win, Work at Home and Homeschool. Are you finding it difficult to eliminate some systems? I did at first. In fact, there was a time I worked with three digital calendars and two hard copy. I thought I needed all that to handle work, home, and homeschool. It didn’t seem like any of my scheduling tools wanted to work together. Nowadays, it’s so easy to find tools that integrate with one another to make work flow seamless. But there are so many. How do we know which ones are right for us and which ones have become paperweights?
Tools are Meant to Simplify Life
I’m going to be honest, I love using tools that help make life simpler. Most people do. (I have family who lives near the Amish, so I know there are some who have a different view of simplicity.)
For example, when I’m home, I know my crock pot is going to be in use at least once a week. When my bread maker was in working condition, it made bread, pizza dough, cakes, and jams. Now, I’m biding my time until I can snag a new, or comparable, bread maker. But, it was consistently in use because I live on a mountain. And to travel down the mountain for a loaf of bread is a bit much. Although the commute time would be no different than to your favorite market, it’s not the smoothest drive to make every day. So, it was simpler to have the machine than to pay for the wear and tear on the car.
In contrast, I have a waffle iron, a pizzelle maker, and a pasta maker that are rarely in use. Why? Because they only come out during special occasions. Usually during the holidays or when I have guests.
They are great tools when I want to use them. But, their purpose is not to make my life simpler. When I think about it, they were purchased with other people in mind. To show that I had those tools and what they could do. After a few consistent (and time-consuming) uses, the novelty wore off and they were stored away – for special occasions.
Like children, we all love our shiny new toys at first use. They are perfect and just what we need. Then, after a week or a month, we find just how much time our new tools consume. And the effort it takes to use them. But we don’t want to get rid of them. I mean, we paid real money for our tools and gadgets. The problem, however, is that they are sitting there – without use – taking up valuable real estate.
Toss Out Tools that Complicate Your Life…Well, Maybe not TOSS…
That’s why we must also be ruthless with our tools. Meaning we need to cut the tools that are unnecessary. Get them out of our lives. Wash them out of our hair.
We can begin the process by determining which tools still work and which don’t. Then, of the ones that work, asking if they are used daily, monthly or seasonally.
It’s the same concept used when decluttering your home. Only now you’re including your home-based business and your homeschool.
One specific type of tool I’d like to zone in on is the productivity app. I’m also including email apps designed to get you to “inbox 0.”
Let me say that I’m all for tools that help productivity. I “heart” my tomato timer. And I’m telling you now, I would be lost without my household cleaning checklist. It keeps my days, weeks, months, quarters and years in order.
And being a single, work-at-home, homeschooling parent, there are inevitably going to be days when you “just don’t wanna…” And you’re going to need some type of productivity tool to help you stay on track. Or to get you back on track. Something to keep you from chasing your tail. To keep you on top of what the kids are working on. And to keep your house from becoming a HAZMAT zone.
But, with all you have going on, you don’t need to overwhelm yourself with apps that are going to turn you into “crazy busy.”
Is it for another time, now or never?
So, your assignment for this week is to look at all your productivity apps. If you aren’t sure whether it is a productivity app, do a search for “Productivity Apps.” You can make it even more specific by searching for “homeschool productivity app” or “home business productivity app.” I was floored when I realized how many productivity apps I am currently using. (Did you know that Adobe Acrobat Reader, Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are considered productivity apps?) Notice which – if any – are focusing on the same “job.” Decide if one, or more, can be eliminated or placed to the side for another time or season. Look for 1-2 that can help you with your homeschooling, 1-2 to help with your home business and 1-2 to help with homemaking. Bonus points if one productivity app can handle 2 or all 3 of them.
For example, one of my productivity apps, Homeschool Planet, helps me organize homeschool assignments and lesson plans, outside activities, to-do lists, and shopping lists. It even has a widget for search engine look ups. Plus, it integrates with Google Calendar. I never want to let it go.
Note: If you use different apps in the Microsoft Office Suite for business – like I do – consider that one bundle. 😉
So, get to work ruthlessly slashing and cutting. And I will see you next week.