Procedure Checklists for the Overwhelmed Mom

posted in: homemaking, podcast 3

Are you an overwhelmed mom? Frustrated with too much to do? A set of procedure checklists is just what you need to get the traction you want. When you’re looking at how to organize your life, getting a few key procedure checklists is the perfect place to begin.

This month inside the Simply Convivial Circle we’re talking all about procedure lists – when to keep them and how to keep them simple.

We often think we need some fancy or complicated solution to solve our home management woes, but more often than not, a simple, standard practice is all we need.

After all, home management is not about achieving your perfectionist ideals, but rather about accepting your responsibilities and your constraints so you can walk in faithfulness and fruitfulness.

When it’s hard to get started because there’s too much to do, procedure checklists are the shortcut to momentum you need.

How many times have you slumped into a chair or stayed, a bit numb, in bed, because the number of things to do that day was completely overwhelming?

Sure, we can declutter our lives, our homes, and our to-do lists, but that’s a process that takes time. What do we do right now? How do we get up and get moving? What is it that’s paralyzing us? Why are we overwhelmed moms much of the time?

The problem is two-fold.

First, we have a lot to do. Now, that’s not actually the problem, although we often blame that for our overwhelm. Having a lot to do is normal and part of living a full, responsible, God-glorifying life. The real problem is that we haven’t actually identified what it specifically is we have to do. So we wake up with a vague sense of having a lot to do without really knowing exactly what that lot is. We need to name and write down all the things we think we ought to do, then choose a top 3 for the day. Knowing specifically what’s on our agenda and selecting 3 as priorities will help us get going, because we can only take action on specific tasks, not vague obligations.

Second, we need to have a strategy for overcoming inertia. Inertia is that law of energy which says that an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon. Conversely, an object in motion will also stay in motion unless acted upon. We experience friction and obstacles to stop our momentum, for sure, but do we have the supports in place that we need to jumpstart from inactivity to that momentum we’re looking for. If we know how to jumpstart ourselves, then it’s not a disaster when friction slows us down or obstacles stop us altogether.

The solution for overwhelmed moms who have a hard time getting started.

There is, however, one strategy that offers a solution to both problems. That solution is a procedure checklist.

A procedure checklist sounds like one more thing, but it is actually a tactic that streamlines our actions, eliminates choices, and offers momentum – if only we will take it. That’s what makes it perfect for overwhelmed moms like us.

A procedure checklist is a simple, straightforward thing: It is a list of not only what to do, but what order to do it in. We don’t need a list like this for the whole day, but we are more likely to get moving and get to the important things when we have a startup procedure list for ourselves – a morning routine checklist – and also if we have a procedure list for important blocks in our day.

For example, it’s important to me that we do Morning Time in our homeschool day, and it’s also important to my teens that it not waste their time. So I have a very clear and specific procedure list to run a beautiful yet efficient Morning Time: It has a clear beginning with a song played over the house speakers so everyone has a few minutes to gather their things and meet in the living room. Then exactly what we do, one thing after another, is listed out and we simply follow the list. Having the procedure, the agenda, written out is key to having order, keeping everyone on board, and starting the day with prayer, Scripture, poetry, and singing – in about half an hour.

The same strategy applies to a Weekly Review, that nemesis for many of you. If we just have a vague sense that we ought to do a weekly review, but we don’t know what that really includes or looks like, we won’t do it. We can’t do it. If you want to start doing a weekly review, give yourself a simple procedure checklist.

  • Look at my calendar for the next 3 weeks
  • Take notes about what I need to do to be ready for those things coming up
  • Look over my lists
  • Make sure my calendar is 100% up to date.

That’s all it needs to be! There’s always more you can add, but that’s all the weekly review needs to be while you’re building the habit. Keeping it simple, straightforward, and listed out makes it easier to get started, and once you’re started, you’re well on your way.

There’s no need to be overwhelmed, mom. Just dig in and jump in – with your procedure checklist.

Well begun is half done, and a procedure checklist is a jumpstart to beginning.

How can a procedure checklist help you move from an overwhelmed mom to a confident and capable mom growing in momentum? Download the Procedure Checklist Brain Dump guide to walk through my easy process for figuring out that answer for yourself. No one else has the answers that will fit your life.

But with a little help, you can figure it out.

Brain dump to create your own procedure checklists

3 Responses

  1. […] we as moms are overwhelmed, a procedure checklist might be just the ticket to calm our stress and help us start doing what […]

  2. […] A procedure checklist is simply a list of specific, small actions to take in a clear and logical order. Instead of doing what feels best in the moment, we take the time to think it through, make it clear, and so save ourselves not only time but also willpower points. Because making decisions takes energy and willpower, having the checklist to work from keeps us on track more consistently. A procedure checklist is the best tactic for overwhelmed moms at home. […]

  3. […] Procedure checklists are the perfect solution for overwhelmed moms. Checklists are even more helpful when the steps they list out are for bite-sized routines, routines that are not themselves overwhelming or perfectionism, but small and doable. […]

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