Our lives are full of ‘busy work’ and it’s very hard to work out what is the most important thing to do in any one moment. We can become overwhelmed with the myriad requests on our time but the two questions we really need to ask ourselves when considering anything are

Is this important?

The first question is vital in separating out the urgent from the important. If we only do the work that keeps us busy we are not being truly effective. Instead, we need to focus on doing the right things at the right time. For example, take the weekly shop. It might seem economical to traipse around the supermarket with your children and fight through the weekend crowds. Groceries are certainly important but what about the actual act of shopping for them? When you do a time and cost analysis you realise that those extra £4 pounds to organise the shop online and get it delivered are actually worth it.

Older generations often want to maintain control and save on extra costs. They would rather do the shopping themselves because they’re afraid to outsource things. This leads us to our second question.

Is there someone else who could do this better?

There are many tasks in our day-to-day lives that can/should always be done only by us. Think of the most important ones. Spending time with children, partners, and our extended families. And then there are other tasks that really don’t matter as much but are important to the general day-to-day running of our lives. Ironing our clothes, cleaning the house, washing a car. If we don’t find true value in these things then why do them?

Everyone is emotionally connected to different things. My father-in-law loves picking apart his car. My neighbor often spends all morning cleaning and waxing his car. These are their passions and they find them fulfilling. I respect people that want to spend time doing these things but I’m just not one of them. If we are not enjoying these activities, and if they are taking us away from the things we really love then we have to jettison them from our lives. Outsource these tasks to someone more qualified to do the job.

Next time you’re about to take on a new task, stop and ask yourself these questions. Just because someone asks you to do something, or it’s the thing that most people do, doesn’t mean you have to do it. Find what you love and do more of it. For many of my fellow parent bloggers, this will mean finding more ways to spend time with family and children.