WRITTEN BY Aileen Kelly
3 in 30 – Lighten Your Mental Load
We loved talking to Rachel on 3 in 30, an excellent 30-minute podcast that offers three easily actionable items for moms. Our episode, How To Lighten Your Mental Load, offers three easy steps to help clear out some of the chatter in your head surrounding all the things that don’t end up on your to-do list.
The three steps we recommend are (1) track, (2) assess, and (3) delegate or delete.
Listen along with us. There’s a lot in this brief episode that has the potential to lighten your mental load.
Step 1: Track Your Daily Tasks
The first action we recommend is tracking. Take note of what you do each day. We suggest you also track the frequency and duration of each task. We know this sounds onerous. But there are some tools that can make it easier. We built an app, Tend Task: Household Organizer that can help make this easier. We even include a task timer! If you don’t want to download another app, use a spreadsheet or pencil and paper, but by noticing all you do in a day, you have knowledge that can help with the next step.
Step 2: Assess Task Impact on Your Well-being
Your second action is to assess. Review your list and note whether the activity filled your tank or drained it. Use a simple system like emojis or arrows to make it easy. You may also want to use a scale like 1-5 to asses how much an activity drained or filled. You start to notice patterns like physical tasks are more draining, and emotional tasks fill you up or vice versa.
If you find your day is 80% draining and 20% fulfilling, that could be an excellent place to start thinking about how you’re spending your time. There are always tasks that must be done, but using this information could allow you to start having conversations with your partner, family, or coach about how you can start finding some balance between what makes your day and what breaks it.
Step 3: Delegate or Delete to Achieve Metal Load Balance
Now you’re ready to tackle the final step, one that we think can be the hardest but ultimately the most fulfilling. Some of you may stop here. Understanding our feelings about how we spend the bulk of our time can be a major relief. We can look at our days and think, “Yes, I have five loads of laundry and a bunch of errands to run, but volunteering in the classroom fills my tank right back up.”
Your third and final task is to delegate or delete. I know. I told you this is a tough one. Remain calm. After recording and assessing how you spend your time, it’s time to make some deductions based on your data. Remember, data has no opinion. Thirteen trips to the store in 14 days is simply a data point. What you do with that information is what matters.
All those trips to the store could be fine. Maybe they could fill your tank. Keep them. But if you hate the store and spend hours a week there, is there something you can do about it? Can you afford to order your groceries online and have them delivered? I did that for a few months after my dad died, which was very helpful. Also, it turns out other people can pick out better watermelons than I can.
The point of this step is to take the information you have gathered and make some changes. Here is another opportunity for your partner to step in and help. Maybe they drive by the store daily on their way home from work. See if they are willing to take on this task.
Here is where many conversations about shared values can begin. How important are a pristine front yard, sparkling clean cars, and leaf-free gutters? Why are those tasks still on the argument docket if no one cares? Hire someone or learn to live with freakishly tall weeds but what matters is living a life that fulfills your family’s shared values.
Tell the neighbors your weed collection is a natural habitat garden!