The Waffle Principle: Time Management
The waffle principle is a time management strategy I’ve been using for years, and it works really well! This strategy is especially great if you’re one of those women who has a lot to juggle from to day.
Now unfortunately, applying this principle won’t magically give you more than 24 hours in your day (wouldn’t that be nice tho!) But with this strategy, you can get more done in those 24 hours and also feel less stressed while doing it! If you prefer to watch my video on the Waffle Principle, just click below:
So I want you to imagine a waffle. Now, this is a waffle with all those little compartments – not a flat pancake! Imagine each of the compartments of the waffle as one of the hours of your day. (For simplicity sake, let’s only think of the waking hours of your day – if we included sleeping hours then half the waffle would be for sleeping!)
What you put in each compartment of your waffle really matters and has a big impact on how much you can get done each day and on how stressed you will feel while doing it.
There are two types of tasks you can fill your compartments with. The first are full focus tasks. These are things that require your entire attention. For me, filming a video for my YouTube channel is a full focus task. It goes the most smoothly when the kids are with their babysitter, I don’t have any distractions, and I can give all my attention to filming.
I certainly could film a video while my kids are around, and I’ve done it before! But it’s much harder. The kids want to play, they start asking to make waffles as soon as they hear me mention waffles, and it takes at least twice as long to get the same task done.
Now there are other tasks that are not full focus tasks. These are things like sorting the laundry, washing the dishes, and making the bed. If my kids distract me in the middle of washing the dishes, it’s really not hard to pick up where I left off when I’m able to come back to the sink and tackle the dishes.
When you look at the compartments in your waffle, there are probably a precious few number of full focus spots. Don’t waste them! Be sure that you’re only putting tasks that require your full focus into those full focus compartments. If I spent the few distraction free hours that I have washing the dishes and catching up on laundry, while I’d probably feel pretty great to have those tasks done, I would be a lot more stressed trying to get videos filmed with kids underfoot.
I know some women will look over their day and find pretty much no full focus compartments available to them. Let me encourage you, if that is you (and I’ve been there!) do what you can to carve out those times, even if it’s 30 minutes. Some people can crank out work in the early morning before anyone else gets up. That’s definitely not me. I’ve never been what you call a “morning person”. When I had two small children at home, I set aside an hour after they went to bed each night as my focus time.
If you have older teenagers or adults in your home, talk openly with them about your need for some full focus time, and let them know which times you won’t be available.
By prioritizing the tasks that need to be done distraction free during the precious few moments you have in a week that are free from distractions, you’ll find you’re able to get more done with less stress.