Photo: Thinkstock

7 of 10
Focus on Your Core Competencies
Vanderkam believes that most people have what she calls "core competencies"—the things that we do best and that other people can't do for us. Usually, these fall into three categories: nurturing careers, nurturing our family and close friends, and nurturing ourselves. For example, only you can focus on your long-term career development; only you can play with your kids or build a relationship with your spouse; only you can sleep or exercise (unfortunately). And as for everything else that doesn't fit into those categories? Ignore, minimize or outsource.

So if I go through my mental lint, this is most important: finding out if the back problem is due to falling off the counter (nurturing myself), taking the kids to members' night at the museum (nurturing my children) and talking to my husband about vacationing in West Virginia (nurturing my spouse). Not geraniums, which I could still put in the window boxes...or could just forget about since it is July and people who really love gardening—as opposed to people who feel obligated to do it—plant flowers in the spring.