The good news is that even the busiest parent can find additional time in their day, with just a couple of adjustments. Little blocks of spare time can be really made to count and result in a huge change to your outlook. Like most working parents we think our time is scheduled down to the last minute, but there are ways of doing more with less. Here are some tips to help:
- Stop doing what you don’t need to do. Stop owning other people’s stuff. You don’t need to put yourself in a position where you say, “Don’t worry I’ll do it”. Let them take responsibility. We all know that we have things that must be done and a “To do list” is a great way to manage it. It keeps you focused but it also has to include obtainable goals. We aren’t Superheros! So give yourself a break. Don’t aim for the impossible or do jobs others should be doing.
- Work out what to say no to. Become the master of the graceful “No”. People ask us all the time if we can give them a minute. Protect your time! We’ve just admitted that this is our scarcest resource. Ask yourself what benefit you will receive by doing things for others.
- Give yourself a chance to think and relax. A couple of years ago I went to the Doctor as I was always exhausted. He asked me when I last did something for myself. I couldn’t answer. It then struck me....taking a break is not time wasting. It gave me a rest and allowed me time to think. Sometimes removing yourself from the noise and having a little fun, even just for a little time, allows you to be more productive when you are back.
- Establish Sane working hours. Before committing to a new role be sure to assess if your expectations of work hours agree with your employers. We all know job commitments and life ebbs and flows so you need to check occasionally that the expectations are consistent. You may choose to make weeknights and weekends family time.
- Don’t be Perfect. Perfection is a mirage…it doesn’t exist. Do you think that your children will remember or care if your house was spotlessly clean? No, but they will remember if they had clothes in their cupboards and if you were available to spend time with them. Let go of the perfect and figure out what is practical.
- Get present so you can be productive. Multi- tasking is something that we all try to manage, but the reality is that we are more productive when we are focused on the task at hand. When you are at work stop worrying about dinner; when you are playing with the kids stop writing the shopping list.
Our lack of time is a reflection of “Having it all” fatigue. We are worn out from the pressure to excel and be perfect. If you use these simple hints you may find some extra time in your day. Make sure you use it for something kind and wonderful for yourself.