Time is the most precious commodity of this day and age. Almost everyone, especially moms, are constantly running around, trying to get things done: Is everyone’s tummies full?
Are little bodies clean and clothed in something other than a princess or Spiderman outfit? And what about work, buying groceries, balancing budgets, and don’t even talk about getting time to go to the gym or spending some quality time with your partner and children. Just stand still for a moment, and think “what about me?”.
The Real Simple/Families and Work Institute’s survey on Women and Time: Setting a New Agenda states that nearly 50% of women have one and a half hour of free time per day – time where they can do what they really want. Another 25% have almost 45 minutes of free time, whereas 4% have zero hours.
According to president and co-founder of the FWI, Ellen Galinsky, time is currently being defined as running a marathon. She is of meaning that we should rather have a weight-lifting approach – “you have a period of rest and recovery before you lift a heavy weight again.”
Here are some tips to get stuff done without destroying your wellbeing:
1. Go electronic
Get with the times and make use of your smartphone’s calendar, task list and reminder functions. This way you will never forget another birthday, appointment or task, and the best thing: you don’t have to be on constant alert, trying to sort everything in your head or on a piece of paper or scribbles in a diary. Its calendar functions make it easy to plan your day, week, month and even year.
2. Preparation keeps anxiety at bay
Now that you’ve got your tools sorted, it is crucial to know that planning to plan should take priority. Set time aside each morning, before the day’s craziness starts, to look at your diary and tasks for the day, and to review the rest of the week’s activities. Don’t forget about yourself. You have to schedule enough me-time to unwind and prevent those stress headaches, stiff muscles, and perhaps even looming burnout.
3. Small bites won’t make you choke
To avoid becoming overwhelmed, don’t obsess about tomorrow, the rest of the week, the month and year’s activities when reviewing your diary each morning. It defeats the purpose of making an entry in your calendar – you dot it down so you don’t have to think about it again. The automatic reminders will keep you on track for the day.
4. Chuck it out
I know you’ve heard this for the umpteenth time, but you need to hear it again: say no to others and sometimes even to yourself. You have to start prioritising. Make up your mind what is more important to you: spending that extra hour with your partner in the evening, or cooking an elaborate dinner; putting in extra effort at work so you don’t have to work late, or surfing on social media to see what others are doing with their time. Rating your activities from one to 10 in order of importance is a good technique to get rid of the time-thieves.
Becoming aware of what you are doing with your time will go a long way in making your time-related decisions. Knowing yourself and pinpointing what is important to you will help you fine-tune you diary and free up your time for the things that really matter – things that will bring you happiness.