The challenges of raising a little one (or two or three) and balancing this with your work, home chores, your relationship and social activities makes you wonder if you will ever see Me Time again. The lack of time and the pressure to do more and more with less and less is exhausting. With hardly any time leftover in a day, I am sure you cannot even imagine having even one little hour of time to yourself?
I am here to tell you that you can! I promise that if you try out these tips – even just one or two of them – you will change the way you look at time so that you can get a little Me love in your life.
Are you ready to shift your thinking about how you are managing your time?
Rule 1: The fact you have no time is a perception.
Read that again. Think about it. In a day you have 16 hours available (that is if you only need 8 hours of sleep). That is 112 hours a week! 448 hours a month on average: which is around 5376 hours a year. So let’s assume you work 8 hours a day, and let’s minus travel time from that. You will have 30 hours in the week and 32 hours over the weekend: that’s 62 hours in one week.
Now before you mention all the things you have to do in a day or how exhausted you are or that you work longer hours…I will come to that…what I would like you to realise is that there IS enough time. It is your perception that there isn’t time that is ruling your life.
Rule 2: There is only one thing stopping you from having ‘Me Time’ and that is yourself.
It is so easy to forget about taking care of yourself when you are so busy taking care of everyone else. The thing is YOU are important! You need to be happy, healthy and energised to do all the things parenthood and life demands of you. While you are giving out happiness, energy and love to others, you also need to refill yourself otherwise as time goes by you will find yourself feeling less happy, energised and loved. While your partner, children and job may be fulfilling and rewarding, you will still need time aside that is just yours alone to treasure.
This doesn’t mean you are selfish, what it means is that you deserve to find time to do something that makes you feel happy and rejuvenated so that you can continue to be the most fabulous, generous parent that you are.
Rule 3: Get real with your time.
Examine your days: what are you spending your time doing? How much time are you spending on different activities? How much time are you spending worrying or procrastinating? To see how you spend your time keep a diary for a week or two where you jot down all your activities for the day. After one week of doing this, your diary will give you insight into whether there is a problem at home or work, or whether it is in fact your perception that you have no time that is a problem. Often our perception of the problem is bigger than it actually is and all that may be required is some good planning and management.
Rule 4: Get clear on your priorities.
What do you want in your life? Ask yourself to imagine the day you have achieved balance, what do you see yourself doing? What are you doing less of and more of? Be really clear on your priorities at work and at home so that you know where to focus your energies. Look back at your diary and see how you are spending your time versus how you want to spend your time.
Rule 5: Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
When I say simplify, I mean all the stuff that is not a priority but is eating away at your time. Find a way to get rid of it, delegate, or find a better and quicker way of getting it done. If there is someone eating away at your time and that person is not a priority, find a way to see him or her less. If you are used to taking on every extra project or family crisis or social engagement, learn to say no.
Rule 6: Learn to manage your time.
Find a way to better manage your days. Weekly planning and daily action lists can really make a huge difference to your days. Your weekly plan is a list of all the broader goals you want to achieve in the week.
- to have finalised the family weekend away
- to have spent more play time with your child
- to have some Me Time scheduled
Your daily actions are a list of things you need to do to reach your desired weekly goals. For example:
- Research the internet for accommodation in Durban/CT or wherever you want to go in your price range
- Look through your diary and schedule an hour a day/ or a few hours a week of meaningful, uninterrupted play time with your child
- Decide what you want to do with your Me Time – go to a Spa, read, walk, see a movie, take a dance class…and when you can do it.
- Check the monthly calendar and see how often you can realistically have Me Time
- Discuss with your partner and decide on holiday venue
- Block out regular time in your diary for me time
- Call your mother/friend/partner to take care of baby during your Me Time
- Book holiday venue and pay deposit
- Stick to your appointment for Me Time
Rule 7: Don’t sweat.
It is just not worth stressing over the small things. Be calm at the end of the day or when you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities. Write them all down, analyse when you can do them, schedule them or delegate them, then remember tomorrow is a whole new day and remind yourself that you CAN handle it.
Rule 8: Ask for help.
We are sometimes too proud and stubborn to ask for help. This applies especially to women who believe they can do it all on their own. Sometimes our need to be independent can do us harm especially when we are not coping. When you have done everything you can to take control of your day and it is still not working, ask your partner, immediate family or close friends for help and support.
Rule 9: Assess.
Continually assess where you are. Take time out every three months to see how you are doing balancing your life. Ask yourself what is working and what is not, and make a plan to do more of what is working and less of what is not. Remember that people are adaptable by nature, so adjust and keep on working towards having the balance you need in your life.
By life coach and mom Janine Lloyd