After Loretta’s inspiring New Year’s resolution post I thought I’d write a blog post that has been mulling around my head for months. Loretta suggested some great things we should all do – take up a hobby; go to a spa; do some exercise. In short, find some ‘me-time’, but where exactly do you find that precious time?
I first thought about writing a blog about this after meeting and talking to Elinor, of www.theworkingmumscoach.co.uk. She mentioned that one of the biggest barriers the women she coaches find to achieving their goals is time. As a busy Mum there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for all the activities which come in the job description; add to that a partner, friends, extended family and work and it’s a wonder any of us find time to sleep let alone find time to do something for ourselves.
So, if we can’t find time, then we have to make it.
In work I mentor staff who have taken on new roles and I often run sessions on time-management and I thought that we should really apply some of the same strategies to our family lives and see if that helps us make time for ourselves.
I have picked 4 of the key strategies I often help people with at work and I am going to try and apply them to family life. There’s nothing new here, but I am trying to apply it from work to home. Let me know if they help you find a little me-time.
1) Prioritise: Things that are urgent and/or important should come at the top of your to-do list. Urgent things are things which need to be done now; they are often unforeseeable crisis or things which crop up unexpectedly. Important things are things that are vital to the running of your household. Here is where things like ensuring the family are fed and watered, have clean clothes and get quality time with each other and you should be placed.
If you can plan ahead for important things you’ll save time; for example cooking double portions and freezing half for busier days. One thing you should guard against is leaving important things until the last minute so that they become urgent.
2) Delegate: If there are a million things on your to-do list then you’ll feel defeated before you begin. What jobs can be given to someone else? Small things can make a big difference: quite young children can strip their own beds; even if you collect and wash the sheets, that is some time saved, or ensuring you and your partner take turns at doing homework with the kids or cooking the dinner.
3) Outsource: Which household jobs can be outsourced? Obviously this will depend on the cash flow situation, but having a cleaner for a couple of hours a week can mean that you have one less thing to keep on top of. Childcare is one of the things we outsource to enable us to return to work, but don’t forget babysitters for me-time too. If you have a few friends near by you can even set up a reciprocal babysitting circle so that it doesn’t even cost you in cash terms.
4) Say, “No”: This is possibly the most important strategy. Being able to say no to tasks which others want you to do is very important. It is lovely to be helpful and do things for others, but when you are struggling to find time to do things for yourself, you have to learn to say no sometimes. Put yourself and your goals first for once.
Thanks to Elinor for her comment below. It has sparked me to think: What will you do with the extra time you make? Leave your thoughts below.