Gosh it’s hard fitting everything in, isn’t it? In our roles as mothers, partners, daughters, pet owners, friends, bosses, employees, etc, we spend our days rushing around from one task or commitment to another, and there just never seems to be enough hours in the day, does there?
There are a fixed number of minutes and hours in the day – but do you really make the most of your time and spend it in the best way possible?
When we think about time management we usually think about making lists, scheduling, prioritising, being more organised, etc, but have we gotten to the real heart of time management: the how and why we spend our time the way we do?
Time for a time audit
Perhaps it’s time (pun intended!) to do a time audit and ask yourself these questions:
- What tasks do I do in a day and why? Do I do each of these tasks because they are expected of me, because they are important to other people, or because they are essential and I am the best person to do them?
- What tasks could I stop doing, which if I stopped would hardly be noticed by others?
- What tasks could I get other people to do – either using unpaid resources (such as kids, partner, family, friends) or utilising paid outsourcing?
- What would a “normal” perfect day look like – not the sipping cocktails on a desert island type of perfect day (mmm… that would indeed be blissful though, wouldn’t it?!), but an ideal weekday where everyone is going to work and school?
- When did I spend time doing something that was important to me and not for others?
- How often do I take time out for myself?
Now, to reflect
There are a few themes that may arise from these 5 questions that I want you to ponder on:
- We have high expectations of what we feel we need to achieve every day. Cut yourself some slack. Focus on what is mission critical; the rest can wait.
- Delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If the kids are older, get them involved in household chores and food prep; they may complain, but by doing this it not only helps you, it also teaches them great life skills. And don’t be too proud to ask for help from friends or family members – they care for you, and I am sure will want to help you if they are able to.
- Learn to say no to requests for your time on things that aren’t your priority – you can only do so much in a day. Do what’s important to you, not others. And don’t feel guilty saying no. It really is ok to say no every now and then. Finding the courage to say no can actually be very empowering!
- Don’t get frustrated with yourself about what you haven’t achieved in the day, or what you still need to do; instead think about all you have done and give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements. Sometimes, I think about all the things I accomplished before I left the house that morning and I get a reality check on how productive I am being. Don’t for a second think that doing a load of washing, making breakfasts and lunches, doing the dishes, beds made, responding to messages, and somehow leaving the house fully dressed in (relatively) clean and ironed clothes all before 8:30AM isn’t an achievement!
- Take time for yourself every day – even if it’s only ten minutes; and use it to practice self-care and do something that rejuvenates and nourishes you. I can hear you saying “self-care – I don’t have time for that!” – but the reality is that if you don’t look after yourself you can’t be your best self, which will impact your ability to effectively manage your time. I know that when I am making time to look after myself I am much less stressed, I feel more in control (and also less bothered by the things I can’t control), I’m a happier person to be around, and I’m a better carer of others. So, make time for “me time” to really help you manage your life and be your best self.
I really hope that by doing a deep dive into how you spend your time and by making a few tweaks, you can make the most of the time you have every day. It’s so important to focus on the right things to help you live your best life. I know you can
Olivia Rowan, Founder of OLR Coaching. OLR Coaching loves helping people to live their best lives. OLR supports people to get clarity on their self-identity, to determine what is really important to them and set powerful goals that are aligned with their life vision, to make career changes; and assists with self-management strategies such as time management, reducing their stress and habit busting. They work with people through personal coaching and workshops. For more information and to connect with OLR visit their website, Facebook and Instagram page.