Continued from... How to claim your time back!
It just doesn’t stop!
It’s called life and it will keep going like this, hopefully full of busy family life for many, many years. :)
However, it does not need to be quite as chaotic as described above.
There are things you can do, decisions to make and control to be taken.
You just got into this mad rat-race slowly, bit by bit and before you knew it, it was out of control and your life was in a spin. It’s not your fault, it’s not anybody’s fault, it just is what it is.
And with a few little tweaks you can regain some calm into your life.
I know you might think that there are no changes that can make a difference, but there are, trust me, I was the queen of taking on too much, at one point working night duty in nursing, running a business, studying for a diploma and having a family at home to take care of, along with the dogs and other pets that come with that.
What I am about to share with you worked for us and was the only way we got through those years!
So, the absolute first thing I would suggest, is to plan your day out the night before.
It will take you ten minutes and you will see in black and white what lies ahead…
Literally write down what time you get up at, what time breakfast is at, each and every time milestone that you know has to happen – write it down!
I know you know that you have to cook dinner, and so why would you write it down - let me tell you why;
When we don’t plan we presume that certain things, like making dinner, will just fit into the day. We make them fit. They’ll squeeze themselves between the homework and feeding the dogs… and they will, but they will do it as a multi-task. And some things just don’t multi-task with making dinner, or they’ll squeeze in leaving the dinner late, making shower time late, making the children over tired and bedtime late, then everyone goes to bed fighting and more than likely will be tired tomorrow and get up late and the day starts off on a negative from the get-go!
Honestly, it’s stressful just writing this stuff!
It doesn’t have to be like this!
Here are a few things that I invite you to reflect on and integrate into you day’s plan;
(And before I start, let me point out that everything is a choice, it is a choice between how much you want this or that – there is no ‘can’t’! So, choose how you like but then own the decision and its consequences).
•Plan your day and your week. Use a time-slotted planner and fill in the definets, for example the time you get up, meal times, appointments and these include work and school times.
•All other tasks such as laundry, hoovering, etc. are to go on a separate list in order of priority (or as I do, write down everything I would like done and then number in priority). It’s an added bonus if you allocate how much time these tasks would take you – this is so that as the day goes on and you have a space of time free (ish), you can accurately decide if you have time for any of the tasks. The flip side is that if you start a task which cannot be completed, or you complete a task, making something else late, you have just added a stress factor which wasn’t necessary. (You don’t need to do the time allocation every time, soon you will have the awareness as to how long it takes you to do certain things.)
•Alongside allocating how much time certain tasks take, give yourself time limits for these tasks. Any job will take as long as you give it, you can clean a bathroom for an hour, but could you get it done in 30 minutes? This rule especially applies to online activity, social media or otherwise. Online activities are addictive and make you disappear down rabbit holes you never knew existed. Figure out how to limit these as they will definitely not only eat up your time, they eat up your tolerance and ability to cope with your day.
•This brings me on to distractions and multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is all well and good if the tasks don’t distract from each other. Be aware of how you feel when multi-tasking and if certain chores would be better done separately. If not great, but create awareness. For example, I will happily make phone calls when ironing, but when I’m cooking dinner I find it too much, but I had to learn that too. And as for distractions, again become aware of what you find distracting and create your ideal environment.
•Carve out time for you and take breaks during the day, even ten-minute ones. If you think you cannot do this, then it really is only possible when you do the earlier steps of planning on paper, only then can you see the gaps, or places where you can make gaps. When looking for these gaps, be honest with yourself, a lot of tasks are moveable to another time of the day… can you get up earlier, go to bed earlier, watch less TV, spend less time on social media…
•Lastly, I want to mention self-care. When you take care of yourself, of your stresses, all else in life becomes easier, the studies and research is endless to prove it. And it doesn’t have to be big changes, even getting up 20 minutes earlier to meditate in the mornings or go to bed 20 minutes earlier to write out gratitudes at night, it’s all change in the right direction.
Remember that all change is good, no need to have it perfect.
This is a working progress situation; I still have to ‘pull myself up’ every now and again even though I’m kind of at this for years.