Be the master of your time – not a slave to it
The trick to managing your time is to be the master of your time – whenever possible.
Taking control of your time is an important discipline to adopt as it is one sure way to boost your energy and reduce your stress levels. That may sound a vast claim but believe me it really is not. These Mums time management rules actually can apply to all of us whatever our personal circumstances. However sometimes with us Mum’s our conscience comes into play ….. and we feel that we have to try to do everything and be perfect at it as well.
The culprits that hijack your time
The list of the culprits that steal your time is endless and personal to you. Babies and children are the absolute masters of hijacking time and of course now we have the constant pull of social media. Strangely the more the human race mechanises everything – the less time we have. So how do you try to take time back and become in control of your time.
Well there are lots of things you can do. This article just skims the surface of what I believe is an important subject. However they all take one thing – which is self discipline and the will to change the way you do things.
Do you over schedule
When you are busy it is easy to over schedule what is actually practical to achieve in any given time.
The result being you will feel anxious, moody and a little frustrated you haven’t managed to cram in everything you needed to.
The thing about being a parent there is always something to do – normally for someone else. So actually the only way you can make more time is to manage the time you have better.
The benefits of mastering your time
Attempting to be the master of your time will have many benefits to both you and your family. It may mean a change in the way you operate but you will find you have more energy and feel more in control. You will be running your life – rather than life running you.
Now when I say master of your own time – whenever possible. This is to acknowledge that unforeseen eventualities have a tendency to crop up with annoying regularity. And actually accepting that is OK will help you keep things in perspective.
What can you do to manage your time better?
When you have a lot going on around you and a lot to do – it is very easy to become distracted and flit from one thing to another. Suddenly you look at the clock and a couple of hours have passed and you have achieved absolutely nothing despite all your best intentions.
Decide what your highest priority is today
Decide what you want to achieve today, and set just one goal that is important for you to accomplish. Work out how long it will take you to achieve this.
This goal is then is your highest priority today. If possible write your goal down. Often by writing things down – they become sort of hardwired into your head – and are less likely to be hijacked by other events.
It maybe something as simple as cooking dinner tonight if you have a small baby or catching up with all the admin you have to do. Alternatively it maybe doing something just for you or meeting up with a friend. Whatever it is, make this your highest priority today.
Discard What is not Important
Now you have decided what you want to achieve write down anything else that you were planning to do today. Add timings to how long all these tasks will take.
Now take a good look at the list and put a cross by everything you don’t really need to do today, and everything you don’t want to do. This is a very useful exercise.
Do you really need to do it Stuff
Now the really interesting about “do you really need to do it” stuff, is that different people have different ideas about what really does need to be done. Let me give you an example.
I was working with a mum who had several school age children. Each day these children arrived home from school and each evening she would wash and iron their school uniforms.
This took up quite a lot of time – time that she did not really have. However for whatever reason this mum saw this time consuming chore as something she really needed to do.
In actual fact she had a number of choices.
- Don’t wash the school uniforms every night.
- Alternatively wash them but don’t iron them.
- Buy more school uniforms so they don’t need to wear the same clothes two days running.
- Get someone else to wash them and iron them.
- Only wash the school uniforms when they are actually dirty, or at the weekends when you don’t have a sixteen hour turn around.
Are you prepared to make changes
However despite a long discussion about the time and energy this chore took, as well as the washing powder and electricity used, she was not prepared to compromise on this task.
Sometimes there are chores or other things you would like to do that are not really practical to do. So make sure you are really honest with yourself and objective as you possibly can be.
You maybe spending a lot of time on repetitive tasks that don’t desperately need doing yet again – or on completely unnecessary tasks that actually don’t really need to be done at all. Accept you will have to change how you do things and review what your priorities really are.
The thing to remember is that Super Woman does not exist – she is an imaginary person.
Don’t Really Want to do it Stuff
Take another look at the list. Are there things on your list that you really don’t want to do – or you want help with doing. Perhaps there are others you can swap for a different activity – one that is less tiring, time consuming or you enjoy doing more.
Sometimes the reason that you are taking responsibility for a task is that you know that you can do the task more quickly and a great deal better than they will.
The thing is people – and that includes children only learn through practise. If they don’t get the chance to practise – then they are not going to get the chance to learn how to tidy their rooms or change their beds, or set the table or cook dinner…..or whatever it is that you don’t want to do but you know you can do it better and quicker.
Sometimes we feel it is “our job” and we are letting others down if we don’t do this stuff.
Wrong – actually you are doing them a favour. Your family is learning new skills – as well as helping you.
Remember practice makes perfect – and over time the family will become more adept at these tasks even if they are never done quite the way you would like them to be done.
Time management rules Footnote
Managing your time is little like being on a healthy eating regime. You may find that you have missed your goals one day. It doesn’t matter you can start all over again with being the master of your time tomorrow. Stick with it and your health and energy levels will improve.