Recently I have been thinking a lot about my goals for my family, the things that I want to get done and the positive changes I want to make BUT I am fast realising that I cannot do everything at once. There is no more time in the day. There are just 24 hours in each and every one of them! But instead of feeling defeated and deflated, I am trying to see this as a challenge, looking instead for ways to free up time so that I FEEL like I have more time for the things I WANT to do (rather than the things I feel I SHOULD do).
Here are 9 ideas I have come up with so far;
1. Include the kids: Maybe you are struggling to find time to exercise, could the solution be to take a walk to the park as a family (kids on bikes or scooters should keep you moving to keep up) with a ball to kick around together? Or would your older children rise to the challenge of being responsible for helping you to pack orders for your home business? As parents, looking for ways to include your children in the process of achieving some of your goals can make success much more realistic.
2. Change your routine: This one would have to be the biggest challenge for me as the only way I could really reclaim some time from my routine is to wake earlier. Unfortunately, I am not a morning person and we have a child who wakes often through the night. I am however thinking that even getting up just five minutes earlier so that I can have a shower before the girls wake for the day would be a good thing…I just have to get disciplined and DO IT!
3. Ask and/or accept help: Why is it so hard for us to ask for or accept help? Have you recently dismissed an offer of help? I know I have. I seem to have a (misguided) sense that the person is only offering to be socially polite or because they feel obligated. Man, I need to get over myself!
4. Swap kids: My neighbour and I regularly swap playdates and it really helps to free up time. Immy will go to play or we will have our neighbour’s daughter to play and it is a win either way as it is amazing how much I can get done when my girls are busy playing with a friend.
5. Outsource: Is there someone you can hire to help free up your time? A local teenager to play with the children during the school holidays so that you can get some work done? Or a cleaner? A babysitter so that you can enjoy a much needed date night? I am even thinking of finding an eBay agent to sell a heap of items that I have been wanting to sell for ages.
6. Make technology work for you: Preparing dinner in the slow cooker makes our evenings run much more smoothly – I am more relaxed much less likely to get frustrated as my girls are getting tired and more demanding (you’ve got to love that witching hour!) Another way that I like to use technology to my advantage is with online grocery shopping as I can think of nothing worse than spending an hour (or more) dragging two kids around the supermarket – in fact, I avoid it like the plague! Thirdly, limiting my technology use at critical times of the day (like the morning pre-school rush) makes our routine run more smoothly and I swear it feels like it buys me extra minutes! So no checking my email or social media accounts during those important routines really works for me. Is there a way you can make technology work harder for you?
7. Prioritise the important: I am trying to get into the habit of reflecting upon my goals each morning with the intention of finding one task that will take me one step further towards achieving that goal for the day. It might be spending time baking with Immy or organising one drawer or cupboard – whatever it is, I try to keep it small and achievable.
8. Remove distractions: Whatever you choose to do in the moment, do it with all of your heart by removing unnecessary distractions. Try turning off your email while you complete an important work task or leaving your iPhone in your bag while at the park with the kids, looking for ways to remove those elements that you know are likely to distract you from living in this moment.
9. Make it fun: There are always times when we have to do the things we don’t really want to do. This tip is about motivating you to get onto them and minimising their impact on your day by making them fun! Host a mamabake – because we all have to cook! Put on some music and dance as you mop the floors, or have a water fight with the kids as you clean the car, or even setting a timer to see if you can pick up a room in under 3 minutes – looking for ways to incorporate a fun element into these tasks will hopefully get you moving to get them done a little more quickly and with a smile on your face.
Even if it is just an ‘extra’ five minutes that I find in the day to spend on something that is important to my family, then I see that as a win. What could you do today to find more time for the things you want to do?
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