No matter what you do, you’ll always have exactly 24 hours in a day.
And we all have those days, you know the ones, where nothing goes as planned and everything takes longer than you think it should?
That night at dinner, you find yourself thinking…Where did the day go? Did anything that I needed to get done, really get done?
Of course, in our busy lives, it can be hard.
There are simply so many things competing for our time, from work to working out, kids’ school and activities, time with your partner and friends, housework and maybe reading just a few pages of a good book at midnight, before you literally collapse into bed.
Well, maybe that’s a bit dramatic…or is it?
Then, throw in a move, car trouble, a newly blended family of 4 children and a gassy dog and you have a recipe for…well…my life.
Yes, sometimes my life is very full and I’m certain yours is too.
Here’s a few tips I found to get more done while feeling less stressed every day.
Plan. First, set aside 20 minutes or so, to look over your upcoming week at a consistent time over the weekend. I like to do this on Sunday evening. This includes deciding what meals you’ll be making, what activities and commitments are on the horizon, errands that will need to be done and the logistics of it all.
Then take a few minutes each evening to look over what’s coming up the next day. I like to use Google calendars. This way I can drag and drop activities and tasks to organize my day as things change.
I can also have separate calendars for each person in the house and/or activities, and share specific calendars with those who need to see them. For example, I can share the kid’s schedules with my partner and the nanny. The key is to find what works for you.
When I started planning out my meals each week, my grocery bill went down, I saved time making less trips to the store, and our family ate healthier, since we weren’t making meal choices when our stomachs were empty!
Prioritize. Most of us, myself included, make the mistake of trying to fit in our self-care around everything else, and surprise, we never have time to take care of ourselves!
I’ve been there, faced with having no time for a shower 3 days in a row…Not only did I feel grimy but this stressed me out even more.
So, I suggest scheduling your self-care first, and fitting everything else around it. This means sleep (yes sleep!), showers, exercise, mediation, journaling, or whatever activities you use to keep your cup full.
You’ve heard it before, an empty cup has nothing left to give.
You may need to make some difficult decisions about what to let go of and/or delegate if possible.
Simplify. This step may require a bit of creativity. I get it, currently in our household we have 6 kids, ages 6, 7, 9, 10, 20 and 21, to juggle, since the big kids are home from college for the summer. It can be a challenge.
Teamwork is a great component of simplicity. Delegate tasks or do them together so they take less time. For examples include cooking dinner and cleaning up as a family or hiring a housecleaner.
Set some ground rules or limits, like each child can be involved in one sport at a time. This also includes setting clear expectations with co-workers, friends and volunteer commitments so that you don’t find your schedule getting too full.
Create systems and routines to add greater efficiency to regular activities and cut out the activities that are draining you when possible. During work hours, since I work from home, the kids stay downstairs with our nanny to keep it quiet. I come downstairs every couple of hours to check in, give hugs, and then return to work. This creates a routine the kids can depend on and cuts out being interrupted every 15 minutes.
Of course, even with all of this, using your time effectively is more of a journey then a destination. But when you have a plan of attack, have scheduled the most important things and simplified where possible, you provide yourself with some much needed breathing room that allows for less stress, self-care and more fulfillment in each days activities.