“The golden egg is in the hands of those who grasp it.”
Lack of time is one thing that most mums complain about. Whether it’s the school run, juggling work, house chores, or the constant need for attention from our little ones, time is slim these days.
But here’s where I want to ask you a question. What do you spend your time doing?
Now the reason I ask this is NOT to be so basic it’s unreal (of course I know you’ve got kids) but because not many of us actually know the answer. We get to the end of the day, quite fuzzy headed, and wonder where the day went?
And I’m not here to call you out on this, believe me, but I just want to point out that time is one of those things that’s the same for everyone. We all have the same 24 hours in a day until we die. But it’s what we do with those 24 hours that makes the difference.
Now I can hands down vouch for motherhood being busy with my two year and 5 month old running the show. I’m a busy mummy like we all are.
I spend my day flitting between washing dirty dishes, emptying and reloading the dishwasher, vacuuming about 10 times the kitchen floor, wiping up spills, breastfeeding, playing with trains, reading books, going to the park and drinking copious amounts of tea.
But even my day is not so busy I can’t think straight, or so busy I can’t squeeze a hot bath in at night. My boys do have naps on occasion (not regularly mind you) and they do go to bed at night… eventually.
So the question remains: What are you doing with your time?
Now, a little disclaimer here. I’m a stay at home Mum, but I work from home. I understand that many mums work away from home and this takes up time. But there’s still time outside of work, and it’s important to understand what you’re doing during these moments?
To answer this, you need to record one of your typical days. And I mean record every hour, what you’ve been doing. Do this for at least a 6 hour stint to get an idea what you’re spending your time on.
The reason to do this is, again, not to catch you out, but to work out what can be optimised so you free up more time for yourself.
So a good way to do this is to grab a blank sheet of paper, write down the time (say it’s 8.30am) and then recall what you’ve just spent the last hour doing. Write it down and be HONEST! Otherwise this exercise won’t work. Have you spent 45 mins in the bathroom for example? Or spent 30 mins on Facebook? Write everything down. Stick to the facts, don’t make it mean anything.
Do this for at least a 6 hour stint. Take it to mid afternoon, and then review what you’ve written.
Now ask yourself is there anything on your list you’re doing, that really isn’t that important or that’s a complete time zapper and annoys the hell out of you?
Have a think and write down some answers. Next, and this is the good bit… throw those time zapping activities in the bin. You’re done with them! And in their place, write down some things you’d like to be doing instead.
Maybe you’d like to read a book? Or talk to a friend? Make something? Exercise? Sit and do nothing? Play with your toddler? Whatever it is, plan something in place of the time wasting activities.
Now here’s the crux. Of course, many of the things you’d like to be doing aren’t possible while kids are around, but you can always plan them for the evening when the kids are asleep within reason.
Also, don’t limit yourself to only tracking your day for 6 hours. Go into the evening if you can, and see what you’re doing then. I know so many women who’re spending way too much time doing housework when it really isn’t important (as in, it can wait until tomorrow or the next day) and equally, I know so many Netflix’d out women. Enough said.
One thing to note is that children do take up most of our time. It’s natural that they do and for very good reason. Children learn from us, and they need to be cared for. Their needs are none negotiable. My day is totally at the mercy of my babies and I’m so, utterly happy about that because believe it or not, it’s slowed me down. I now fully embrace the slow life at the pace of my toddler, and love the freedom it brings to potter in the veggie patch with him, or go for coffee for a play date. I also love the quieter moments of breastfeeding my baby boy, and sipping tea at the same time. Fully adopting the slow life since having kids is beautiful, and far healthier on stress levels!
Of course if you’re reading this thinking “lucky bitch, I’ve got to work” then why not consider starting a business? I’m not saying running a business is easy mind you, but it does offer certain degrees of flexibility.
So in summary, if you want more time, you’ll need to create more time. Which means giving up things that really don’t matter. If you’re going to work, then focus on creating more time in the evenings when the children are in bed. Or the early mornings when the house is peaceful before the troops are awake.
I also recommend writing stuff down. I’ve been a fan of journaling for many years now, and I write every single day without fail. Just throwing down thoughts, writing about problems, feelings and emotions. It really helps put things into perspective. And it’s a great way to ask yourself the question: How can I create more time?
Wishing you all the time in the world. Feel free to comment below and let me know how you get on!