Time flies when you’re having fun (or not). How to reclaim your time and start living your life.
The number one complaint I hear from mums is “I just don’t have the time!” It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about - exercising, relaxing, working or even sleeping, busy mums feel intensely ‘time poor’ almost all of the time.
At work we feel the pressure to complete more projects than our colleagues who don’t need to leave early to pick up the kids from school and at home we are ruled by our children’s needs and schedules, leaving us very few precious moments to enjoy our own pursuits. The little bit of life where we are just ourselves and not “Muuuuuuummmmmy!” or the person who keeps forgetting to submit her timesheet seems a lifetime ago. We are much more than just mums. We are whole people with interests, passions and adventures to plan and embark on.
It was recently reported that mothers in the UK get 17 minutes of “me time” per day. I can’t imagine that the Australian statistics are any different. But this 17 minutes was usually spent “catching up on the latest soaps, watching TV in bed, reading or enjoying a well-earned cup of tea”. Shoot. Me. Now. If a cup of tea is considered well earned, I'd love to know what these mums think of a massage, time to paint or a weekend away with the girls.
So how can busy mums who are under intense time pressures create more time to do the things they love every day? Well, there are plenty of time management techniques out there and some of them are valid. But they’re mostly based on the idea of squeezing more into your day, jamming it full of more of the stuff you think you should be doing in order to lead a more productive life. Overscheduling often ends up enslaving us in an endless pursuit of achievement. And achievement does not necessarily equal fulfilment. You may have completed everything on your To Do list but did you actually enjoy your day?
What if I told you that to have more time for the stuff you love (which I hope includes yourself) you actually need to be doing less; less of the stuff you hate, are not good at or don’t really care about. That to have more time you need to stop thinking of time as your boss and take ownership of it. If you’re anything like me you use time as a beating stick to punish yourself by constantly focusing on how little you got done in a day or how much there still is to do. We mark our success by how much we can achieve in 24 hour blocks. Having a more realistic relationship with time is a whole new way of thinking and it will take some practice to master. Here are 4 ways to reclaim your time and do more of what you love every day.
The first step is to be more aware of the here and now. If we’re always worrying about the things we haven’t done or need to do, we’re not taking the time to enjoy what we’re currently doing. Stop thinking about what’s next and start focusing on what’s now. One way to do this is by single-tasking. Single-tasking is the act of doing one thing at a time with your full attention. It promotes greater productivity and accuracy and helps to alleviate anxiety and stress.
Even the most mundane moments - cooking dinner, grocery shopping or dealing with customer complaints can be moments to savour. Look for the beauty in all that you do. Perhaps it is the smell of your washing powder or the song in the store or maybe it is the chance to connect with someone you have never met before.
When you focus only on what is happening right now any regrets of the past or worry about the future fades.