I get asked this question a lot:
“How do you manage to deal with all that stuff but then still always have time to do things for yourself?”
I used to answer with a small, shy smile, and perhaps a coy “Oh, I don’t really know”
Or a joke, like I am secretly a witch and have elves or dwarfs doing things for me (ha ha…my own kids). ?
The same question kept coming my way, so I started to give it real thought.
Were my days different from the days of other mums?
Was it true that I was the only one who had regular “me-time”?
I took a close look at how it was that I could manage to keep the household on track and still keep doing things that I enjoy doing.
And after thinking, and thinking, and thinking ?…I got it!
This wasn’t about habits I had recently developed to cope with adult responsibilities. It was something I began long ago, even before I thought it had.
I must have worked this out in the early years after I started school, my very own survival plan.
You see, I love to sleep. A good night with about 10 hours’ sleep is essential for me (at least that’s how it was until I had children and one with special needs).
But I also loved doing sports, having fun with friends, and we had to study and do homework (loads of homework where I grew up).
So how I managed my stuff in the day?
Taking into account my 10 hours sleep, I had 14 hours to do all the other stuff and although that might sound like a lot of time, it really isn’t.
My days looked like this:
- 1 hour in the morning to get ready, eat breakfast, walk to school.
- 7 hours of school
- 2 hours of sports training.
- 1 hour to be with friends and back home
Which left me with 3 hours left to do my homework (which usually took 1-2 hours), eat dinner and spend a bit of time with my family.
Without really thinking about it, I had taught myself how to effectively organise my time so that I could get everything done, have some fun each day, and enjoy my vital sleep time.
Of course, things changed when I had children, and especially when my youngest son was born with so many medical problems. I spent two years constantly going to and from the hospital, while at home were my two other boys, both still under the age of 3 and my very supportive husband when this phase of our life began.
It was essential to organise everything at home so that it would run smoothly.
And in the middle of all the planning and sorting for everyone, the essential time for my beauty sleep (not quite the 10 hours, but still at least 7-8) had to happen. So again, I organised and planned everything around these sleeping hours and time spent at the hospital. The rest was efficiently put in place so that it worked like a swiss clock (moving pieces like lego blocks).
Is it that simple?
Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “that it isn’t that simple”, because you know from experience that life happens and whatever your plan might be, things get thrown at that you just have to deal with.
And yes, of course, that’s true.
But you can be prepared to face them without losing control if you have a system that works for you and your family, and also you can let go things that are not essential.
Otherwise, even ordinary day to day life doesn’t run smoothly and is likely to be chaotic.
It’s so easy to find your days filled with things that aren’t really important, and then without realising it you are cluttered and buried under too many things to do without any time left for you.
I promise you, it can be done. Is all about how you manage your activities in the time you have.
If time management is something you’ve always avoided because it sounds dull, take a fresh look. I think it might just set you free…just give me a shout