Do you often feel like Nivens McTwisp, from Alice in Wonderland? Why do we always feel like we are racing the clock? How do we slow down life enough to make it enjoyable? These are questions I continue to ask myself everyday. The fact is that having a family and being a good parent requires your attention and therefore your time. Being busy, is an understatement for those of us running a household and holding full-time employment, however, I refuse to believe anything else but that we can find balance, we can find peace, and we can find the fun in it! So, how do we go about that? I have a few simple rules that may help you when you feel like your at the end of your rope with stress and managing your time:
#1--ORGANIZE--I can't stress this one enough, especially having a family of 5 --I can feel the difference between a day I am organized and prepared and the days I am not--huge difference and impact on my entire day. So when you are able pre-plan or prepare for the next day. Do your best to stay organized with appointments, using a Google Calendar helps us! We have an individual calendar for each child as well as ourselves --we have each schedule and/or appointment listed on the calendar and then we gave rights for each person to see them on their phones. We all know what we need to get done each day at a glance, we also know where everyone is at all times-keeping that balance of also feeling like a good parent. Sure, things come up, schedules change but at then end of the day we can feel like we've conquered the world and start the next day, at least thinking we know what we are walking into.
#2-- PROCRASTINATE?--Whatever you can put off until tomorrow, put off.....NO! I live by the exact opposite. We all get everything we can accomplished in a day, if I can pack lunches the night before its just one less thing to do in the morning rush--which is a score for me. However, learn your own limits. If your running on empty and way behind schedule and it is something that can wait, then let it wait. Sometimes you have to know when to put everything down and move on.
#3--TEAM WORK-Make sure your partner and yourself are in-line with daily & weekly tasks. If you do not ask for help, you won't magically get it! Make sure your communicating your needs and level of stress--they may just lend the hand you need to make your days go smoother. There is no specific magic number or tasks that go to one side or the other, find out what each of you are capable of handling and dish out the tasks to offset the loads more evenly. Don't let someone's burdens be completely heavier then the others, eventually resentment falls into play. If you have a partner in life, or even family who is willing to help out --remember to use their helpfulness when offered--it is a gift that not everyone is blessed with so be grateful and take it!
#4--PRIORITIZE--This can be a task that takes some experience, it is actually a pretty high level skill. It takes a quick assessment of everything on your shoulders and then a smart decision of what needs done the soonest, what amounts of time each task will take, and lining up what tasks will fit into your day. It may seem overwhelming at first, but as you practice this skill it does get easier, and you start to knock out some stress as you walk through your day.
#5--LEARN TO SAY NO--this can be challenging for some people--I think in most cases you are either a reclusive person or your a social butterfly. However, everyone needs to limit the time that is given away to others. Only you can be the judge of how much you can truly handle in a day or week--so you will need to decide where that limit is and plan accordingly. Just know that sometimes you will have to say no to events, family members, gatherings, or time with friends---finding a balance is key. We all love to be with the people we love and be surrounded by good people who make us happy--but when it interferes with your families schedule and time you could be investing in getting ahead, sometimes the sacrifice is too much. You be the judge on your own schedule, but don't be the person that accepts everything then runs around like a completely unhappy person raining your sad stories on everyone else, just learn to say NO!
#6--DRAMA FREE--It is so easy to fall into attracting drama that can happen in your world and around your world everyday. Things happen, that part is life, but how you react is a choice. Learn to take the hits in life and vent/recharge in your own way but don't succumb to the power of falling into the drama pit--it is a fast and painful time sucker. Deal with what you need to and then walk away from it. You don't have to go back and forth with anyone. Anything that has to do with fighting, whining, complaining, being emotional but leaving you spinning I would call needless drama in your life--learn to cut it out, and the faster the better! The good news is once people realize you don't participate in it--they will stop sharing the drama with you, unless it pertains directly to your life. Be clear that you care about people but you don't got time for the drama! By the way there is a difference between helping a friend or family member and supporting/creating drama--learn to know the difference.
#7--REST WELL--It is so important to get rest, no one works well without it no matter what your job is or what your day has to hold. We all work better, and make better decisions fully rested. Everyone's body is different in this way so you have to know yourself to know what you need per night, and then make it a goal to get the sleep you need. Let no situation be more important then the sleep you need, make it a priority. If you find yourself running out of time by the evening and staying up late getting other things done, start looking at your schedule, looking at your team-mate, and readjust everything until you make sure you are getting to sleep when you need to. It is not only unhealthy to be under-rested but also very dangerous to others. Please sleep-well. Check out this site on the 10 Surprising facts of lack of sleep, you'll be amazed! http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/10-results-sleep-loss