Are you stuck in the spin cycle of life………….. exhausted, wrung out and dizzy?
Do you find yourself falling into bed worn out, frustrated and complaining “Where did the time GO?”
Then welcome to the Club! You are not alone as I coach lots of Mums and Dads from toddler to teens crying out for help and desperate to get all the jobs done, have some quality time with the kids, and each other, and have some fun and laughter along the way too!
When you have kids your life changes and so does your whole concept of TIME.
Everything seems to take longer….. as kids walk slower, talk slower think slower and eat slower than you do and they don’t seem to worry about rushing or have any sense of time whether they are toddlers or teens.
Maybe, just maybe, there’s a lesson in there somewhere!
It’s a busy, frenetic and hectic world out there and often having fun, relaxing and chilling out slip down our list of priorities and get left on the shelf because kids are consuming whatever their age.
So, what can you do about it?
Well, I think it helps if you see time as your friend and your most precious commodity.
Just pause for a moment and think about the words and phrase you sue to describe time.
Do you say you spend time, lose time, save time, value time, kill time, waste time, let time slip away, take time for granted, squander time or can’t find the time.
Or do you say you use time, spend time wisely, value time, organise your time, treasure time, schedule or plan time, or make time
It’s all about the way you view it and parents with a sense of more balance in their work-home situations find time, make time and plan time with their kids.
The secret is balance and recognising that time is your most valuable resource when you have kids regardless of their ages and we all have 24 hours in day so it’s about where you prioritise your time and how you ring fence it.
So let’s look at some simple steps to mastering your time
There are loads of wonderful books and wonderful workshops out there to teach you about mastering your time ( and I’m no exception take a look at my “Weighing up the work life balance toolkit” or my “Business owner’s family survival toolkit” but I think it helps to KISS or “Keep it Simple Stupid”
The key thing is to make good choices and develop good habits with time.
A successful life is really no more than a string of successful days – so why not start today to become more successful in managing your time
Architects and builders have drawing plans, pilots have flight plans. Business executives have business plans, coaches have game plans and teachers have lesson plans
So why don’t parents have “parenting plans”??
Some people call it a “to do” list or a list of priorities for the day – some life coaches call it daily goal setting which all sounds a bit pretentious and hard going to me so call it what you like but whatever you call it get into the habit of doing it and build in time for your children and family.
Of all the positive things you’ll ever do investing your time in your family and your kids even if it’s 10 minutes a day will pay off a thousand times in good will, affection, love and appreciation from your children.
The feelings of accomplishment will really astound you as you build in this new habit to your life and you’ll watch your relationships easily and effortlessly massively improve as they grow and flourish over time.
Another useful skill to develop is the ability to delegate whether it’s at work or at home.
Sharing the load by assigning some of your tasks to another person helps them develop responsibility as well as helps you to free up some of your valuable time to do more productive or more important tasks.
So start to look at how you can find tasks to delegate to other people that other people can do even better than you can – or you may need to spend a little extra time showing others less experienced but keen to learn how do to do something that in the long term will give you back so much more useful, quality and valuable time. So spend time teaching your daughter how to mow the lawn or give the office junior a lesson in how to answer the phone correctly
We all juggle – we juggle relationships, parenting, life and work and sometimes we drop one – or all of the balls!!
The first myth we need to debunk is that you actually get the balance completely right
But I can help you focus on effective strategies that make you feel more in control and back in the driving seat of your life.
How many times do you focus on the negative feelings and anxieties related to work and home and forget to focus on the positive things that happen in your lives, with your kids or your careers?
With a simple shift and a positive re -focusing, changes can happen almost overnight in how you see your life
By simply re framing how you describe work you can change your view of it
I am very passionate and enthusiastic about my work and because I love it so much it doesn’t feel like work but there is also a down side to that in that I don’t know when to stop, close the door and switch off and I also expect everyone to feel the same about my work – which is just plain barmy of me really.
But here’s the reality. No matter how much we do, we will never get everything done. There isn’t enough time for all the things that need doing, all of what we want to do or we’d like to do or we think we should do.
So I think it helps to relax and to remember we won’t get it all done immediately and let things roll over to the next day – I think we need to be more forgiving of ourselves.
Everyone is different when it comes to what the “ideal balance” should feel like in their lives. The balance changes with time, circumstance and stage of life anyway. The really important thing is that you know what you mean and are very clear about what your priorities are in each area of your life.
The secret is to remain flexible on Life’s journey and to bend not break, but to also have a clear idea of your destination because that allows you to change direction if you want to stop off, smell the roses and take a detour!
Ask yourself regularly at least 3 times a day:
- Am I being productive or just busy?
- Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?
Don’t try too hard at the wrong things!
Make the difficult leap of dissociating effort and reward.
Learn to be intelligently lazy or productively lazy which is another way of saying work less achieve more!
And finally practice the art of non – finishing. Starting something doesn’t automatically mean that you have to finish it.
Develop the ability to stop!
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About the author
Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert who offers practical guidance for bringing up happy, confident, well behaved children. She is also the author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies” one in the famous black and yellow series published worldwide and the highly acclaimed Parenting Made Easy CDs. She regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2 and her parenting articles are published all over the world.
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Sue Atkins the Parenting Expert
T: + 44 1342 833355 M: 07740 622769
Surrey RH7 6LF