Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
~H. Jackson Brown author of “Life’s Little Instruction Book”
When I was a teacher I remember using a great big bright red egg timer on Friday afternoon’s during “Golden Time” to give some “time out” to the naughty kids who couldn’t behave themselves during the more relaxed half hour of free play and fun activities. They had to sit and watch the egg timer for 2 or 3 minutes while the other kids had fun and played around them.
It made me look at time in a different way.
What if the egg timer was filled with rainbow – coloured magic fairy dust instead of sand…….how would we all look at time then as it ran out?
Would we see time as precious, magical, delightful and special?
Would we use time more effectively and abundantly and carefully?
Just like eating a crispy, chocolaty, crunchy toffee crisp or sipping a deliciously hot frothy latte with amaretto syrup we always want more when we’re finished but with time you can’t just reach inside your pocket and buy another one. When it’s gone …… it’s gone.
So it’s not about how much time you’ve got, as we’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day – it’s about how you choose to spend your time.
Recognising that you actually have a choice is very empowering and can be life changing for some parents I work with.
Start to notice this week how you are spending your time because before you can save time you need to know how you spend it.
Time can drip away like the leaky tap in the bathroom if you’re not careful.
Feeling in control of your life and your work /home balance is about not letting time control you.
It’s about sitting down each night for just a few minutes and jotting down what you want to achieve the next day – it keeps you focused on the important things, it keeps you moving steadily forward and it takes away overwhelm.
It also gives you clarity, direction and a sense of achievement particularly if you tick the list off at the end of each day.
- Start to notice how long you spend on the phone or texting every day?
- How much time do you waste that you could be used more efficiently and effectively somewhere else?
- What would be the benefits to cutting that down?
- How much time do you spend watching TV? Could you make some changes there?
- How long do you spend chatting at the school playground, nursery or at work?
- Do you find yourself totally hijacked by e-mails every day? What if you only opened them at 12 o’clock and 4pm so you could then answer the most important ones? How much time would that free up?
- If you stopped worrying about things you can’t control how much more energy would you have?
- How much time do you spend clearing up after others? What if you asked for help, delegated some tasks and allowed your kids to become more independent and helpful?
- What if you stopped being a perfectionist and left the ironing for a couple of days and the dusting in the dining room?
- What are your personal “time takers” and what can you do to change them this week?
- How would that feel if you took control of time and didn’t let it take control of you?
- What would you do if I could wave a magic wand and you had a 25th extra hour – what would you do with it……. more ironing, more paperwork….. or would you spend it laughing with your kids, and smelling the jasmine in the garden?
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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