By Karin Vibe-Rheymer-Stewart, Ph.D.
“Stress Doctor,” Time and Space Management Consultant, Speaker http://www.SuperWomanRelief.com
We all would like to be able to do it all: Be a perfect mother, who spends lots of quality time with her children; serves home-made meals every day; makes cookies for the upcoming school event; works a fulfilling full-time job; is always pretty and put together, and ready for a fun evening out. Days are unfortunately still 24-hour-long (I’ve tried to make them longer, but without success!), and there is only so much we can do. However, with a little bit of organization, time-saving routines and attention to what is important to you, you can become a very good approximation of a supermom, without the stress.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Get rid of all the “should’s”. Look at your activities, and get rid of the ones you don’t love to do, and/or don’t need to do (i.e. the ones that have no or little consequences if you drop them). This will give you so much more time to do what is important to you!
- Streamline your routines. Look at your routines with a critical eye and find out how you can change them and make them shorter. For instance, what does your morning routine look like? How could you make it faster, more efficient? What about choosing your and your children’s outfit the evening before rather than choosing them in the morning? Setting the breakfast table after dinner rather than in the morning? What about your routines are work? While small, those changes can make the difference between a hectic and a stress-free day.
- Group tasks together. Group similar tasks, such as phone calls to return, together; errands to make in the same neighborhood together; emails to write; projects to work on; etc. You will be amazed at how much more time you suddenly have.
- Delegate, delegate, delegate. Did you know that your children – at least until the age of 9 or so – are actually very proud to be helping at home, do “big people’ tasks? If you don’t do it already, enroll them in putting their toys away at the end of playtime, setting the table, filling the dishwasher, sorting the laundry, whatever is appropriate for their age. Also, if your budget allows, what can you pay someone to do? The ironing? The house cleaning? The bill paying? The bookkeeping in your business? At work, who can you delegate tasks to? A coworker? An assistant? An intern?
- Build buffer time. However long you think a task will take – at home or at the office – add 20 to 30% time to it. This will give you a buffer for all the emergencies that come up. You may be able to put fewer things in your schedule every day, but you will be able to accomplish them all.
- Drop the activities that are not truly necessary. They are just taking time that could be used for other, more important purposes. For instance, I know of a family that irons only the guest sheets. Their thinking is that we all need clean sheets, but ironed sheets are not indispensable to our well-being, while spending quality time with the children is. What things in your home or at work can you just stop doing?