Do you ever wish you had more hours in your day? That you are NEVER going to get through your to-do list?
Or that things feel so overwhelming and out of control? You are too busy to breath…
Well here are 5 simple truths that will help you to slow down your life and maybe even surprisingly, find more hours in your day! Well, at least feel like you have more time.
How To Slow Down
1. The No 1 Time Management Myth
One of the biggest myths people believe about their time is that time can be managed.
The truth is, you can’t manage time! However, what you can manage is yourself!
Observing how our kids change and grow over the years is a powerful example of this. Time passes whether we are productivity or slack, intentional about what we do or wasteful.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day and we get to chose what we do during that time.
Ever feel like you have no control over your time?
It can be a game changer, when you realise that you do have control over yourself.
The result… you can choose to make your hours and days count. How? By thinking about and spending your time on your most valuable relationships and activities.
O.K., that is harder during certain seasons… thinking of you, exhausted Moms of babies and toddlers.
Yet I encourage you, excluding those times of crisis, to really consider what you want to fill your hours and days with.
What relationships and activities are your top priorities in your life at this time?
2. Completing Your To Do List Doesn’t Make You A Productivity Guru
Sounds great in theory, hey? You tell yourself, if I could just learn how to get stuff done more quickly I wouldn’t be so busy.
So you learn as many productivity hacks as possible. You get through more tasks on your to do list, you are feeling and looking super organized!
But Not All Activities and Tasks are Created Equal!
We are not made to simply cram our lives full, as full as my daughter crams her bag full, bursting at the seams, for an one night stay with her Dad. Seriously, bags are a lot easier to replace when the seams bust than people…
I love what author Emily Freeman writes in her book,
I don’t want to live my life in such a hurry that I’m always closing the fridge door with my foot and scribbling out birthday cards in my car at the last minute. I want to make bread, or at least find the time to toast it.
Yes, there are productivity hacks that make life easier… Like getting dinner on the table in less than 15 minutes; I love weekly meal planning for that reason!
Yet in the end, WHAT you do matters more than HOW MUCH you get done.
What less important tasks do you need to let go of, to focus on your most important?
3. There Is No One Size Fits All Organizational System
Yes, a home organization book or two or three, and planners etc can be really helpful in organizing your home and work life! But unfortunately there is no universal approach to solve the problem of feeling overwhelmed and too busy in your life.
Each of us has so many different variables to consider… age, how much support we have, the size of our household, and ages of our kids, how many hours we work, our health…
What is considered a relaxed, easy day for one person may be completely overwhelming for another person. Some of us work better earlier in the morning, some of us don’t. 🙂
Different Ways Of Organizing Your Time
Instead, I encourage you to try lots of different approaches. Work out how to measure success, give the approach time to work and review and evaluate what worked and what didn’t.
For example, my approach to cleaning my house on a regular basis has varied a lot over the years.
- When I was working and had no kids, house cleaning was a couple of hours on a Saturday morning.
- When I was at home full time caring for a baby, toddler and a preschooler; cleaning… what’s cleaning?
- As a single Mum, with 2 kids in school and one still at home, cleaning became a bitza of this and bitza that with some help from the kids.
- Now with all 3 kids in school and a hubby who insists on doing the dishes, I still rely on daily tasks but with more weekly cleaning tasks added in.
Over the years I think I feel like a serial dieter, with the number of different organizational approaches I have tried. Some I have stuck with long term because they suit me and how I work. While other strategies bombed pretty quick!
What’s one area of your life you need to try a new organizational approach?
4. Whoever Said Using Your Time Well Depends Completely On You
Good point! Who said that? Because whoever said that hasn’t spent much time in my home lately!
The reality is… the more people you have in your life, which IS a blessing, the more messiness it can bring. Factors such as the needs and preferences of babies, kids, pets, husbands and even your work environment can affect how you are able to use your time.
However, you do have a choice about how you respond!
Feeling frustrated and overwhelmed can be greatly reduced by often changing your expectations of yourself (goodbye perfectionism) and what is possible to achieve with the time you have. As well as this, being more intentional about how you use the time you do have each day.
Consider The Margins Of Your Day
For example; Having a long work commute every day may mean using the time to listen to audio books or make phone calls. If you have young kids at home, it may mean using 5 minute pockets of time through out the day intentionally.
Personally, I have 2 hours on a Saturday morning watching gymnastics while the three kids complete their lessons. Now I take along my weekly planner, a pen and a hot cup of tea. I use the time to reflect on my past week and the progress I have made towards my goals. I then plan out my coming week, including appointments, errands, meals and action steps towards my goals.
What margin time could you make use of in your day or week?
5. You Are Not Too Busy To Stop and Smell The Roses
Whoa, hang on a minute… But you haven’t seen what’s on my plate!!
No, I haven’t but I do know that some of you have a lot going on… from raising a kid with developmental issues, to caring for elderly parents and sometimes both at once. Or just the normal, crazy busyness of working full time and looking after a family.
And yet there is a way…
Laura Vanderkam, author of the book, 168 Hours and I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make The Most Of Their Time, disputes the widespread myth of the time crunch that claims Mums today have no time to breathe, let alone relax.
Vanderkam would say we have more hours of leisure time than we think we do. Rather than saying “I don’t have time”, what we mean is, “It’s not a priority”.
There are 168 hours in a week; 40 to 50 hours of work, 64 hours of sleep with 64 hours remaining to use. We have a lot of time in our lives!! The question is what are we doing with it and more importantly what do we want to be doing with that time?
This is one idea I struggle with a lot because I would rather absolve my own responsibility for how I spend my time. It feels easier to say my kids take up all my time rather than say I deliberately spend more than a hour a day on social media.
Yet the research shows (through people’s time diaries) that most of us have more time available to us than we realise. Believing we are time poor, can result in us rushing from one activity to another rather than planning out our days and weeks!
All you have to do is decide what to do with the time given to you! So slow down your life this week and consider what it is you want to do with your hours and days, and move in that direction. You may end finding you have more time than you realized!
Which of these time myths do you relate to most?
Click here for more encouraging ideas…