'I don't have the time!' Busy mums are short on time juggling work, family and shoehorning a little 'me' time in. When you take off your career or your 'Muuummmy' hat though you are you - a unique and whole person with your own purpose and vision.
So how can busy mums on such a tight schedule find the time to do the things they love and work on their vision?
Time management is an interesting coin of phrase as we all know that we can’t control time. We all have the same hours, minutes and seconds in a day. What we can do though is better manage ourselves. This isn’t about squeezing more into what is already a jam packed day but rather getting more out. At the end of the day, you should feel fulfilled. I think we’ve all been there where we finally get to the end of the to do list and are good for nothing but bed.
Our time is precious. Here are a few ways to help you be more purposeful with it so you can get more out of life.
What is your life’s purpose?
Take stock: As mums, we don’t often give ourselves the time to stop, breathe and reflect on our life as a whole.
If you are clear on your passions and life purpose you can make informed decisions with your time so that you are moving towards rather than away from your big life goals. This will help you to be more pro-active and less reactive so you don’t head ‘off piste.’
Ask yourself: In what direction is your life heading? What is going well for you and reflects your purpose? What could be even better?
What are your values?
Identifying your core values can make it easier to spend your time on the things that are important to you. This benefits you and those around you enormously – you focus your time and energy on the right things, get more done, feel more in control and are kinder to yourself. One of my core values is growth so investing in my own personal and professional development is a top priority for me.
What matters most to you? If you’re not sure what values you couldn’t live without, coaching can help you identify them, look at to what extent they are currently being met and how they could be better supported.
What would make the biggest difference in your life right now?
Be clear what decision or action you need to focus on. As mums, we are jugglers, carers, mentors, advisers, banks, caterers, taxi drivers, career mums... Remember it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help whether this be outsourcing a project, looking to peers or team members, family or friends but rather it demonstrates humility. The sign of a good project manager, which as mums we are of course, is drawing out and maximising the benefits of the skills and expertise of those around you. How we spend our and other people’s time can shape our life story.
How are you choosing to spend your time?
Have you ever heard yourself say ‘Where has the time gone?’, ‘How time flies’. I know I have on occasion! It might seem harmless but it actually suggests that time controls you. Instead you can take ownership of how you spend this valuable resource.
It can feel as if you have little or no choice in how you spend your days running around at work and at home. You always have a choice though - there are consequences to the choices you make of course but ultimately, you decide. You may need to work but dislike your job so choose to address what it is you don't like about it or to look for something else. You may decide that you’re happy with the kids having a lighter tea the days they have cooked lunch at school or nursery. Through pro-active decision making you can change 'shoulds' into things that you actually want. Far more empowering wouldn't you say?
What is draining your energy?
Most of us are tolerating or trying to ignore something, whether it be that dreaded DIY job or an issue at work. We all know deep down though that there will be a cost involved if we don’t address the pain not least it acts as a distraction in the here and now. If you're feeling under par and distracted, stop procrastinating and break the job down into manageable chunks of activity so you can make small steps and follow through. Imagine the sense of accomplishment and benefit at the finishing line!
Are you present and enjoying the here and now?
If we’re always worrying about the things that we still need to do, we’re not enjoying what we’re doing right not. If you are present, you can take real pleasure from the little things. I enjoy my morning routine of flipping the kettle on and making myself a green tea in my favourite cup and saucer given to me by a friend – a lovely start to the day.
We are renowned for our multi-tasking talents. Doing this all the time can drain the brain and be mentally exhausting. Single-tasking or mono tasking where you focus deeply without distraction on one thing at a time can promote better brain health and reduce anxiety and stress.
How has lack of confidence held you back?
It’s natural to lack confidence sometimes and for negative mind chatter to tell you that you can’t do something or you’re not good enough. I once had a self-limiting belief about making presentations so much so that I used to be physically sick beforehand. I’m happy to say that I have successfully mastered this. If you have limiting beliefs, consider how coaching can help you replace them for ones that will get you what you want.
So it’s not about trawling through endless time management techniques (although some can be useful) so as to squeeze more in to our day … it’s about getting more out of the limited and wonderful time that we have!