For some reason women seem to be getting busier. Is it our lives – work, family, relationships, time for ourselves (yeah, right!) – or is it the pressure we put on ourselves to be the perfect wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter we can?
I think one of the reasons women put so much pressure on themselves to get everything done is out of guilt. From my experience women feel guilt for going back to work; guilt for wanting to spend time with their family and friends; guilt for wanting quality time with their partner; and most of all, guilt for wanting time for themselves. The reason for this guilt? Because it’s seen as taking time away from spending time with their children.
So let’s abandon guilt, shall we? Let it fester on its own, over there in the corner, and step away from the power it has. And take control of your time. Because I guarantee if you take control of your time you WILL have time to get through your to-do list, spend time with your partner, family and friends – and still have quality time for your kids. And maybe, just maybe, feel a little less guilty.
Use these five steps to take control of your time and get everything on your to-do list done.
Allocate a time to do it
Whether ‘it’ is work inside or outside your home, meeting with a friend, going for a check up at the Doctors or a parent-teacher interview, you must allocate a time to do everything you need to.
Routines will help your day run more smoothly so by allocating certain jobs to certain days you will be able to get more done – and you (and those around you) will always know what’s happening on certain days.
And you will know your boundaries. When someone asks you to add something to your diary you will be able to look at it and make an objective decision – with no guilt (because remember guilt is still sitting on its own, over in the corner, as lonely as ever).
Get it out of your head
The brain finds it very difficult to carry your to-do list. It’s too busy doing all the other stuff it has to do and has absolutely no interest in your to-do list. So help it out, and yourself, by writing your to-do’s down somewhere.
Now the trick here is to write your to-do down in one place – and only one place – every single time (not on post-it notes or scraps of paper all over the house). The best place for your to-do list is with your diary. Allocated a time to do your to-do – because a to-do without a when never gets done.
Take the pressure off
Often our to-do lists can be a mile long. As a busy Mum there is always stuff to do on any given day. But you know what? If you had a to-do list with ten biggish things to do today, and you achieved two of those things, would you be happy with your achievements? Would you return to the guilt headspace, thinking “I should have achieved more today” or “I can’t possibly be good enough because I haven’t achieved my ten things today”?
I want to give you permission – no, hereby GRANT you permission – to take the pressure off. Why? Because it’s already hard enough to do everything we need to do – why would you want to put even more pressure on yourself?
Ask for help
I am thinking that if you’re a Mum there are a few other sets of hands in your household. Take advantage of those sets of hands, no matter how big or small, and get them to help you do some of the basic stuff around the house. Don’t feel guilty about asking your children to help. You’re teaching them valuable life skills that some future partner is going to love!
And maybe, just maybe, it will rub off on bigger people in your home (aka your partner) and they’ll do some helping too!
Celebrate your achievements
This is particularly important for those Mums who only ticked off two things from their to-do lists today. The way I look at it is this – at least that’s two less things to do tomorrow!
Women do so many things for so many people. I think that’s one of the lovely thing about us – we are so caring and always want the best for our family and friends … but at what cost?
I don’t want you to feel guilty every day – I want you to celebrate everything you do on any given day! I want you to sit back after the kids have gone to bed, look back on your day and say “Fantastic! I did so many great things today – tomorrow’s going to be the same”.
And leave guilt in the corner – because he’s not a nice guy.
Guest post by Helen Butler.
Helen Butler is Director of Clutter Rescue, Professional Organisers based in Brisbane. Helen is an Accredited Expert Professional Organiser with The Australasian Association of Professional Organisers (AAPO). You can connect with Clutter Rescue at www.clutterrescue.com.au