Too often I hear women, especially mamas say “I don’t have enough time to devote to x,y, or z. I wish I had an extra hour in the day.” We all have the same 24 hours in the day so how do some people seem to get so much done and others are struggling to stay afloat? We all have different roles that require different amount of time. Someone with small children or who is taking care of aging parents are going to have less free time than someone who has grown children or no children and no other obligations.
No matter which one you are, today we are gonna look at some ways to maximize your time and even find “extra” time each day.
Start by looking at how you are currently spending your time. Take 2 or 3 typical days and journal your time for the day. Be honest. No one is judging you. Some things to remember are:
- Wake up time
- Work time
- Ride to work
- Time spent on social media
- Lunch break
- Sports activities
- Bath/ nighttime routines for little ones
Be as detailed as possible. Once you have 2 or 3 days worth, look at it and see if you are spending way more time in some places than you realized. Hello Instagram feed! You stop to look at one picture and next thing you know 30 minutes has flown by. Do you say that you don’t have time to do x,y&z but are spending 3 hours a night binge watching t.v? Are your spending time doing the things you value the most?
So lets look at some ways to get back some of time….
First- Are there things that you are doing that someone else could do? Like chores, housework, work things.
Second- Are there commitments that you can free yourself from? Committees or groups that you are no longer passionate about, roles that you currently serve that take up more of your time than you want to give. Can you reduce the level of commitment?
Now that we have looked at those two things. Let's look at some things we can do to increase our available time.
One of my favorite things: Batch Work!
A lot of people only think of batching when it comes to work but it can also be done at home. Batching your meals for the week- If you cook or even prep several of your meals for the week, it will save you time daily. If you have lunch ready for the week, you earn back time at lunch that you would have spent driving and waiting to get lunch. If you work from home, it takes you just a few minutes everyday to heat up your meal instead of having to take 20 minutes to fix something. Ironing clothes or laying out clothes for the week all at one time – especially if you have little ones will save you time in the morning and help make your morning run smoother.
Another way is through establishing routines. Have a set morning and evening routine to help lower stress and be more organized which in turn will provide you more time. When our routines flow, there is less time spent running around trying to figure everything out. Creating a system of organization will allow things to flow smoother and save time. If everything has its place then we will spend less time trying to figure out where we put things. Keys, phone, mail, homework etc.
This next one might not be a fan favorite to begin with but it is doable and once you get in the habit of doing it you may even come to look forward to it. Getting up an hour earlier. This is one of my favorite times of day. It allows me to center and focus myself before the chaos of 3 kids happens. You can use this time to work on a project, read a book, do a devotional, workout, meditate, go over your goals, whatever you want. My ideal morning is getting up at 5 to workout for 30 minutes then spend the next 30 minutes doing my devotional and writing while drinking coffee. At 6, I start getting ready for work and get the boys up around 6:20. Does this always happen? Nope but it is something I am working on being more consistent with. You don’t have to start with an hour a day. Maybe you start with 15 minutes and then add time each week or every few days until you are where you want to be.
One of my favorite ways to fill my cup and get refreshed is through listening to podcasts. Depending on what you want to do, the commute to work and back is filled with time that you could be using to learn something new or listen to a book. I love that most courses and trainings today have an audio version of them. Most of the time, I don’t have two hours available to sit and watch a training so having that audio is awesome. It doesn’t require any extra time at all. Podcasts are my favorite things to listen to while I’m driving though. While the ones I listen to tend to be more business related, they have all kinds of podcasts available- educational, funny, murder mysteries, stories for kids, We listen to them every morning. My 13 year old loves them!
Finally, tell people what you need. Maybe you can form a group with a few other moms where you take turns watching each other’s kids so that you can do your thing. Have an honest conversation with your spouse or partner or another family member and set it up so that you have time to go to a dance class, work on writing a book, working out; learning a new language, starting a business, whatever your thing is. If you can afford to hire a babysitter for a few hours each week, do it.
Schedule your time. Make it a priority. Put it in your calendar and treat it like you would any other appointment.
I'd love to hear from you and what you are going to do this week to make sure that you have some time to pursue your passions.