Modern life puts a lot of demands on us. We’re all contactable 24/7, but we all need to balance out work, home and family life to ensure we don’t burn out…
How long is your to do list? Does it combine work tasks, emails to send, projects to complete, along with running kids to activities, keeping up with homework and school shows, making sure you check in with older members of the family, and maybe getting some time for your own interests – whether it’s going out for a run or doing something more scheduled, like a choir rehearsal or exercise class.
Just how do you fit it all in? Do you sometime feel like you’re drowning in a sea of post-it notes and to-do lists?
Follow some simple steps to try to get your life back in order and help you juggle everything to achieve a better balance in your life.
The key to juggling everything is great organisation, streamlining and delegating where you can.
Make a plan
First, set aside some time to make a plan. Decide where and how you will organise your tasks – if it is with a digital organiser, divide tasks into work, kids, home, family etc, otherwise your list will just be dishearteningly long!
You will probably need to have a separate work list. Divide this into tasks according to deadlines and the time they will take. A list covering the whole month, term or whatever timescale relates to your work is a great idea – but you will need to pull out shorter-term jobs from that on a weekly and daily basis. You might like to think about whether you can delegate any of those tasks.
A diary with separate columns for each member of your household can work well too, if you prefer pen and paper.
Categorising tasks by time is useful. Highlighting those that will take a few minutes and that can be done on the train, for instance, is really handy. Using your time wisely will make such a difference.
Do remember to include all the details you need (or at least refer to an exact email or similar that lists it all). There is nothing worse than a quick jotted note that makes sense when you make it but is a complete mystery two weeks later!
You can’t do it all
A great suggestion from Alex Cavoulacos at the themuse.com is to follow the 1-3-5 rule. This states that you can’t get everything done in one day, so narrow down your list each day to one big thing, three medium things, and five small things.
Ditch time wasters
Now’s the time to consider activities that are time wasters – how much time do you spend scrolling through social media for instance? Unless you need to do so for your work, try taking the apps off your phone.
Think about how you work and consider where else you can save time. Set time limits for checking email or making phone calls. Be careful about wasting time at work – long email conversations with colleagues, surfing the web, and long lunches can soon start to suck up work time.
Outside of working hours, be as strict as you can about checking work emails and taking calls. If you must check an email, make a note of anything that needs doing and put it on the to-do list for the next morning. This ensures it is not taking up headspace for the rest of what should be your evening off!
Make sure all the kids’ events; mufti days, activities and so on are on a joint calendar. Share with your partner if you have one. Each month and each week, get together for 10 minutes to go through diaries, decide who is doing what school runs, trips to dance class etc, and add in any new events.
Make sure dates from school/club letters go straight in the diary when they are received. Spend five minutes in the evening catching up on letters/making sure payments are made.
If the kids are old enough, encourage them to be more organised – use reward charts and to-do lists to help them. If they swim, have a list of what they need to have ready and by what time, the same for football matches etc.
Working full time doesn’t leave much time for running a household. If you can afford it, consider employing a cleaner, someone to do the ironing, clean the windows – anything that eats into the spare time you DO have. If that’s not an option, put together a plan to help you keep on top of housework. Ensure everyone in the family plays their part – even young children can help to keep their rooms tidy, clear the table and do some dusting. For ideas on creating a cleaning schedule check out sites such as https://organisemyhouse.com.
Make time for you
When was the last time you went out, or spent time with your partner? If it’s not happening, you’re not making time for it to happen. Make a date in the diary if you must. Try to take time where you can. If the children are at an activity for an hour, take that hour to go for a coffee, just the two of you, and have a catch-up, or go for a run together if that’s something you both enjoy. And put some time in that diary for you too.
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