Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
I don’t know of any moms who are exempt from the pressure of trying to get it all done. Mom’s life is filled with a never-ending, lengthy, daily to-do list with not enough hours to complete it. Somehow, it does all get done (at least what really has to get done) but not without a lot of stress. This added tension gives way to decreased patience, bad mommy moments, and leaving something on the back burner (Literally! How many times have you burnt something on the stove because you were doing too many things at once?).
While the goal of obliterating mom’s harried feelings is probably a bit too lofty, she can ease some of the scattered tension by creating a rhythm to ease the pressure of the eternal to-do list.
Examining Values and Priorities
The first task is to identify values and priorities. There are many online exercises to help uncover what is most important to you. A search under “values identification”, “life coaching values exercise” or “list of values” will take you to a good starting point. You may have completed a values identification exercise in the past, but this time, set aside family values and focus on yourSelf. What do you value for yourself? What are your priorities for your own wellness and self-care? We’re going to make sure these are included in your weekly rhythm.
Audit Your Time
A personal time audit is essential to assess where you are currently spending your time and energy. For five days, track what you are doing in 15-30 minute increments. Yes, it might feel time consuming, but the information you will acquire will be valuable. After completing a personal time audit, most people realize that they are spending a lot of time engaged in activities that do not align with their values. More time is spent online, texting, or watching TV than is realized (or admitted). Print a weekly sheet (you can find them online or create your own) Monday through Friday, from 5:00 am – 11:00 pm (or adjust accordingly based on your schedule).
Rework Your Schedule
It’s time to adjust your weekly rhythm, set some new goals, and rid yourself of habits that no longer serve you. For example, you may value healthy eating (for you and your family). This might require time in your schedule for meal planning and preparation. Do you already set aside time in your day for healthy eating? If not, make some room! Did you notice that you start your day, end your day, and fill in your day with visits to Facebook, talking to friends, or catching up on your favorite TV episodes? These things may fit in with your values of staying connected to those you love, entertainment, and down time – but it’s important to note how much time is devoted to these activiites and how much time you really want to give to these things. Make adjustments as necessary and be patient with yourself as you alter these habits.
Make another (empty) copy of your weekly audit worksheet. Fill in the must do’s - driving your child to school, volunteer hours you’ve committed to, after-school homework time. You might want to consider adding in your house have-to’s - laundry and cleaning. Do you do a little every day? Or spend a specific time each week on your household tasks?
Once your “have to’s” are entered, take a look at the spaces of time that are left. Using your values sheet, make a list of the things you would like to fit in on a daily or weekly basis. If exercising is important to maintain your motherly sanity, then make sure to schedule it in. More important than scheduling in is probably taking out – take out the bursts of technology throughout the day. They merely suck your time and frequently do not afford you anything beneficial. Set aside a specific time in your day to catch up with friends and Facebook.
For a busy mom with a busy schedule, an efficient use of time is essential. A time audit helps uncover the spots in our day when we give our time and energy to things that don’t serve us well. A values assessment helps us to align our daily activities with our values, ensuring that we are giving our time to things that truly matter.