Where have all the hours gone?

If you are married, a woman and have children, you are probably known to do most of the tasks for your family – sometimes out of love, sometimes out of frustration. Does that sound like your life? Most of us end up feeling that we don’t have enough hours in the day even though we are busy all the time!

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way; you can reclaim at least 3 to 5 hours of your time every week.

Here are my best tips.

Tip #1: Learn to say “NO”

Often, you are distracted by people asking you to do things, which are not top priority on your list or for that matter, not on your list at all. Interruptions in your schedule make everything take longer and reduce the time you spend on what’s important. Do not be afraid to say no, even to family members or to at least say ‘not now’.

Tip #2: Learn to delegate tasks

As mentioned before, women end up doing most of the tasks because no one else in the family does it or the tasks are not completed as per their liking. The trick here is to get a balance. Ask children to help with putting away dishes or folding their own clothes. In our household, once clothes are out of the laundry, it goes into piles and everyone folds their own clothes and puts it away.

Tip #3: Prioritise yourself

You are your top priority because that is just how it is! Just like cooking and cleaning may be a part of your everyday household chore, time for yourself should be a priority too. Schedule sometime for yourself everyday to do something you like – it could be reading, exercise, watching TV, whatever you fancy!

Tip #4: Set your tasks and goals for the week ahead of time

This is an important tip to save a lot of time. You can set tasks for the household, it can be as simple as menu planning or even batch cooking over the weekend, to tasks like when to do laundry, exercise, and so on. Once it goes on your calendar, you then don’t need to think about it until it pops up on your calendar. We all have smart phones that can help us with reminders!

Tip #5: Stay away from social media

Social media is one of the biggest killers of time. If you think you don’t spend that much time on Facebook, monitor for a week and you will be surprised. Add up time for each social media and you can possibly reclaim 3 to 4 hours a week. Make sure you check social media only at certain times of the day. The same can go for mindless TV watching.

Tip #6: Establish a routine

Have a routine or time block for tasks that need to be done for the week. In our house hold, grocery shopping gets done on a Sunday morning and then we meal prep for the whole week on a Sunday evening. Likewise, clothes are washed on a Saturday, and then each person in the family folds and puts away their clean laundry on the Sunday. Everyone knows their routines and there are no ifs or buts.

I know that my family is very helpful and I am so very grateful for it. But as easy as it sounds, it has taken me a few years of training – through bribing, cajoling, pleading and threats! But in the end, it is not a hard and fast rule, there are times when my children will help me with my laundry and I may do theirs, but it is a set expectation that everyone needs to contribute in the household which has given me my time to do other things!

This can apply to your work life too, but small changes start at home and everything takes time. Start today and I would love to hear from you on how one small change gave you the time you needed for yourself.