As a working mom, it is often hard to imagine having it ALL- a strong marriage, raising grounded and healthy children, and success inside a career. More times than not, you’ll hear us say “there isn’t enough hours in the day to get it all done,” or “I wish there were two of me.” The good news is, there is no need to continue feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and quite frankly- unhappy. After feeling time and time again like I was being continuously washed away by life, I decided it was time to make a change. Here are my 5 tips to create more time, and ultimately more happiness in your life.
1. Skip lunch out, and bring your lunch instead. Why? Well first off, you’ll save on money, calories and time. And if you really need or want to meet someone out, schedule lunch for an hour or less (and communicate that to whomever you are meeting in advance). Get this- if you go out only once a week for the entire year, not only are you spending $1000 or more on lunch expenses, but you are also spending over 50 hours out of the office, which is an entire work week! Choose lunch dates wisely, and block and communicate a specific window for them.
2. Push your phone to airplane mode while working. This is a biggie! Don’t allow the urgent to overwhelm the important. And in reality- everyone trying to reach you feels whatever they need is “urgent,” even though it can most likely wait a few hours. Ever get into a groove at work, and that annoying “ding” comes through, throwing off your focus? We lose our train of thought and never can quite get back into a rhythm with these non urgent interruptions. Instead, switching into airplane mode and scheduling an uninterrupted block to just “work” will allow you to get more done in less amount of time.
3. Set boundaries with social media. This will look different for everyone. Perhaps it is taking weekends off, or putting your phone away before dinner and leaving it there for good. Maybe it’s tucking it in a drawer during playtime with your children, leaving it in the car while out on date night with your spouse, or leaving it home while at the beach with friends. You may say, “well I do a lot of my sales through social media.” But let’s be real- a day’s worth of sale’s is NOT worth trading in your happiness for. And most likely, your customers could use a break from seeing you too. Not only will you quit wasting so much time scrolling through news feeds, it will allow you to be fully present, and help you to tune in and cherish those special moments together. (Remember- not everything needs to be photographed and shared). Ask your partner to help hold you accountable. Your spouse, children and business will benefit. So will your happiness. Set social media boundaries and stick to them.
4. Learn to say no and be okay with it. Working moms have a hard time saying “no.” We tend to cater to everyone but ourselves, racing our kids to and from activities, helping out a family member, signing up to volunteer yet again, and not quite sure when we will have a moment to simply come up for air. But it is slowing killing you, your happiness, your relationships, and your success. Here’s why: it is not that you are not committed enough to get stuff done, it is that you are OVER committed. Maybe it is learning to say no by sending a call to voicemail, saying no to a play-date, or saying no to another sleepover. Maybe it is saying no that you can’t watch your niece this weekend, no you can’t run the PTA meeting next year, and no you can’t stay late for another work assignment. You get it. Saying “no” to more small things will create more time and sanity to say “yes” to bigger, more important things. These bigger yes “things” are what will help move the needle; in your family life, business and happiness.
5. Get honest about what you really need, keeping yourself near the top. These are what I now call, my “non negotiables.” Moms are pressured to sacrifice themselves for the happiness of their relationships, careers and children. But it doesn’t work that way. Martyring yourself and your needs will cost you big time in the long run, and hurt those around you too. So write out 3-5 things you need right now– and set aside any guilty feelings that may arise when you do it. Is it a date night with your spouse every week? A pedicure or bath? A workout? Time alone? These need to be at the top of your list, and in order for that to happen – something may need to get scratched. Different seasons in life call for different commitments, and it is crucial to get comfortable with these things changing. It’s not about whether or not you can get something done, it is about whether or not you may lose yourself in the process while doing it. Choosing 3-5 non negotiables will help fuel you to be your best in all aspects of your life, and will keep you from over committing. Be clear on your non negotiables and fight for them, while again asking your partner for accountability. When you begin to put yourself towards the top of your own “to do” list, you will quickly find that giving yourself what you need is the only way you can effectively give other people or things what they need.
Give it a try. What do you have to lose? These 5 small shifts can really help bring more time and happiness to your life. Less stress.
More success. More time. More happiness.
I want to hear from you! Which one of these do you find the hardest to commit to and why? Leave your thoughts in a comment below.