O time, thy fickle friend! It is the most critical thing we can give ourselves and others, yet it is the scarcest commodity we have. Add to that the constant noise and instruction on what to do and improve to live a better life, and it’s enough to make you scream in frustration. You, fellow Goddesses, understand: Your morning starts in a rush, you are half-jumping into your stockings as you limp down the hall calling out to the kids to get up, last night’s paperwork is strewn all over the table (a definite disaster should the kids reach the table before you do), and you’re already thinking about what you need to do for dinner.
We all have the best intentions regarding self-growth, balanced lives, and being mindful, but goodness, it’s tricky! I know what it feels like to longingly stare at the other moms who seem to have it all together or the other businesswomen who still have time for hobbies and self-care. What a miracle!
Every night ends the same way: A promise to make more time tomorrow, have a better plan, and then just before you fall into an exhausted sleep, you silently decide, “screw it, I’m just going to wing it!” This was definitely me, but I got to a point where I felt I needed to change something and really commit to this change.
Here are the 3 things I tried, and I still practice incorporating them daily. I hope this helps you, but I would be so interested to hear about the things that work for you.
1. Start the Day with an Intention.
“I feel lost if I am wandering through the day without an intention of what I want to achieve, and I feel like my day started off its axis if I just storm into it blindly.”
“Energy flows where intention and attention go.” This is one of my favorite quotes because it rings true and made a massive difference in my life. The moment I open my eyes in the morning, I recite this mantra to myself. Before I even sit up in bed, I repeat this in my mind once or twice. It reminds me that my day can only be as productive as I allow it to be, and I need to put my energy in the right place.
I prefer to set the alarm to go off 5-10 minutes before the rest of the family. I need this quick, quiet time to align myself with my intentions for the day. I love using a gratitude journal because it sets my day up for success. There is something freeing about starting your day by giving thanks rather than rushing into all the day’s responsibilities. It takes 2-3 minutes, and it helps me get into the right headspace for the day. I use a diary that prompts me to write down 3 things I am grateful for, 3 things that would make my day awesome, and an affirmation for the day. The ultimate summary for setting a solid daily intention. I can clearly be reminded of the good things in my life, what I can look forward to on any given day, and what I want to achieve for that day.
If it’s one of those mornings when I want to kill my alarm with the closest weapon I can find, it calls for a different approach . Then, I skip the journal and take advantage of trying to lie in for those extra 5-10 minutes. However, I focus on waking up my mind, moving and stretching out my body to get rid of the cobwebs of sleep, and I flow through a gentle trailer of the day. Note here: The lie-in cannot be for turning up the drool and pulling the pillow over your face . I try to think of the day and everything on the schedule; I see how I flow through the day, handle situations, and solve the day’s problems. I envision a calm day filled with solutions, opportunities, and structure. Then I sit up and begin the rest of the routine.
I feel lost if I am wandering through the day without an intention of what I want to achieve, and I feel like my day started off its axis if I just storm into it blindly. I feel calmer, less rushed, and more settled when I know what I expect from myself during the day. I cannot control all the circumstances of the day. Still, I can maintain the intention with which I will approach the different curve balls that may be thrown at me on any given day.
I need to do this before I leave the bed. It must be the first thing I do after sitting up because the moment my feet touch the ground, the day’s chaos ensues. I have never returned to bed or a quiet space to set my intentions for the day once I was “up and at ’em.”
Don’t Just “Wing It.”
I need structure in my day and to do well with my routine. I know this is not for everyone, but it relieves a considerable amount of my stress and helps me face the day with a calmer demeanor. This involves many facets of my daily life that all work together harmoniously. There is no need to approach the day like a military General barking at everyone to hurry, hurry, hurry. But it does help to have some sort of structure: A time everyone wakes up, taking turns with your significant other to make the coffee, a time when we more or less need to be ready for the bus, doing a few things the night before to make mornings less crazy, etc.
In a workspace, I am the list-maker. I like to see, in black and white, what needs to be done that day. I allocate the time I think I need to achieve each task and try to stick with it to complete most of my to-do’s for the day. On extra crazy days, I do structured work days: I set the alarm for each task to keep me productive and on track. It’s helpful because I don’t have to worry about forgetting something important. I also have fewer days where I leave the office in demotivated exhaustion because I steamed through the day without accomplishing anything on my list. These days you are crazy busy with everything that distracts you, but at the end of the day, you can’t pinpoint what you achieved. We’ve all had them, and they are a bummer!
“When I have no structure to my day, I constantly fall from one thing to the next and crash into all the unforeseen things that ultimately add to the stress list.”
It also helps with bedtime. I don’t know about you, but my bed has the magical power of reminding me of everything I was supposed to do that day but didn’t. My bed is so intelligent that it also allows me to start making endless checklists in my mind for how I will remember to do this tomorrow and remind me of the rest of the things I inevitably forgot. If I minimize the “forgotten tasks,” I reduce this little bedtime movie.
When I have no structure to my day, I constantly fall from one thing to the next and crash into all the unforeseen things that ultimately add to the stress list. My days always end in exhausted dissatisfaction with a healthy dose of underlying stress sizzling beneath the surface. I prefer to end the day exhausted but relatively satisfied with what I achieved that day.
I also find more time for other indulgences like playing guitar, taking mini meditative breaks, going for a walk, or stretching breaks. I can better accomplish my goals and allocate me-time without guilt about things not being done or not spending enough time with the kids.
3. Run Your Family Like A Business.
“Dividing responsibilities and managing your family life can be extremely helpful. When responsibilities are shared, it is so much easier to allocate some self-care or hobby time.”
I know this one may sound a little strange, but this is, I genuinely believe, the reason why I am so happily married and blessed with such a great relationship. We are all busy and have a lot on our plate. Kids need undivided attention, marriages need work, bills need to be paid, and everyone needs to eat. Doing all of this alone is not the way to go when you have a significant other to assist. Dividing responsibilities and managing your family life can be extremely helpful. Of course, communication is vital here. My husband and I have Sunday chats, which we never miss. Every Sunday afternoon, we discuss the week ahead and other big things that affect our calendars, like travel schedules or dinner meetings. This helps us stay on the same page and avoid the irritating assumption arguments. You know which disputes I am referring to here: “I just assumed you were picking up the kids.” “I thought you were getting the bananas at the store.” “You didn’t phone them to change the time?”
We allocate each other’s responsibilities for the week during these short meetings. This sets the family up for a week of clear communication, direction, and ultimately less stress and hiccups. Suppose there are bigger fish to fry in the next month, like both of you traveling simultaneously. In that case, you have enough time to organize the nanny and make any other plans you need to make.
When responsibilities are shared, it is so much easier to allocate some self-care or hobby time. For example, we take turns reading the bedtime story and spending quality time with the little one. When my husband does this at night, I go to bed a little earlier and spend some time meditating, reading, or writing. When it’s my turn, he spends some time doing what he likes.
Another thing I find beneficial is to have a shared Google Calendar with my husband. When we make plans or things get added to the calendar, like pediatrician visits or dentist appointments, we instantly know when and what time. It makes it easier to discuss the division of responsibilities and lessens the occurrences of double bookings. You know, that barbecue you planned on the same day your husband planned poker night for the guys.
We don’t have time because we do not manage our time. We don’t control our time because we feel we don’t have time to spend on the planning it involves. See the irony here? I had to make time. The choice was an easy one to make for me. I feel less stressed, less overwhelmed, and more fulfilled because I finish more tasks and achieve more. My time is well set out, so I don’t have “me-time guilt” because I’ve dedicated quality time to my daughter, husband, and friends. I enjoy hobbies because I am not pressured to be somewhere else or do something else. Mostly, it is taken care of. There will always be times when there is more to do than hours in the day. This is normal. However, this became my regular normal, and it had to change.
How do you make time in your day?
Remember to comment below.
Love and light