‘I’m so busy’ ‘I don’t have any time.’ That is probably the most common objection I hear from clients. We could be talking about exercising at home, meal planning, food preparation or taking time to relax. My answer is always the same – ‘you can always find the time if it is important enough.’ Read on to hear how you can create that time for yourself by making smarter choices.
I don’t have time for me
The key for many of us is to start by giving yourself the same priority and care that you afford others. You manage to fit in all the children’s activities, work commitments and accommodate your partner’s schedule too. You visit parents, go to school meetings and do all the household chores. Looking at that to do list it is little wonder that you feel overwhelmed! Throw in a doctor’s appointment or vet emergency and the pressure becomes intolerable.
Why is it your responsibility to do it all?
At what point did it become your responsibility to do it all? Take a deep breath and really think about that one. I know I am not alone in getting on and doing things believing that I can get them done quicker and better than others. I like things to be done my way and I know I can be unbearably controlling….. My excuse would be that we are really busy and I have to juggle the schedules or it would all fall apart. With some major upsets over the last few months I have had to sit down and re-evaluate everything. My conclusion is that you can’t do it all yourself and that you have to give responsibility to others for them to grow and learn too. There really is no benefit in being frazzled and overwhelmed and not letting anyone help!
Make a list of everything you do in a week
A great place to start is with where you are at right now. Once you have a working list of all the things that you do in a week you can start to work out what you can delegate or eliminate. Sometimes even just writing it down can help to find clarity and getting really focused can help you see what the real challenges are. So grab a piece of paper and write your list.
Go through your list and divide it into categories. Work out what is essential that you do, what others could help with and take out anything that you do but that doesn’t need to be there. That will help to see what the real bottlenecks are. From there you can get some quick wins.
Your next challenge is to create a chart so that everyone can see all the clubs/meetings/events/chores that need to happen each week. This sets a clear and visual plan for the week. You might even get some offers of help with some of the ferrying around or tasks once everyone sees how pushed and busy your part of the schedule is!
It is time to ask for help
Take your list of things that others could help with and make that happen. For me the biggest issue was finding the time to plan, shop and cook dinner. My diary is much busier and I don’t always have time in the day to get to the supermarket or sometimes even to cook dinner. What was happening most days was that I was getting stressed and running around frantically. I decided to take my own advice and get organised.
A winning change of focus
Who knew that the solution was so easy? I enlisted the help of my family in planning and cooking. We now sit down on a Friday night and map out what we will eat for the week. We write a menu and use this to write the shopping list. This has resulted in a series of surprising wins.
- We are eating much healthier with more vegetables, less meat and more variety
- We agreed that we will try 2 new recipes each week and then vote on whether we would have them again. This is increasing our bank of regular recipes and encouraging the girls to try new things. They have committed in advance to giving it a go so no more outright refusals on looking at new foods on the plate.
- I know which days I am cooking and when my husband will do it. I can then factor it into my day. Last week I made the meatballs at 7am but that made it so much easier running in after piano lessons before racing off to football coaching.
- My daughters are learning useful planning skills identifying that pasta two days in a row is not ideal and that cooking risotto on a day where we only have 30 minutes is not a great idea.
- There is much less waste as we are buying what we need for a specific series of recipes.
- There are fewer supermarket trips and we are spending less on food
- Creating a menu and shopping list offer great opportunities for writing and spelling practice too!
- Helping with the cooking means they are learning how to prepare vegetables, weigh ingredients, add spices and follow recipes. They will be well prepared for leaving home and no doubt cooking for friends as their big sister does at University.
The end result has been that the stress of organising meals has been eliminated. The big win is that it is not my sole responsibility either and that makes a huge difference. They are enjoying following recipes and eating more healthily too. It is a great example of how a change in approach can make a real difference.
Identify and make one change this week
From your list you need to work out what you can ask for help with. For me it was feeding the family. What is your big challenge? Maybe you need someone to take over transporting children to activities. Could you share lifts with a friend or use the time they are playing football/dancing/going to Cubs to fit in a run or a trip to the shops? Perhaps you want to find time to go to a class or to learn a new skill. It could be that you find a cleaner or someone to take over the ironing. It is really important that you make a start and take that first step however small. When are feeling overwhelmed it is incredible how much difference even a tiny shift can make. You can then get bolder and braver and build from there.
Go back, read it again and take action
I know from experience that you can read a blog post, see the value in it and make a mental note to come back to it when you have more time. Do it now rather than putting it on to your already bursting to do list. Believe me it does work and one step forward or a tiny shift in focus can feel momentous. So grab that pen or your laptop and get writing. If you need accountability then post in the fit4evermore FB community or email me and commit to the change that you are going to action now.
If you want more tools and tips to help you then you can buy my book ‘ Moving More’ here. There are trackers, planners, help to get you started, recipes, workouts and more.
Here are some of the reviews from those who have already purchased the book from Amazon.
‘I enjoyed reading Clare’s book immensely. It is user friendly, full of helpful advice and taking you carefully through the stages necessary to achieve success in finding a healthier, happier lifestyle. The use of quotations from her clients is extremely motivating – if they can do it, I can. I have already recommended this book to my family and friends here and in North America.’
‘This book will have you off the sofa and moving well before you get to the end. Clare takes a simple no nonsense approach that is impossible to ignore. She is the little angel on your shoulder dismissing all your excuses with sensible and practical advice. This book is definitely worth the small investment and you also get access to lots of additional advice and support through her website. The stories of real clients making small steps are hugely motivating too. You won’t regret buying it.’
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