Written by: Andrea Linati, certified personal coach, trainer and freelance consultant
We live in a society that is obsessed with being productive, with managing to do a thousand things and, most importantly, using our time well. If, on top of this, we add the demands we make on ourselves as a working mother, housewife, lover, good friend, good sister, then finding that happy balance can become a titanic endeavor.
With all this, we tend to forget that we also need to find time to relax, time for ourselves. As Socrates said: “Free time is the best of all acquisitions”. Ultimately, being fit and healthy is having the different areas of your life in balance, giving them the attention they deserve and not constantly neglecting some areas and prioritizing others. Some of us make the mistake of ignoring certain areas of our lives, while others make the mistake of always trying to achieve the perfect balance and to “have it all”. Let’s get this straight: the true key to achieving balance in your life is that the perfect balance does not exist! It is not a question of achieving more in less time, but doing less, letting go of those things that are not useful and adjusting the balance more in the medium term.
These tips are designed to help you manage your time and your life balance better!
1. Know what you want.
I recommend drawing up a pie chart that shows the things that you want to be present in your life every week/month and that represents your own balance where you feel happy with your life.
2. Organize your week ahead on Sunday night or early Monday morning.
Having everything written down frees up a lot of mental energy. Be careful not to include too many things, or try to spread them out more over the time available. The aim is not to get overwhelmed: remember, less is more! This way you will give yourself time to do things well, think intelligently, not forget things along the way and complete your tasks with positive energy.
3. Set aside time for yourself or your social life.
IIf you don’t do this, work and self-imposed tasks will steal this time away from you and you will end up feeling frustrated. When you look at your pie chart, it should be clear when you want to disconnect, and what you are going to do with this ‘you’ time.
Use this labeling guide with tasks when you don’t know where to begin.
- Type A: the most important and urgent tasks, which are essential to start.
- Type B and C: your second priority, depending on their urgency and importance.
- Type D: look to see if you can delegate this task, freeing you up to deal with the others.
There are many things that form a party of our daily life and habits which, in fact, do not contribute anything useful to our routines, and just use up our time. Think about all the things you do during your week and have a task clear-out! For example, consolidate your investments, dress more simply, don’t paint your nails, get artificial plants to avoid regular watering, spend less time gossiping with work colleagues, or spend less time watching TV
Your time is very valuable and however much you feel that you shouldn’t pay someone else to do tasks for you because you’re able to manage, these tasks still use up your time in an unproductive way and create frustration every single day. Delegate cleaning, cooking, ironing, shopping, accounting, administration, child care, or a whole host of other tasks you can easily get someone else to do. Don’t be scared to ask for help! Your friends, neighbors, and family are there for you.
Success does not come from working hard but working intelligently. Recognize if you can automate things that will save you time and energy. For example, set the menus for each week, organize payment transfers for each month, the shopping and, of course, many things in your daily work routine.
8. Save an hour.
If you wake up a little earlier or ration the TV, you can gain time to enjoy with your friends and family, or have more time to relax, or do some exercise – the choice is yours!
9. Be flexible.
Sometimes you just have to accept that the number of hours you work, your timetable and responsibilities will change. Have a Plan B. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take steps to make changes, arrange to work partly from home or to work half days, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with your employers. Don’t be content with the status quo: you can achieve what you really want!
10. Manage your time in line with your energy levels
When do you have the most energy? Move the tasks requiring the most concentration and effort to these times and use the rest of your day for more routine tasks.
11. Be present.
The only thing that exists is the present. We often get overwhelmed with everything we have to do because we are mentally thinking about the rest of the day. Don’t do it! First, write a list of things you have to do, mentally free yourself up and then start with one, move on to the next, totally focusing on it, and the day will pass much more calmly.
12. Forget guilt.
Guilt is a backpack that weighs us down and stops us from moving forward. We cannot control everything and our children will not suffer from a lack of total control; it is much better to spend a little quality time with our children than spend a lot of time with them while not giving them our full attention. When you are with your children, make them your focus.
13. Do not compare yourself with other mothers.
Life is not a competition. Each person chooses the type of lifestyle they want, and what is important is that you are healthy and happy, so you can give your best to those around you.
This outlook can bring about a huge change in your daily satisfaction, health and happiness.
Let us know what you want to change, and what you are going to do differently in the future!