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…. Finding that happy balance can become a titanic endeavour.
And, 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, 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.
Here are 13 tips for managing your time and your life balance better!
1. Know what you want.
I recommend drawing up a pie chart showing 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. I’ll give you an example but you can change the parts and adapt them to suit your own 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 you can spread them out more over the time available. The aim is not to get overwhelmed, remember, less is more! In 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.
If you don’t do this, work and self-imposed tasks will steal this time away from you and you will end up feeling frustrated. In this way, when you look at your pie chart, it is important that it is clear when you want to disconnect and what you are going to do with this time.
Use this chart for when you don’t know where to start.
- Type A: Are the most important and urgent. The essential ones to start.
- Type B and C: These are your second priority, depending on their urgency and importance.
- Type D: Look to see if you can delegate this part so freeing you up to deal with the other areas.
There are many things that we are used to doing that, in fact, do not contribute anything and just use up your time. Think about all the things you do and have a clear out! For example, consolidate your investments, dress more simply, don’t paint your nails, have artificial plants to avoid watering, spend less time gossiping with work colleagues, spend less time watching TV or reading the newspaper.
Your time is very valuable and however much you feel that you shouldn’t pay someone else to do it because you can do it, it still uses up your time in an unproductive way and creates frustration every single day. Delegate: cleaning, cooking, ironing, shopping, accounting, administration, child care, etc. Don’t be scared to ask for help! From friends, neighbours ad family, just as you would if you needed a personal trainer at home.
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.
8. Save 1h.
If you either sleep 1h less or ration the TV, you can gain 1h to enjoy with your friends and family, or just to organize your day in a more relaxed fashion, or do some exercize….
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 working partly from home or working half a day, offer better value at work in exchange for what you want…. 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 the time 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 rug sack that weighs too much and stops us from moving forward…. We cannot control everything and our children will not suffer; it is much better to spend a little quality time with our children than a lot of time with them but not giving them our attention. When you are with your children, give them all your attention.
13. Do not compare yourself with other mothers.
Life is not a competition. Each person chooses the life they want and what is important is that you are well so you can give your best to those around you.
This may bring about a huge change in your daily satisfaction, health and happiness…
Please tell us what you are going to change and what you are going to do differently in the future.