4 Options to Do More
Clients often ask me, “How can I do more? How can I stay on top of my work, and the dishes, and the laundry, and clean up the dirt, and still take care of my kids, oh - and maybe have a tiny bit of time for myself?”
As a Productivity Consultant, I am able to help clients employ some practical strategies such as time blocking or habit stacking to be more efficient with time, but after a certain point there are only so many hours in a day and only so much you can shrink the tasks within it.
As a time-starved parent myself, this post is especially for busy moms who ask me how it can all get accomplished.
Sadly the truth is that it can’t.
You don’t do it all. Or, you try to do it all but at a cost.
Imagine your day is a pie chart with 24 available hours, or slices. You start with a blank slate. Then you fill in sleeping, eating, and work. The pie chart is already looking pretty full. Squeeze in a couple other items like commuting, hygiene (shower, teeth brushing, bathroom breaks), meal prep, and if you have kids add in anything that you do with or for them like playing, bath time, bedtime routines, etc. Yep. As you can see, the essentials take up quite a bit of that chart.
You can make the pieces smaller to fit in “more,” but you can’t change the fact that there are only 24 hours available - you can only adjust within the space that you have.
So now that you see how little time is left, what will you add? Or maybe you’re already seeing that there is no space left, what will you remove or shrink?
Here are the four main solutions for trying to “tackle it all”:
4. Do it yourself – i.e. suffer
Try to do it all, fail miserably, get no sleep, and self-implode. I don’t recommend this path, although it is usually everyone’s first attempt.
3. Ask for help
If you’re anything like me, you may also find it difficult to ask for help. “I’m supposed to be able to do it all on my own, aren’t I?” I don’t think so, and I’m not sure where this idea originated.
Those who are doing it all by themselves are either robots, or are suffering (see above). Or perhaps they are actually being very mindful about what they’re taking on and we only see the list of what they’re doing, unaware of the longer list of what they’re not doing (see below).
So consider asking anyone you can for help. A neighbor? A spouse? A family member, or friend? Or maybe even someone from a local parent group. There may be more people out there who understand your situation than you think, and are often more than happy to help out.
2.*Hire it out
If you must still do it all, consider hiring out as many services as necessary to tackle the list. This might include cleaning services, yard services, shopping and cooking services, personal or virtual assistant tasks, childcare services, dog walkers, or almost anything else you can think of. If something takes away from your joy and brings you more anxiety than a sense of accomplishment, find someone who does that task professionally and actually loves doing it. But first, before spending an arm and a leg to outsource everything on your list, make sure the item listed is something you actually need to complete and will contribute to the life you want.
Which brings us to...
1. Let it go
You can choose not to do it all. Decide what to cut and focus instead on only the most important. In some cases you may also want to challenge the reasons they are on your list in the first place. Who really cares if your house is kind of messy, or a little dirty. So what if you don’t send holiday cards this year or bake cookies for 100 colleagues?
Let unimportant emails and phone calls go unanswered. Ask yourself which activities or ideas of perfection you are willing to let go of. The people who matter won’t care and the people who care need to be told to get lost. 😉
Which of these variations sound reasonable? Perhaps you can utilize a combination of strategies? Write in the comments below what has worked for you. Have any additional insights or ideas? Let us know!
If you’re a busy mom and could use extra support, check out The Nest by Revel here.
*I understand that hiring tasks out comes at a financial cost, which isn’t always an option. As an alternative, try brainstorming other ideas that don’t cost anything but can save time. For example, grocery pick-up and delivery options may have no or minimal fees. Or maybe you can discover other options like bartering or share rotations. One day a week you could cook twice as much and split it with a neighbor, who would take their turn the following day. Thought of something else? Share any additional no/low-cost ideas in the comments below!
Nest Advisor and productivity consultant Lana Kitcher assists individuals, small business owners, and entrepreneurs with their growing business needs including productivity, time management, habit formation, office and paper organization, digital organization, and systematizing processes. What goes on behind the scenes of your business is what excites me – my aim is to help you spend less time doing the menial things that drive you crazy, so you can spend more time doing what you love in your business.