The Three Questions You Need to Ask Yourself If You don’t Think you Have time
I wish I had abundant time in my day. I wish I could sleep 10 hours every night, and have 24 hours during the day that I could use to play with my child, focus on my work, relationships while having a clean house and something delicious cooking on the stove. But I don’t. Like everyone else on this planet, my days are made of 24 hours, that needs to be packed with plenty of activities that make my family happy, my marriage work, and that keeps my mind busy, content and calm. All at the same time.
Is it possible?
Sometimes it is, sometimes maybe not, but it’s worth trying to achieve this outcome on a daily basis.
“Keeping your to-do list limited to the things that need to be done by you and only you and that align with your energy this week and also the phase your projects are in, will give you back time in your day (Kate Northrup)”.
Whenever my list of things is too full, whenever I’m faced with too many options, and I found myself running around and multitasking for no particular reasons, while my child screams begging me to be present, I go back to the 3 simple questions the wonderful Kate Northrup taught me:
- Does it need to be done? (have an honest chat to yourself- do you have to do it or do you feel pressured by society or the idea that you have about being a good mother/partner/friend/worker?)
2. Does it need to be done by me? (Outsource, delegate, ask for help as much as you can)
3. Does it need to be done right now? (are you tricked by a fake sense of urgency, or do you really need to act right then and there?)
To answer the above questions, I:
Ask my body
While my mind is always trying to rationalise whatever is happening, and for some silly reason is packing my schedule as if I was a CEO of a multi-million dollar company supported by 3 PA, my body knows better. My body with its 5 hours sleep, with a sore back and a lingering headache, my body blessed with a functioning menstrual cycle, my body with its weaknesses and strengths know exactly how much I can achieve every day. If I add just one thing on top of what I can really do, I know that I have to deal with the consequences of my choices (cold and flu or backache anyone?)
Understand what is really important
It is really hard to understand which step to take if everything sounds urgent. Should I bake muffins for my starving child or reply to that email that is nagging at me? Should I make that phone call or go to the gym and de-stress? Whenever I feel overwhelmed, and I don’t know where to start from, I sit still and I let the answer come to me. Mind you, the answer could come under the form of a crying and hungry child, or by a calm and gentle vision. Don’t mind how your questions will be replied, you will then have your answers.
Don’t think small- Look at the big picture
I used to busy myself without moving an inch away from the starting point. Have you ever felt like that? That you are doing, doing, doing, while making everyone unhappy because you are never present, and for some reason, you don’t seem to achieve what you really wanna achieve and you feel miserable in the meantime? I have been there way more often than I care to admit. This is the old me, and I hope I have overgrown that pattern for good.
Whenever in doubt, whenever you don’t know what you need to prioritise, don’t focus on the small menial things (an untidy house for example), but look at the bigger picture. What do you want to achieve one year from now? Which person, mother, partner do you want to be? When these questions are answered in a truthful and realistic way, then you will have no doubts about what to do next.
Find ways to expand
When we think we don’t have the time, we spread ourselves too thin by doing things that we don’t really enjoy or that simply don’t serve us. It is important to look outside the box and find ways to expand. Expanding has loads of different meanings; it could be as simple as joining a group that makes us feel like we belong, and that gives us loads of ideas and feedback for the future we have planned. It can also mean looking inward and focusing on our spiritual growth, or it can also mean outsourcing and delegating, so we can get more time to do the things we really enjoy doing.
I’m a massive fan of delegation; it didn’t come easily to me, especially in the first months of motherhood, but it didn’t take me long to realise that it was the only way forward.
Honor your time and commit to the plan you have made. You need to communicate your feelings and intentions with the people you love the most, and to yourself. After that, you need to show up and do the work, every day. You will see that as soon as you have a plan, you have answered your questions, you have asked your body if it’s willing to follow you, you will be able to carve the time necessary to plant your seeds. You will also need to stick to your gun when it comes to your time; this means saying NO more often to things that don’t serve you in the long run, and YES more often to activities that can fulfill your life, and lead you to feel purposeful and powerful.
“Second, it’s about communicating with the other people in your life about your commitments. u can do this kindly and with tremendous love. You’ll need to say no more often. It will likely be uncomfortable. And you need to do it anyway (Kate Northrup).”