In a recent newsletter I wrote about how I was analysing how I was using my time, asking myself these questions:
- Am I allocating enough time to things that mean the most to me?
- Am I allocating enough time to things that are good for me?
- What am I spending time on that I don’t enjoy?
- What tasks can I streamline to reduce the amount of time I am spending on them?
- How can I incorporate more unstructured time into my week?
I received some great responses from readers who are also pondering similar questions. A reader Larisa took the time to send me quite a detailed response and it was so inspiring! I asked Larisa if I could share it here on the blog and she was happy to. If you have made changes or have been thinking about the way you use time, I would love it if you would add to the conversation by leaving a comment at the end.
As a Mum and an individual, I am very happy & content at this point my life right now. You see, it wasn’t long ago that all I wanted to do was to spend more time with the family, maybe have another child, have fun, share challenges, but most of all I wanted to see my kids’ personalities to develop and shine in a positive light. Previously my husband and I were both working crazy hours and the only time we had with the kids was in the morning pushing an over-strict routine to get out the door by 7am and then again at the end of the day pushing a crazy night routine with no injection of quality. We were barking orders in the morning to be heard and too tired in the evening to successfully manage day to day challenges. Weekends were then always so busy running chores, extra-curricular lessons and social commitments. In other words we very time-poor on quality and quite frankly we never stopped to smell the roses.
So something had to change, we moved further out into the suburbs, downsized our house & mortgage (so only one parent had to work) had our third child (my dream). We were then able to spend so much more time with the kids to allow them to be kids and not robots to a strict routine due to the time restraints given to them because of Mum & Dad had busy jobs. This then had such a knock-on effect with a multitude of positive outcomes for our family.
Most recently I have been on mat leave with #3 and I have already noticed a change in behaviour with #2 as there used to be so much angst, frustration, disrespect and un-enthusiasm – whereas now we have time for laughter, curiosity, conversations and a lot less anger & frustration. As for our oldest she is no longer over-sensitive and feels like she has a voice in our family and is being given the time and attention that she duly deserved. We still have routines, as we need it for a family of five to survive – however all my girls now have time to laugh, play and express emotions now and they have all come out of their shells, which gives us great joy as parents to see their personalities flourish & shine. All they needed was some extra attention, patience and time with a lot more freedom to make the right choices. After all, we were all kids once and we all had choices to make – some good, some not so good – but this was how we all learnt boundaries and consequences to our actions.
Seeing I use FB for personal use and don’t have a business to run, I have switched off my FB app and I only check it once per week on the PC for family/friend updates, as I have little time left in my day for over-sensationalised news feeds etc. I feel fantastic!! This one action has now given me more time for the kids for a lot more ‘real’ conversations. At 40, I am heading back to study next year to change careers and in a chosen profession to give a little back to the community, which gives me great joy as life is too short to put these things off. Over time we have also slowly changed our eating habits too – as we only buy what we need, cook what we need and try to consume food that is organic or is as close to this with little ‘intervention’ as possible, this is by supporting local farmers with their produce & products. Eating this way doesn’t have to be expensive, with just a little research and digging around you can get great produce delivered directly to you from a farm with no middle men involved. I am baking more, I laugh, I listen to music and I can easily be ‘that Mum’ dancing with the kids on the sofa as I now have time, I just had to find it:)
I love it how I am continually on a quest to simplify my life and by reading your articles with such great relevance I feel that this whole ‘Life’ thing is way more achievable. Yes cliche – its a journey, but we don’t always have to have the end at mind whilst missing all the good stuff in between.