For executive moms on the go, life can get a little chaotic at times. Trying to keep up with everybody’s schedules, relationships, work demands and running a household often pushes precious “me” time to the end of or completely off the to-do list. The effects of this: stress, disconnection, exhaustion and illness, directly affect your level of engagement at work and how you show up at home—with the people closest to you.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Here are 3 ways you can add more “me” time into your week:
1.) Share the load. Believe me, I know you can’t afford to let anything fall through the cracks. But honestly, does everything really have to be done by you? Let’s use work as an example. At the office you have to delegate certain responsibilities to members of your team. Well, it’s the same way in your personal life. If you’re not delegating to the people in your life you’ll walk around resentful, frustrated and eventually burnout.
If you’re thinking, “I’ll have to fight to get them to do it,” “It’s easier to just do it myself,” or “They’re not going to do it right.” Guess what? You’re probably right. Change isn’t always easy. It’s going to take practice. You’ll have to practice letting go of control over how and when a thing is done, while the people in your life (spouse, kids, relatives, friends, sitters, etc.) practice pitching in and sharing the load.
Start with small tasks and work your way up to larger ones. Young kids can do everything from picking up toys to making their beds. Older kids are perfectly capable of doing the laundry and getting themselves to and from many local events. Get your spouse to select days he’ll do the grocery shopping or choose which rooms he’ll be responsible for tidying up. Every little bit helps. Start today.
2.) Focus on what really matters.It’s easy for a passionate, concerned mom to become so swamped with family, work and household obligations, not to mention community involvement, that she’s stretched too thin. Getting crystal clear about what’s important to you in your career and at home is key if you’re serious about clearing the clutter that’s eating up your time.
When I find myself believing, “It’s ALL important!” I remind myself that quality and quantity aren’t the same thing. Focusing on the impact instead of the volume, makes it easier to say, “no” to extraneous activities.
Try this out: When you’re feeling pulled in multiple directions, without an end in site, get curious about your have-to-do list. Ask yourself the following two questions:
- What’s important about this (event, activity, etc.)?”
- How am I already demonstrating this at work or home?
If you’re already honoring or demonstrating this in other ways, give yourself permission to pass on it. At the very least, move it down the priority list and bump yourself up to the top.
3.) Take advantage of your kid’s schedule. Think back to those first few months of your child’s life. All the experts said, “You have to sleep when the baby sleeps.” It made total sense! In order to have the energy and level of engagement required to take care of our new bundle of joy, we had to take advantage of naptime.
This common sense strategy still holds true today. While naptime has been replaced with activities: sports, clubs, tutoring, music lessons, art classes or old-school outdoor play, this time is still an opportunity for you to fit in a good dose of quality “me” time.
However, if you’re like a lot of professional women, while your child is living it up—exercising, learning, creating and playing, you’re likely watching from the sidelines, grocery shopping, running errands and checking things off the to-do list. Ask me how I know. Been there done that!
Here’s an idea: Give yourself permission to hit the pause button while the kids are occupied. Take advantage of those 30-90 minutes. Use this time to replenish and reboot. When you take care of yourself, you have more to give to the people in your life and your career. Go for a walk in the park or around the block, relax near the water, journal, take a nap or bubble bath or work on a passion project. Whatever you do, make it ALL about you.
Akanke Adefunmi helps professional women shift from stress to success in their work-family-personal life. You are always invited to attend one of her free work-family-self balance webinars or join her monthly Working Moms Virtual Retreat. Follow her on Twitter, @Akanke_Adefunmi, Like her Facebook page, facebook.com/claimyourshero