A week is only 168 hours long. For the sake of the math (and a little humor), let’s assume that 68 hours are reserved for sleep and personal care. That leaves us with 100 hours. Then (again, for a good laugh), let’s subtract another 50 hours for work, commute, and a tiny bit of overtime.
Now we’re left with 50 hours for everything else — family, friends, chores, exercise, fun, and “me” time. That’s just not enough time, especially when most of us spend too much time working. No wonder we’re stressed!
If your life feels out of balance, please know that you’re not alone. Many women, especially working moms, are always juggling responsibilities — even when they’re trying to sleep! Here are 10 tips to help you find more time to do things that matter most. To start, pick one or two that apply to your biggest challenges. And always feel free to modify the suggestions to fit your life:
- Remember that no one has the perfect life. Give yourself permission not to strive for perfection, because “life” is an inexact science.
- Enlist a “substitute mom.” Form a pact with a trusted friend, neighbor, or co-worker to step in when one of you has to work late and can’t pick up your child from school or day care.
- Take MNO. Plan a “Moms Night Off” once every month or two (morning or afternoon works too!). Get together with a couple of other moms and do something relaxing for yourselves. You can also pool your resources and share a babysitter.
- Set — and reset — your priorities. Pick one goal each month in the areas of work, home, family, and personal. To help yourself stay on track, break down the tasks into achievable weekly milestones. The goal is not to try to do everything in every area of your life at one time.
- Make technology work for you. Get recommendations for time management apps. In the kitchen, join the modern pressure cooker trend. It cooks food quickly, and you can prepare entire dishes in one pot. Some even defrost ingredients, so you can start dinner when you get home and have it ready in an hour or so.
- Practice positive self-talk. When defeating thoughts start to roll around in your head, take a few minutes to breathe and remind yourself how fabulous you are! Don’t worry about sounding conceited — nobody can hear your thoughts! Here’s a self-talk worksheet to help you improve this habit.
- Plan for Plans B and C. Sometimes things won’t go according to the program. This is where the underappreciated skill called “flexibility” comes into play. Running late one morning? Give yourself permission to buy packaged lunch kits instead of making your children’s lunches from scratch.
- Set response times for emails and texts. Work with your employer to establish standards for responding to emails and text messages. Add the standards to your email signature so that contacts know when to expect your reply. And don’t be afraid to set different standards for night, weekend, and holiday response times.
- Reclaim your time. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes twice a day to tend to your needs — meditating, checking social media, walking around the building or neighborhood.
- Unplug. Your mind needs time to recharge and refocus. Turn off your phone or use the “Do Not Disturb” feature for a few hours or even one whole day each week.
Altering your routine and lifestyle to bring more balance into your life takes time. Just keep at it, exercising one tip at a time until you can see the forest for the trees again. And remember that Teladoc is available 24/7 to help with non-emergency medical needs that you and your family may have. Save time by checking out the app features such as our convenient pharmacy finder.