Making more time for what you want to do
My name is Kim Constable and I am mum to Corey six, Kai four, Maya two and Jack five months. I am also a Managing Director of The Rainbow Garden, a multilingual children’s company and founder and CEO of an online association for women, which is launching in three months. Up until a year ago I was stay-at-home mum to my then three young children.
Like a lot of mums, I had frequently thought how nice it would be to work for myself, earn my own income and keep my own hours. However, I barely had time to have a shower in the morning, never mind start a new business. Transitioning from being a full-time mum to a full-time mum at work was a steady process that required much failure until I got it right.
In the beginning I worked hard at the business, attacking it with so much gusto and determination that other areas of my life started to suffer. Although supportive of me, my husband complained that he never saw me any more. Quite often I didn’t have time to cook dinner so had to either order in or pick up something pre-prepared to put in the oven. My kids and I used to spend quality time together every day, but now I was so preoccupied when I was with them that our time together wasn’t as special as it used to be. Worse still, I started to feel guilty all the time and got angry when my husband suggested that I wasn’t coping very well, and took his criticism as him telling me I was failing.
Yet in a lot of ways I was. I had taken on this new business to make my family life better, but instead it seemed to be getting worse! One day I realised that something had to give. I couldn’t go on the way I was going, but yet I wasn’t prepared to give up. So rather than fall flat on my face, I decided to take action.
I gave myself one week “off” to evaluate all the aspects of my life and implement new systems. I realised that the biggest part of my failure had been to start the business “blind”, so to speak. I had never proactively planned my home life before; it had just happened organically as I had more children and took on more responsibility. When I started focusing my time in a new area, the other areas began to suffer. I hadn’t mindfully set the system up so I didn’t know how to tweak it to accommodate the change.
When I took control an amazing thing happened: I suddenly found I had more time and all I had done was make a few simple changes to my concept of time management. I took apart my current system, oiled all the components and put it back together again. Not only did I begin to accomplish more every day, I found that I had more time than I needed to get things done. Step by step I built a strong team around me so I could focus on the things that would best serve my business and my family.
In fact my system has worked so well that I have had another baby and started another new company! Everyone is happy and thriving and I feel content. And really, what matters more than that anyway?
Try these seven strategies to reorganise your time and your life:
1.What is your time worth?
In order to know how to use your time you need to first figure out what it is worth. Is your time worth minimum wage or much more? How much of your daily grind could you outsource? Where could you find an extra hour or two?
2.Where is your time going?
In order to find more time, you need to know how you spend it. Keep a diary for a day that records how you spent your time every thirty minutes from when you get up until you go to sleep. You’ll be amazed at where your time goes when you’re not mindful.
3.What do you want to do with your extra time?
It’s important to know why you want more time. If you don’t know how you’re going to use it, you won’t be motivated to go after it. Make a list of five things you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time.
4.Organise your time.
Buy a page per day diary and start to use it. Break down the five things from the list above into simple steps, and schedule them into your diary at a time that is convenient to do them. Put the most important things on top and do them first.
5.Systems and processes.
How could you streamline your current situation? Where could you create a system to save time? Create a running list of weekly to do’s and do them when you have time. For example, if your kids swim every Wednesday, don’t wait until Wednesday to pack the bag. Instead do it when you find you have ten minutes free, on a Sunday perhaps. Even better, create a bag just for swimming and replace the towels and costumes as soon as they are washed and dry. Hang it in a place that is easily accessible.
Make time to sit down with your loved ones and get agreements on how much of your time they would like. What would each require to feel that their relationship with you was healthy and thriving? You may find it’s not as much as you expect! Plan a date night with your significant other at least once every two weeks. You’re more likely to stick to it if it’s not every week. Plan three 30-minute sessions per week with your kids. If you give them your undivided attention for this time you should find it’s more than enough.
7.Cherish your moments
If you want to have more time, then stay present. Your awareness of time will expand if you stop worrying about the future and appreciate what it happening right now. You will be happier, more content and build richer memories that will last you a lifetime.
Check out Kim's blog here.