If you never have enough time to do all the things you want, it probably means you’re not managing your time properly – or you’re doing too much! Rushing around can leave you feeling stressed, unhappy and unfulfilled.
But by making a few simple changes you can give your lifestyle a thorough spring clean. Here’s how…
Make a list
First of all, work out how you spend your day. Be strict and write down exactly how long you spend on each task.
If, for instance, you spend 40 minutes changing outfits in the morning because you feel too fat and frumpy – write it down. This will help you evaluate where you’re wasting time.
At the end of the week, add up how much time you’ve spent on each task – such as household chores, looking after the kids etc. Make sure you factor in socialising and relaxation as these are a relevant part of your lifestyle too.
Next, rate these activities in terms of how necessary they are and how much you enjoy doing them. If you find there are things on your list which are neither necessary nor enjoyable – ditch them!
Now try to restore some balance by planning how much time you’d like to spend on each remaining activity. Be strict and stick to it. Sticking to a timetable may sound military, but it will help you to kick bad habits.
Ask for help
If you’re struggling to get everything done, it may be because you simply have too much on your plate.
Perhaps you could ask friends to take the kids to school a couple of days a week, or assign household tasks to the children or your partner?
If a relative asks if there’s anything they can do, take them up on the offer.
Just say no
Don’t be afraid to say no to other people. It’s easy to say you’ll give up some free time to do an extra job at work or help out a friend. But don’t feel duty-bound to help others. It’s important to look after your own needs.
If you’re too busy to help, tell people. If you give them enough advance warning, they’ll be in a position to seek help elsewhere.
Be ruthless with your acquaintances. If you make time to see someone you no longer like or have little in common with because you feel guilty, make an excuse – your time is too precious.
Save time on errands by doing as much online as you can. The supermarket shop, keeping in touch with friends and family and visits to the bank can all be cut out of your schedule by using online facilities.
Cut housework down to the bare minimum unless you have visitors to stay – as long as the kids are clean, fed and have clothes to wear, they’ll cope with some mess.
Look for ways to labour save and work out if you can afford gadgets second-hand to help you with certain tasks, or if you can get in some paid help. A better washing-machine, a dishwasher, or a faster computer could be worth their weight in gold in terms of time saved.
See if you can cut down the amount of hours you work or work more flexibly. Although you may be worse off, balance this against any transport or childcare costs.
Finish what you’ve started
Give yourself an allotted time to complete a task and then get to it. Don’t try to multi-task too much, you’ll only stress yourself out.
And don’t procrastinate and put off doing something because it feels too daunting. In the time you’ve wasted worrying and fretting, you could probably have got the task done.