Julia is a single mother of teenage twins. After being made redundant recently she now has to do two jobs and run a part-time business to make ends meet and her stress levels are at an all-time high.
We arranged for her to have a MyFamilyClub Time Makeover with Michael Heppell, our success coach and best-selling author of How to Save an Hour Every Day. Here’s what he found and the advice he gave Julia to save valuable time and reduce her levels of stress.
No time to unwind
I talked to Julia at 7pm on a Friday evening. The call had been re-scheduled twice as she was delayed at work and had forgotten she was driving one of the twins to a friend’s house.
For the first 20 minutes an exasperated Julia described her life to me. She doesn’t want to let anyone down so like millions of mums she finds herself saying yes to everything. Plus, as a strong woman, she doesn’t want to be seen as not coping. Her health has undoubtedly been affected by the stress levels she faces, manifesting in a frozen shoulder.
To top it all, her teenage children (15) seem to think Mum should be at their beck and call. I gave Julia five simple and clear instructions which she had to follow through.
1. Get a friend to help with the business
Julia runs a club for single over 35’s to get together and have fun. The pressure of finding new venues and activities was just too much. I asked Julia if she could think of a loyal member of the group who could look after alternate weeks. When you feel overwhelmed, ask for help.
2. Block off some “me time”
Find three hours a week (in a block) to do something just for herself. This feels like a big ask when there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything, so I encouraged Julia to think about it as an important appointment. She would never let a client down so why let yourself down? Once she had decided on the time and day I asked her to enter it into her diary. You’re more likely to do something which is written down.
3. See an osteopath!
See an osteopath or chiropractor for her shoulder. Julia was waiting for an appointment with a specialist so she could have surgery! For me an operation would be a last resort. Wouldn’t you rather have 20 minutes with an osteopath than a general anaesthetic, two days in hospital and four weeks with your arm in a sling?
4. Make a Must Do list
Julia loves lists. The problem is getting through them. I suggested she dump the To Do List and replaced it with a Must Do List of just five important things to do each day.
5. Get the kids to help
During our conversation Julia mentioned that “sometimes she didn’t even have time to empty the dishwasher”. With 15 year-old twins in the house my alarm bells rang. It turns out that the kids are doing very little to contribute at home. My suggestion was to find ten jobs, from emptying bins to vacuuming and have a family meeting. Let them each choose four tasks, leaving two for Julia. The reason for leaving two tasks is that teens love to think they have won! It may cause some battles at first, but it’s good for them and vital for Julia.
After one week following Michael’s advice here’s what Julia said.
“I’ve had an amazing and surprisingly emotional week. I did cheat a couple of times with my five most important things but that’s OK as I’m getting more of the important things done.
“I found three hours for me on Sunday afternoon and just watched TV – bliss. The twins have stepped up but I need to do a little more there so a family meeting has been scheduled.
“My club member jumped at the chance to organise events and she has two in the pipeline already! However seeing Fiona the Osteopath was amazing. This is something just for me and I deserve it.”
Do you feel pulled in too many directions, and feel you never have the time to properly dedicate to your family, work or personal life? We can arrange for Michael Heppell to take a look into the mechanics of your days and build your own personalised tips. For a free Time Makeover, simply email us on [email protected] and tell us why you need this Makeover!
Michael Heppell is a “success coach”, and an expert in organisation and time management. With a style described as “shot-gunning a bucket of espresso”, Michael works with individuals, multi-national corporations and everything in between. His books – the most recent of which is How To Save An Hour Every Day – have been translated into 18 languages.