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Blog: Running around like a Headless Chicken : Keep your head in 3 easy steps

Ever had that draining pit in your stomach on a Sunday evening, because the week is starting in less than 12 hours and you do not know where to start?

Does not matter that we keep reading about the fast pace life we are leading, we do not even have time to make a list… How do I manage time in this busy life?

Often parents feel burned out and are not coping. There is not the time to function as a couple, forget about date nights! Work is demanding and keeping head above water financially can leave you drained and with no motivation.

It is a bit of a catch 22 situation. The reality is that you will safe time by making that list, and many other lists. Your mind is busy, take the time and plan ahead if you want to have a life with less stress.

1. Set clear goals for the month, then week and then every day.

This is an activity the whole family can part-take in. Sitting down over a cup of tea with a special treat perhaps, while the whole family brings their goals for the month. It is time for everyone to help and brain storm as to how and when everything is going to fit into everyone’s responsibilities for the month.

Children are always eager to take part in things like this and this will minimize the stress around assignments, tests, sport activities, etc. I also want to bet, that you will find that your children will actually be very willing to help if it means that you will have time to kick the ball with them.

You do not have to do everything for your family – there are many tasks around the house that everyone can help with. By doing this, our children learn to set goals and that goal setting, is not a dreaded concept that might lead to disappointment. They learn that tasks around the house is not the responsibility of one person and they will be better equipped for their future out in the big wide world.

Point out that everyone needs time off and schedule that in – if you do not take care of yourself, you are not going to master your goals and you are not going to be able to assist the rest of the team. In this case the family.

Once the “program” for the month is in black and white, it will make it easier on everyone not to over commit. You will quickly see if you can manage everything in the 24 hours of every day.

This “program” is not set in stone and life happens. Maybe have a quick check-in meeting somewhere during the week (even over dinner), only to check that everyone is still on track and that nothing important has come up that is going to have to be slotted in.

At this check-in meeting, cross off what has been accomplish. This will give everyone the motivation to continue and realize the advantage of planning or goal setting.

So many valuable lessons can be learned from this little action:

· Planning is important – with no planning comes stress.

· Time management is no longer a dreaded word.

· Children learn about and how to do tasks around the house.

· Children learn responsibility.

· We learn that it is important to take “self-care time”.

· The family get to spend time together.

· Everyone learns that they have a voice and they are important.

· Everyone learns how to handle conflict.

· Assignments, deadlines, etc are completed on time.

2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize – Say No

We all have heard about location, location, location when we want to buy a property.

Well, you are buying time in your life now – time is valuable. Our most expensive commodity. Why would you not be protective of that time?

The greatest threat to priority, is not wanting to disappoint anyone.

We exist in a world where we are conditioned not to want to disappoint anyone. At any cost to us. We always want to be available for our family and friends. We always want to help where we can, because we are so aware of how we all struggle. Finances are tight, people are sick and lonely, there might have been a loss in the family, we all over commit with sport and school activities.

I am not saying you cannot help, but if you have a sick friend, drop some food off during the week – from the extra food you cooked last night or over the weekend. Pop in for a quick 5 minutes chat. Draw a roster up with other friends and when it is your turn to change the sheets, go and do that. You do not have to vacuum as well. People are very willing to help, share the load.

Learn to say NO. No is a full sentence, you do not have to explain.

Speak up and say when you have time available and how much time you have available.

Only you can decide what is important in your life. Work or family first? Family meal or a family outing? A run or an afternoon in front of the TV. Does not matter what you chose, this is your life, this is your right to enjoy this life. BUT, know what is important to you.

3. Know Your “Reward” and allow each member of the family to know theirs.

We load our stress, by not allowing ourselves some well deserved rewards. Instead we sit zombie like in front of the TV, so as not to be aware of what we miss out on and then not doing what we is our responsibility.

What do we gain from knowing our "reward"?

The interesting fact is that if you feel validated, you do so much more. Nobody is going to reward you, you have to do it yourself. Feeling better about yourself, let's you pick yourself up and you are more productive.

Simply, it gives us the energy to face every day, it lifts our spirits and we have a different outlook on life. We function better, we are more motivated and we fill our lives less and less with mindless activities and therefore accomplish so much more in a day.

But what is my rewards?

By being everything, and doing everything for everyone else, we lose ourselves. We neglect ourselves and stress starts building. We fill our days with things that gives us no joy, but we feel validated because we did not say no.

Sit down and make a list of the top 7 priorities in your life.

Every evening, sit down and notice which things gave you the greatest pleasure that day. This will give you a good indication of what your priorities are. Re-visit your list a week later and see if you still feel that it is your top 7 priorities.

Here are a few examples:

· Taking the dogs for a walk.

· Taking the children for an ice cream.

· Cooking supper together.

· Reading time during the commute to work – if you use the train or are part of a lift-club.

· You really enjoy your job.

· A lovely bath at the end of the week or the start of the week.

· Quiet time before you jump out of bed in the morning.

· Having a cup of tea out in the garden before you start the day, or when you get home in the evening.

· Visiting a friend or joining a club.

Once you have your top 7, make sure you work them into your program for the week, keeping in mind your responsibilities. And responsibilities are responsibilities – not favours, not keeping friends happy. Guilt is not a responsibility. Do this for a month, re-evaluate and find your “happy list”.

In this process you teach your children, from an early age, that they count, that they have value and therefore their joy needs to be acknowledged by them.

Happiness is a job done well on the inside so you can stand tall in the wider world.

We have forgotten that our time is our most valuable commodity. Time lost will never come back.

Knowing your program for the month ahead, saying no and finding what sustains you, will give you motivation to maximize your 24 hours and find the extra hours you need in a day.

We do not have to live BIG to be BIG and be NOTICED.

Very often the smallest change leads to the biggest gain.

Sue Leppan

Transformation Life Coach

NLP Practitioner

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