Simple Ways To Put Yourself First

relaxation

Motherhood is amazing, but it’s also busy, a little crazy, and very often we forget how to balance the “me” with “we” (without feeling guilty or selfish)? Here are 10 simple ways to get back those few moments and put the most important person first – YOU:

1. Take 5. Sit down for just five minutes in peace and quiet. Splendour in the moment and take some calming breaths before returning to reality.

2. Prioritise sleep. This is a big one. Sometimes the dishes and clearing the table can get done in the morning. Getting sufficient shut eye is a restorative process to keep our bodies and brains working at their best.

3. Get social. No, I’m not talking about Instagram or Twitter – I’m talking face to face social! Make a regular time to meet up with your girlfriends without any kids to have lunch, see a movie, or go to an exercise class. Having a strong support network helps ease the stresses of life and ensures you get a good dose of laughter as you swap stories.

4. Exercise daily. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, it’s better than none at all. Being active is important for staying fit, but it also boosts your mood and energy. Some quick workout ideas include jump rope, resistance bands, or going for a walk after dinner to aid digestion.

5. Make your favourite meal. Always cooking what everyone else wants? Once a week cook something that you really want. Ensure there’s lots of vegetables or salad to keep it healthy and fresh – even in your baked goods (nobody will ever notice grated zucchini in chocolate cake!)

6. Have a arm bath. Sometimes all it takes is a little warm water to wash away the day. This is perfect to do before bed to help wind down.

7. Blast your favourite tunes. I do this when I’m cleaning or cooking and it’s great! Often the kids start dancing with me and we have a ball together.

8. Delegate. You can’t do everything by yourself. Learn what tasks you can delegate to others and be sure not to overcommit yourself. It’s ok to say “no” sometimes.

9. Laugh out loud. Watch a funny video, tell a silly joke, or share an amusing photo with a friend. Laughter really is the best medicine.

10. Sit and savour. Are you guilty of gobbling toast in the car or even skipping meals altogether? Well stop! Take the time to eat three meals mindfully each day. It will give you the energy for all that you need to do and prevent snacking on sugary treats because you’ve nourished your body properly.

How To Make Better Decisions

mother decisions

As a mother, I want the best for my brood, but sometimes that leads me to over thinking every single decision I have to make. It’s exhausting and I know it’s pointless, but sometimes I can’t help but get stuck in a spiral of second guessing my actions. To put an end to this, I’ve put together a little list that  helped me kick this habit and be confident in the choices I make

1. Follow your gut feeling

There are always endless options and possibilities. Although your friends and family may opt for one decision, it’s important to choose the one that feels fundamentally aligned with your values. I call this ‘a good gut feeling’ choice. I remember facing this situation when organising a birthday party for my son, and felt the pressure to serve common party foods, that I knew would hype him up. Of course I wanted to be seen as a ‘cool’ mum, but feeding the children better more natural foods and a lower sugar cake aligned better with my gut feelings, so that’s what I decided to do.

2. Done is better than perfect

Sometimes the thing that holds us back from making a choice or decision is a fear of failure. What if you do X, Y or Z, and it doesn’t work out exactly as you pictured it would? Most of the time these terrible situations never eventuate! Time is of the essence in all of our lives so once you’ve made a decision, don’t ponder about the possible outcomes. Just know that you’ve made the best decision you could have in the time available, and whatever will be will be. Done is better than perfect.

3. Use hindsight

We all learn from our past experiences, and usually more from the bad ones than good ones. However, the point isn’t to beat yourself up about what happened and feel guilty. Instead just note what you’d do differently next time and move on. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get it right so don’t dwell on the few times you might get it wrong.

Better Ways to Manage Your Time

time management

I must admit I love a good list, but sometimes writing tasks down just isn’t enough when it comes to getting things done on time. Adding more hours to the day would be the best solution, but seeing as that’s impossible, here are the best ways to stop the hours from slipping from your fingers.

  1. Find out where time escapes you

Keep a diary of every single thing you do for a week and how long each tasks takes you so you are forced to pay attention to where your time goes. Doing this for a week will be eye-opening, to say the least (I spend how long on Instagram every morning?). Once you find out where time escapes you, you may find you replace it with a more proactive task.

2. Pick your top three

Work is not finite, so creating an endless to do list will more likely overwhelm you than inspire you to be productive. Instead of thinking about the fifty things listed, pick the top three that are most important or critical. Take a less-is-more approach to your to-do list by only focusing on accomplishing things that matter. This allows you to devote more energy and focus into completing these tasks, than completing 10 task half-heartedly.

3. Pencil in white space

Back to back meetings with no breaks in between doesn’t leave any wiggle room if one runs overtime. To prevent this, try scheduling 45-minute meetings, but block out an hour in your diary. This way you can summarise what’s just happened, just a few emails if necessary, and prepare for the next item on your agenda.

4. Learn to say “no”

Learning to say no to people’s requests may be an obvious time management tip, but what we don’t always realise is that when we say yes too much, people also get disappointed because we can’t do our best when we’re spread too thin. That’s why it’s important to look at your priorities and only agree to the things you know you can accomplish. After all, it’s better to say no than over-promise and not deliver.

5. Master a morning ritual

Use your mornings to focus on yourself. For me, getting up around 5.00am means no kids yelling, no babies crying and no television noise. I truly relish that time of peace and the time to myself, when I can squeeze in either a 30-minute brisk walk, have breakfast and a cup of tea (whilst it’s still hot), and plan my day before I start looking after everyone else. Of course, our days vary quite a bit with activities, especially if you have kids, however making the most of the morning hours goes a long way toward a productive and relatively stress-free day.

Regardless of what time you wake, start your day out right by ignoring your emails and getting in a good breakfast, meditating, read the news, or working out. This will ensure you’ve got the necessary fuel for a productive day. Not convinced? See what a difference an extra 30 minutes can make to your morning.

Talkback: What time-management methods have helped you combine your career with an outside life?