We’re all expected to have stellar careers, raise kids, make Instagram-worthy meals, keep the house spotless and stay in shape all while looking flawless and making it look effortless. It’s exhausting and nearly impossible to find the time to do it all. Realistically, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
Prioritizing is key to actually living a life that you enjoy. We don’t need to do everything perfectly and effective multi-tasking is a myth. Here are some life-changing tips to make things a little easier on yourself and spend your time productively rather than just being needlessly busy.
Check your time
Look at your week and add up how much time you spend doing common tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry. Then think about if the number of hours you spend doing those things is reflective of how important they are to your life.
Also consider how much time you’re doing needless things on your phone. How many notifications do you get in a day that aren’t actually important to you, but take time to read? Try downloading the app Moment to help you with that. The app monitors how you use your phone and how much time you spend doing what on it. Get ready for some eye-opening results.
Outsource what you can
And don’t feel guilty about it. As long as you can fit it in your budget. If you tally up how much time you spend cooking in the week and you just can’t justify it, buy pre-cooked dinners or eat out more. If you can’t find the time to clean the house regularly, hire a cleaning service. You can’t possibly do everything, so outsource the tasks you can.
Learn to live with the messiness of life
Sometimes you just have to let something go. The kitchen isn’t always going to be clean before you go to bed. The laundry isn’t always going to be done. You might not have time to vacuum this month. It’s okay. Learn to look at the mess around you and accept that there were just more important things to do this week.
Set aside ‘me time’
Yes, seriously. Set aside one to three hours a day to do things that make you happy or help you better yourself. The time doesn’t have to be consecutive: maybe you take an hour in the morning and two hours at night. Just make sure you’re taking the time to do things for yourself so you don’t burn out trying to please everyone else.
Learn to delegate
If you don’t live alone, there’s at least one other person who should be sharing the load of the household with you. Your partner should be doing half the housework in general, but if they’re not, don’t be afraid to tell them you need help carrying the load. If you run around picking up after everyone, you’ll be stuck doing that forever. Delegate certain chores and family tasks like getting the car oil changed or taking the kids to the dentist.
Stop trying to please everyone
We often suffer from the feeling that we have to solve other people’s problems for them. You don’t always have to do that. Just say ‘no.’ We know that can be difficult, but sociologist and author Professor Maja has some good advice on the matter. She says: ‘When you say yes to somebody else, it’s is a no to you.’ While following that advice all the time could make for a pretty selfish society, you do need to think about yourself when you agree to do things for others. Do you have the time? Do you have the funds? Do you even want to? If your answer to any of those questions is ‘no,’ then your answer should be ‘no.’
Share invisible labour
Invisible or emotional labour is all the things that aren’t tangible but still take up your time or energy. When you have to sign school forms or write a thank-you note or comfort a crying child, you’re expending emotional labour. And it can be exhausting. Like the household chores, let your partner know that they need to share that burden with you.
Cut yourself some slack
Don’t get down on yourself for not getting everything done or not being perfect at everything you attempt. Remember that it takes time and commitment to foster good habits so you need to give yourself time and room to fail. It’s okay. It’s healthy.
Do one thing at a time
Life changes don’t happen overnight and just one could really drain you. If you want to change something big like going vegetarian or adopting a pet or starting a new job, don’t do more than one of those things at once if you can help it. Sometimes life happens and you have to deal with multiple big changes at once, but do yourself a favour and avoid that, if at all possible.
Remember: multitasking just means you’re doing a lot of things poorly. Commit yourself and get really good at one thing first.