As a kid I LOVED ‘Days of our lives’. Hazy sick days, faking a fever days and school holidays would see me glued to the midday TV trying to catch a glimpse of what it would be like to be a grown up.
What exciting times lay ahead of me. Love triangles, kidnapping, and amnesia. So many triumphs, so much tragedy, so much hair!
As it turns the only similarity to adult life and ‘Days of our Lives’ was the v/o right before the flute at the opening of every show.
‘Like sand through the hour glass so are the days of our lives’
Through my easy breezy 20’s and even early 30’s time didn’t sit so close. I was aware it was there but it was more theoretical than anything else. In fact, it wasn’t until my daughter was born that time suddenly felt like it had me in a vice. As self-help book addicted pregnant person, I was fully prepared for the emotional highs and lows and the sleepless nights of motherhood. But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for and that completely blindsided me was the evaporation of time. A feeling that the months and years were slipping away at great speed and all against a backdrop of a messy house, hairy legs and a diminishing bank account.
After a few years of feeling like I was living life like a helpless sock on a spin cycle, I decided I must get some control over this bully called ‘Time’. I would master it and it would live by MY RULES.
As with most things great, my new resolve started with a big piece of paper. I mapped out all the things that were important to me, in order. Unsurprisingly the top one was family and running second was earning a decent income. Third but still important was my sanity (clean house, healthy food, exercise and friends).
I’d like to say I then crafted my life overnight and beat Time in a big showdown in the middle of the playground but it has been an ever evolving process. 4 years out from the strategy session with myself here’s my top tips on how to put Time in its place.
Start your own business
Grab all the skills you have and start a business that enables you to run your life on your terms. It’s scary, hard and challenging but it can give you the flexibility that you just can’t get working for someone else. It’s still not perfect and it’s still stressful but it gives you a way to manage 13 weeks of school holidays a year and a school day that ends 2 hours before any business closes. It also means you can see your kids and still have a fulfilling career.
Hire a cleaner or 2!
When I was small I had a thing for Bobby from the Brady Bunch, now I have a thing for Alice. That wonderful, wonderful woman who made it possible for Mrs Brady to be all rosy cheeks and smiles. She cooked, she cleaned and she always had a wise word for Cindy or Jan when they needed it. Alice is not a real person unfortunately or for at least someone on my income but I’ve tried to find people that at least can support in that area. I have a full on surface cleaner every fortnight and lovely Linda who comes for 2 hours every week to change the sheets, fold the washing and give everything a bit of a touch-up.
Buying a diary and every morning blocking out how you will spend your day has increased my productivity by 50%. Being one of the least mindful people I know, time blocking the hours with my kids helps me stay focused on them rather than what’s going on in the office.
Get shopping delivered
I can spend 15 min per week shopping or 2 hours. I’ll take the 15 mins.
Go to bed early, get up early
This one took me a while to get a handle on and it’s really only possible once kids start sleeping better but it’s a life changer. Week nights I go to bed at 9pm, read for a bit and then wake up at 5.30am. Before the kids wake up I’ve exercised and meditated. Hello sanity!
Have ‘Kids dinners’
As my friends can attest I’m not one to shy away from champas and dancing. It’s just it means babysitters and being half present the next day while nursing a hang over. So whenever I can wangle it my favorite way to catch up with friends is ‘kids dinners’. Starting at 3pm, ending at 7.30pm. Or even better hiring a house and all spending the weekend together. You get to spend time with your favourite grown ups, the kids have a great time. It’s all sunshine and rainbows.
Exercise with children
Now this only works with older kids, one of my least favorite activities is trying to get in a power walk with a 2-year-old in a pram that doesn’t want to be there. An hour of basketball, chasy, races is great bonding but also lets you tick your exercise box for the day.
Other people’s children can be little entertainment factories. The amount of stuff I’ve got done while my kids play blissfully with other kids is amazing.
Marie Kondo is crazy lady ‘folding socks in little snails’ Really!!! She is also a genius. Marie Kondo-ing my house (which is a little up and down) saves a whole lot ‘where the fruit is it’ time.
One meat, one vegetable or make in bulk, freeze, freeze, freeze. I am a horrible cook. So my husband who is as good as I am bad, makes a massive batch of meals every month and we freeze them so beep beep beep and there’s dinner.
Now this isn’t one I’ve ever done but an old boss of mine who is the epitome of glamour used to schedule time with a Department Store Personal Shopper every season and spend 2 hours in a change room while the shopper sent in clothes to suit her colour, body shape and tastes for free!
Get your car cleaned when you go to the movies
Every time I get the car cleaned I vow my children will never eat McDonalds chips in it again. But as I have the resolve of a goldfish I combine a fun family activity with a time saving and sanity making one. Happy kids, clean car, happy head.
Whilst I still have an unhealthy longing to be a 65 year old retiree, I feel I have somewhat mastered the unwieldy and unforgiving thing that is Time……..at least today.
About Your Guest Blogger: Jodi Gaylard is the Co-owner of Digital Marketing Agency specialising in B2B Tech. Master juggler of 2 kids, marketing staff, writers, designers, developers. Can be opinionated. Try to outsource everything but my kids www.therevery.com.au