This post is part of a Working Mom series run by The Corporate Sister in honor of Mother’ Day.
Listen, if there ever were the equivalent of “Alcoholic Anonymous” for Chronically Late Working Moms, I’d be right there. On the front row, with that “guilty as charged” look all over my late face….Or I’d probably be running late to my “Chronically Late Anonymous” meeting too, trying to make up plausible excuses for being late to the late people meeting…All around too little too late…
To be honest, motherhood didn’t really saddle me with my Chronically Late Syndrome. There was simply a transfer from horribly late teen, to seriously behind college student, to young women addicted to being late. And now, I was that mom who begged the school superintendent to spare her kids yet another late ticket because after all, the bell only rang 10 minutes ago…
As much as my case may warrant professional treatment, I’m far from being alone. Ask any working mom around if there’s one thing she’ll trade her favorite pair of heels, ice cream flavor and most flattering bra for, and you’ll most likely hear: Time! You know, that precious commodity that becomes even more precious than money or anti-aging cream after you give birth to one or a few little humans who seem to require all your extra time and energy.
I never thought I’d ever say I’d rather have extra time than my very own, very lavish personal shoe closet a la Carrie Bradshaw. But when you have to beg for a few minutes of silence as you focus on your bodily functions while sitting on the throne in the unwelcome company of little people asking for snacks, you know how crucial time is…
After losing, wasting, and crying over spilled milk time over and over again (plus more than my share of missed doctors’ appointments, late fees and other time-related annoyances), I had to bow down to the gods of time management. After too many silently condemning looks from the kids’ teachers after we officially beat the lateness record for the entire grade, rushing out to the car without the car keys, and running so late I forgot about the buttons on my buttoned-down shirt, I decided it may be time for a change.
So for all my fellow Chronically Late Working Moms, or if you just want more time to hear your thoughts, here are some ways to actually create more time out of our busy schedules:
Screw your to-do list!
I know, this is a process, like getting over the fact we’ll never marry Denzel or have Gabrielle Union’s perfect skin! I was so conditioned to making to-do lists I started turning the kids into lists of deliverables with specific deadlines…There’s just something about laying down all these mini-goals and crossing them off the page with a loud sigh of victory and a delish chocolate reward…
But really, all these lists do is stress the heck out of us, taking us even further from Gabrielle Union’s perfect skin, so let’s ditch the to-do list! Besides, there’s always something to add to the list, which ends us never ending anyways.
That’s where the “Urgent/Not Urgent’ system comes in. Translation: if it’s not life-changing, life-altering, or doesn’t violate any law, it isn’t urgent and can wait.
Too simplistic! Maybe, but it at least allows you to sort in between what must be done now and what, like that pile of laundry from last Tuesday, can wait…
Use the 80/20 rule
Ever heard about the 80/20 rule? Aka the Pareto principle? This seemingly complex concept only states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our work. Just like 80% of the world’s wealth is distributed among 20% of the population…Now it’s just a matter of finding them and marrying them, but I digress…
So ask yourself this question: “ What’s the #1 thing you can do that will have the most impact?”
Ok, do that first.
Then what’s the #2 thing you can do with the most impact. Then do that next.
As a general rule, start with the toughest task. Some may argue that it’s pretty discouraging, but at the same time, it allows for more progress and peace of mind. How’s that for efficiency?
Invest in rest and exercise
Ok, I have to admit, I’m the first one to which this rule applies. When it comes to rest and exercise, I’m a case study in need for improvement to happen.
But here’s the thing, the same way you invest your money in stocks, bonds or real estate, investing your money in actually taking care of that body and mind of yours can reap the best rewards over time. And no, I’m not talking about investing your haard-earned cash on the latest waterproof mascara and HD foundation at Sephora. Although, you know…
So I’m learning to actually set aside time for rest (think: go to bed early instead of watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta on repeat, so you can get up early), and exercise. The more you put in, the more you reap in terms of energy, clarity, and efficiency. Which also means the more you can do with your time…
You’ve heard this before: “No is a complete sentence”. Some folks will never get it, but you actually don’t have to save the world, answer every phone call, and text everyone back. You can just say “No”, and save yourself some time to invest in YOU. Yup, just like that…
So tell me, how will you be creating more time as a working mom?
To Your Success,
The Corporate Sis.