Mamas in the Western world always seem to be on the hunt for extra time. We have jobs to perform, meals to make, kids to play with, homes to clean, meetings to attend, and much more.
Inevitably the hours in the day do not equal the items on the to-do list. Is it any wonder that we're overwhelmed and undernourished? That our souls ache with the busy-ness of it all? That motherhood is less joyful and more burdensome with each passing day?
But there is a time management tip that will help if we can just accept it:
Almost everything is negotiable. Most things are not quite as essential as we imagine them to be.
I heard my virtual friend and mentor Rachel DeMille allude to this once in a talk she gave about Leadership Education. A health crisis combined with burnout sent her into a freefall, and when her eight children ended up in the care of others more than they were in her care she finally realized she was serving no one well with her efforts to serve everyone perfectly.
By trying to do it all we end up doing less--and we hurt ourselves and our loved ones along the way. If you had an emergency arise, what would remain in your day and what would you have to let go of? Those are your negotiables--and they are negotiable now, before the emergency rises (and perhaps to prevent it!).
I came to this conclusion recently myself, as I shared with you in this post on avoiding burnout. With my writing obligations on top of my family obligations, as well as a house move coming up soon, I knew that something needed to give. But everything on my list seemed so valid, so important.
The book Tell Your Time by Amy Lynn Andrews finally led me to the conclusion that writing less here at Steady Mom during this upcoming season was the way to live free and add margin to my day.
Amy suggests dividing up your tasks and goals into two categories: nonnegotiables and negotiables. Within those two, you break your activities down into those that happen at a fixed time (like an out-of-the-home job) and those that happen at a flexible time you determine (like when you choose to sleep.)
When I did this I saw that my writing at Steady Mom falls into my negotiable/flexible quadrant--meaning I can let go of it during this short season while I focus on long-term growth in other areas.
Letting go of these "essentials," which are actually non-essentials, frees up the time we need to pursue our core priorities and dreams as women, mothers, and families.
“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”
~ Peter F. Drucker