Chances are, if you work, run a business, run a household or have kids, your life is one big, crazy, busy place – even more so if you’re juggling all four at the same time. And if you’re a woman it’s highly likely that you are far busier than your male partner: a study showed that on average, women spend 17 hours a week on housework compared to men, who opt for the easy life and do just under 6 hours per week.
And that data doesn’t even include any child rearing requirements!
If you’re constantly exhausted, never complete your To Do List and sometimes hide in bed on Sunday mornings as you can’t face the chores that lie ahead of you, here is some sound advice on how to stop running yourself ragged.
1) The Kids
Assuming your kids are beyond pre-school, get them to help with basic chores. If they get used to helping around the house when they are 6 plus they’ll find it completely normal. Choose simple tasks appropriate for their age. A 6 year old can be told they have to put their toys away at the end of each day; a 10 year old can unload the dishwasher; a 15 year old can do just about everything that you can.
The alternative is of course to do every little thing yourself – but don’t settle for that. Ensure your children appreciate all the household tasks that need to be done, and to realise you’re not there to wait on them hand and foot. If there is a little reluctance at first, explain that a tired parent is a grumpy one who is less likely to have energy for a trip to the park / football field / a day out, and they will soon start to see the benefit of pitching in.
2) The Male Partner
Depending on the mental age of your partner, simply tailor the advice in section 1 to suit them.
3) In The Kitchen
Cooking an evening meal each day can be time consuming. There’s the shopping, the prep, the eating, the clearing away. So be savvy with your time.
Do your supermarket shop online and sit back and wait for it to be delivered to your door. Big brands who offer this service include:
Amazon Pantry (for Amazon Prime members) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/pantry/info
Create big batches of meals that can then be frozen for another day. Cook quick meals that are still nutritious – omelettes with baked beans can be whipped up in no time at all and deliver a high protein punch for growing kids. Sign up to Hello Fresh – a fabulous invention which takes all the hassle out of meal planning and shopping, and you get to eat wholesome, tasty food.
Get the kids involved in cooking – most love to get their hands dirty in the kitchen and you’ll be training them up so that once they hit their teens, they’ll be able to cook some basic meals for the whole family.
And finally once the meal is over, make it a rule that everyone helps with the clear-up.
4) Cleaning The Home
Many busy folk struggle to find time to clean the home properly. According to a discussion on mumsnet, women are spending around 2-6 hours per week simply cleaning the house.
Have you got that time to spare? Wouldn’t it be preferable to outsource your cleaning to someone else, so you can actually relax a little in the evenings and weekends, rather than donning rubber gloves and scrubbing the loo? Unless you find house cleaning relaxing and therapeutic, use a cleaning service so you can free up your time for things more important to you.
There are plenty of online companies where you can source a cleaner for your home. For example:
5) At Work
If you work full time, the biggest chunk of your day will be spent at there. So make sure you work effectively without getting burnt out:
Don’t agree to deadlines that are going to be hard to achieve – and will result in rocketing stress levels. Your boss may genuinely not realise how long a task is going to take you. So be firm, be realistic and explain to your boss why you’ll need another day/week to complete the task s/he expects to be finished yesterday.
Don’t take on work that a colleague should be doing. We all know the colleague who appears to do so much but in fact has an uncanny ability to off load their work to over helpful colleagues. They may use flattery, “You’re so much better at Excel than me – can you just go through this spreadsheet and check my calculations?”. Or a bit of begging, “The boss wants this report on his desk this afternoon and I’ve got all this other urgent stuff. Can you just tidy it up a bit for me?” The end result of helping this colleague is that a) you increase your workload b) you never get credit for what you’ve done c) you may miss your own deadlines and d) you feel stressed and resentful.
If you manage staff, delegate effectively to them. Provide clear instruction on what they need to do, check they understand and agree a date when they’ll have the work completed. Then leave them to get on with it – no interfering, no hassling and no continual requests for updates.
Stop being a perfectionist. If you’re finalising a report, stop agonising over word choice – “should I use ‘worrying’ or ‘concerning’ in the conclusion?; “when should I use ‘whilst’ and ‘while'”?. So long as the report is well written, grammatically correct and nicely laid out it’s good to go, and you can get on with your next task.
Stop being an over-controller. Some bosses have staff, but they don’t really like delegating to them – they’d much prefer to do the work themselves because really, they don’t trust anyone else to do it properly. If that’s you, stop it! You have staff to ease your work load, so use them wisely. Learn the art of delegation and see it as a way of developing your staff in their role. Perhaps the first piece of work they provide is below your high standards; but by teaching them how to improve (in a tactful and reassuring way), they’ll feel motivated to do better next time and you’ll eventually have a team member who can work autonomously, giving you the freedom to concentrate on your own job.
If you’re serious about creating more time in your life to do the things you want to, and to stop running yourself ragged, try out the tips above – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
If you’re interested in outsourcing even more tasks to external help, then read our article about Concierge Services which provide virtual helpers to do almost any task you need completing.
About the Author
Michelle has worked as a traditional and digital marketer for the past 8 years. Prior to that she had a varied career, firstly qualifying as a pharmacist, completing a PhD and working in the field of Quality Assurance. Then she upped sticks and moved to sunny Portugal, and worked in an operational role as Leisure Area Manager for a large resort company.
She was drawn to marketing and has never looked back. Her fine eye for detail, scientific background, experience of managing teams and dealing directly with customers has given her an unusual all-round view of the workplace. She shares her opinions on success in life and the workplace in her blogs for Sophisticated Savers. We hope you enjoy them!