Recently, Thrive Global reached out to Pure Public Relations’ founder Phoebe Netto to find out how we can create more space in our lives, to allow for more quality time with our children. Here, Phoebe shares five key strategies to keep your various plates spinning.
Firstly, set boundaries, including for yourself. Manage expectations for your availability and plan for times when you don’t need to be contacted by having alternative arrangements in place. You can then feel reassured that people won’t be inconvenienced, and you can be fully engaged in what you are doing at that moment.
While you might think that having an 100% open-door policy or always being available is the right thing to do, in reality you’re only opening the door to becoming a more stressed and distracted person. By learning when to shut your door or put on the ‘out of office’ auto-reply, you’re actually being more helpful to those who need your time, because you’ll be more engaged and alert when you do finally engage with them.
Know when you work best and maximise that time. Some people, myself included, work best first thing in the morning. I can recognise that in myself, and so plan my schedule and my day around it. Others work best at night, and so should block out a few hours in the evening after the family has settled down.
If you’re not sure when you work best, try to notice the times of the day when your work rate slows, you feel sluggish, you are prone to distraction, and you start reaching for the chocolate biscuits. This probably isn’t the best time to start that important thought leadership article or strategy work. Instead, save it for when you’re feeling fresh and ready to take on the challenge.
Don’t underestimate 30 minutes. When time is in short supply, it’s easy to fall back on the old excuse of ‘I just don’t have enough time.’ But in 30 minutes or less, you can plan a to-do list and delegate in a way that stops you feeling overwhelmed about what is on your plate. In around 30 minutes you can get a healthy meal in the oven or pressure cooker and engage in quality time with your children without standing at the stove. In 30 minutes you can do something with your child that is meaningful to them. In 30 minutes you can treat yourself to some technology-free time that gives you a boost.
Know which balls you can drop. You have many balls in the air, but know that while it is a (sometimes anxious) juggle, some of those balls are made of glass and need to be treated differently, and others can be dropped. Trying to tightly hold onto every single one is only going to end in disaster.
Delegate well and plan ahead. This looks different for everyone, and you might want to keep some mundane jobs because they are important to you or you find them fulfilling. But otherwise, if someone can do something as well as you or better than you, consider if you can afford to outsource it.
It is likely that you would make more money than you save, and if it is the difference between you being able to enjoy time with your family or feeling too overwhelmed to give that time or not be stressed as you do it, then it is important to delegate.
We all live in a world filled with deadlines and constant demands on our time and attention. It’s our job to realise which ones to listen to, and which ones we should ignore.