Note: The following is the final part of a 3 part series aimed to help better manage a busy parent’s days. The full series includes: Step 1: Prioritize, followed by Step 2: Find Time. If you haven’t read Step 1, please start here.
I’ve always been a list maker. I used to make lists merely for the satisfaction of being able to cross something off of it. However, since becoming a multitasking momma of three, my lists are way more then just symbolic of my accomplishments. Most times …
I need my lists.
Things get lost if they aren’t on “the list”. Things fall off my plate, roll under the table and are eaten by my dog – never to be thought of again (until someone kindly reminds me of my forgotten task) if a duty inadvertently doesn’t make “the list”.
I’ll admit, sometimes just looking at “the list” can make me panic. And it is during these weeks – the weeks when I am overcome with anxiety and when my to-do lists seems a mile long – where (I’m not going to lie) Step 2: Finding Time in my 3 step guide feels like a joke.
This is about the point when I need to take a step backwards and remember Step 1: Prioritize and only then move forward with Step 3.
Step 3: Locate Solutions within Limits
When a to-do list looks too long, the most important part of this 3 step process is NOT to revert back to the days of sulking and despair and oh-woe-is-me self pity. Well, OK. Maybe take a few
hours minutes to sulk – sometimes you need that… BUT, remember that you need to find a solution, and that solutions don’t always need to solve a problem.
That may sound crazy. How do you find a solution without solving the problem? Sometimes, when met with a work-life crisis, a solution is simply to deal with a problem.
- Look back at Step 1. What are your priorities?
- Tackle Step 2. Find as much time as possible (which occasionally means tapping into your Flexible/Me time).
- But remember Step 3 and understand and respect your limits.
Time, although able to be found, cannot be captured and changed. There are only 24 hours in the day to work with (for a good reason).
The best part of this 3-step system is that you’ve already determined your time availability. You know what you are capable of, where your time should be spent, and also that you have priorities.
Don’t. Forget. Your priorities.
Dealing with a Scheduling Overload
This is what I suggest trying to do when a “scheduling emergency” takes place.
1. Utilize “reserve time” and communicate with others.
When you need to access time that you’ve previously earmarked to family or other things – make sure your spouse and family members know this. This may seem obvious, but sometimes
in hindsight of course I’ve found that I try to keep my stresses all to myself. When you don’t tell loved ones what you’re going through, there is no possible way for them to understand AND help. Keep everyone in the loop and most times they will bend over backwards to support you. Which leads me to my 2nd tip…
2. Find support.
Find babysitters. Find family. Talk to friends. Locating and finding support is NOT a misuse of time. Support for yourself is vital. The first thing I have a habit of deleting when overwhelmed is “me time”, when in reality, I think this move (which I admittedly make all too often) is counter-productive. You can only effectively survive without feeding your own soul for so long.
In response to my own bad habit of excluding “me time” when overwhelmed with work, I recently decided to begin new group (within the confines of my Mothers’ Center group – a local and national support group for mothers). I worked with 2 other busy mommas to form a group we are calling Executive Mommas. This new group will meet once a month and allow working parents to network and learn from each other, while also getting support through their joys and frustrations of working and mothering – effectively multitasking work with support and me time.
3. Give myself a pass.
When all else fails, allowing yourself a “pass” is the only healthy solution (in my opinion). Save this pass, use it wisely, but use it. Use it and lose the guilt. Because guilt will not help you move forward.
When the Craziness Subsides
When all said and done, and your scheduling emergency begins to fade, analyze what led to it, try to determine how you can avoid it from reoccurring, but don’t dwell on it. Instead, look ahead. You can’t change the past, you can only learn from it.
- What did you learn from all the craziness.
- Does something need to be dropped?
It’s important to recognize if scheduling overloads start to happen too frequently. Sometimes you may have to revisit your priorities and where your time has been allocated. If overload seems to be happening all-too-much then something’s got to go.
So there you have it. My 3-step guide to maintaining better work-life sanity.
It’s worked for me. Could it work for you?
Leave a Comment: Are there any other solutions that you have found when dealing with a scheduling overload?
Next week I’ll be back to the “normally scheduled On-the-Go Momma programming.” Thanks so much for joining me in this series. DON’T FORGET: the best way to keep up with each new post is to have it delivered directly to your email inbox by clicking here!Pin It