I’m sure I’m not alone here, but as a working parent with three small children, I am challenged every day to do more with less. More planning, more organizing, more thinking, more housework, more peacemaking, more teaching, and more learning. All with less time, less energy, less sleep, less focus, and less patience.
People ask me all the time, “How do you do it?”, which I never know how to answer because let’s face it, most of the time I feel like I’m holding it all together by a thread and a prayer. But I did some self-evaluation, and here are some things I’ve learned through trial and error that I would share with others.
If you’re on the phone with a client, tune in to what he/she is saying and respond thoughtfully. If you’re in the car with your kids, talk to them about their day or entertain their silly requests. If you’re listening to a podcast or participating in a webinar, be an active participant. With so many things on our plate, it’s easy to get lost in multitasking but far more effective (and enjoyable!) to stay focused on one thing at a time.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
There will always be someone who does it better or who does more. Stop beating yourself up about it, and stop taking on more than you can handle with a smile on your face. You will be a much happier and pleasant person if you understand and accept your limits.
Curb your expectations.
With so many things demanding your time and energy, you might not be able to do the things that at one point in your life felt undoubtedly necessary (e.g., vacuum twice a week, hit the gym every other day, wash your hair...moms, you know what I’m talking about). Recognize that you’re only human and set new standards for success.
Ask for help.
This was a hard one for me, but when I realized that I couldn’t do everything alone, life got so much easier. Teamwork makes the dream work!
Let go of guilt.
The only thing guilt does is slow you down and stress you out. You are never going to be everything to everyone, but if you do your best, you have something to be proud of.
I know this period in my life will pass with a blink of an eye, so I do my best to embrace it instead of letting it overwhelm me. It’s chaotic and busy, but it’s also incredibly precious and fulfilling. I hope my learnings will help someone else feel like they can do more with less. And if you have other tips, I’d love to hear them!
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