When Americans’ work-life balance is disrupted, families bear the brunt, according to the StrategyOne 2010 survey of 1,043 Americans; however, most report that family is of greatest importance to us. Think about your day to day life. What responsibilities do you put off when you are short on time? Do you find yourself having to decide whether to take your car for that much needed oil change or eat lunch? How about the common American dinner time dilemma of opting for take-out as the only means of fitting in both a meal and time to help the children with homework? How often do you find yourself short on time….weekly or daily? It happens to all of us. Although there isn’t a cure, there are several small things that you can do to lessen the frequency of these time-crunched frenzies.
The first thing is to be realistic about what is really reasonable to accomplish in a given day. Stop saying to yourself, “If only I could get my work done quicker, if I didn’t get stuck in traffic or in a line at the grocery store…” These obstacles are out of our control and ever present in our lives. Second, plan for the busy week ahead. This is the very reason Rachel Ray’s new show “Cook 1 Day, Eat for 5” even exists! If you can find a block of time, it is more efficient to shop for the entire week at once and spend 2 hours prepping the week’s ingredients. During my 2 year olds Saturday nap, you can usually find me in the kitchen creating homemade marinades, prepping meat and chopping vegetables to be thrown into steamers or salads throughout the week. However, the greatest time saver is to leverage your time by outsourcing the tasks that are not your core responsibilities.
It is mandatory that we free ourselves from the “super woman” guilt trip, realize that we have a finite number of hours in the day and allow ourselves to let go of the mundane tasks that others can do for us. For example, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure your family is fed. However, the meal will not taste better if you personally schlep through the grocery store picking produce and succumbing to the impulse purchases of your children in tow. Nor will your car operate better because it knows you were held hostage at the mechanic during the 60,000 mile check up. Please outsource these tasks and spend your time where it really counts!