I think most of us begin the new-year with strong intentions; ideals to ‘be’ more and ‘do’ less, intentions to be more present for loved ones and less scattered.
This particular blog focuses more on my lady clients, my female colleagues and my fellow moms…but if you’re a male reader, perhaps you could shed some light on this?
I was quite shocked to learn that according to Marcus Buckingham’s latest research (“Find Your Strongest Life”) that
“each hour of free time reduces men’s odds of feeling rushed by 8%, but each hour of free time has no similar effect for women…For women the odds of feeling sometimes or always rushed are 2.2 times higher for married women with children, than for single childless women. The same is not true for men.”
A good friend and I meet weekly to debrief each other on our respective lives and to support each other in similar natured work. I have observed that with her having younger children, I definitely appear to have more time than she and that we both hanker after ‘alone time’. But if the above holds true, perhaps we are striving for the wrong thing?
I can think of a number of reasons for the apparent paradox;
- The possibility that the more time we gain the more we want; that carving out time just shines a light on how little time we have to ourselves?
- Or that the ‘to do list’ is so long that making a start on it leaves us feeling overwhelmed by its mere extent?
- That in spite of our more involved partners, working women still bear 2-3 times more of the household and child rearing responsibilities than their counterparts
- which translates to a prominent theme for my friend and I, that we simply carry far more of the daily responsibility in our heads
So short of bemoaning our fate or re-entering the battle of the sexes, I think there are a few quick wins we can strive for;
- It sounds clichéd but rather than hankering after quantity time, snatch pockets of time where you just turn the volume down for 5 minutes; a quiet time in the morning, or 5 minutes of reading a book while you wait to collect a child. I have a client who set her computer to alarm and prompt her to ‘breathe’ on the hour every hour.
- The second is Steven Covey’s idea of what is ‘controllable’ and what is not. To put it simply; time, other people’s actions and traffic all fall in the realm of the uncontrollable. When feeling rushed I often remind myself (and my kids!) of what is controllable in the situation?
My actions, my words and how much stress I create for others are all my ‘controllables’ at that moment – much of the rest is not.
- Finally schedule 15 extra minutes between appointments if at all possible. I have learnt that coaching and then allowing a half hour to travel to my next client does not allow adequate time to reflect, breathe and counter Cape Town traffic, so who says I can’t start an appointment at 09h45 or 10h15? This way I at least get to visit the bathroom before commencing another session (and yes, without flushing in drought-stricken Cape Town)!
Share your comments below on ideas we can add to making 2018 a less frantic one.