Being a single mom can be tough. Working from home can be tough, too. Being a single work-at-home mom? Don't even get me started.
Everyone says they need more time... but you? You really need more time. Here are some tips for getting a few extra hours in your day:
1. Do a time audit
Each one of us has a bunch of really useless things we do that take our time without giving us anything in return. Figure out what your time suckers are. Do you watch Friends reruns? Hang out on Instant Messenger? Read gossip magazines when you should be catching up on sleep? Like buying unnecessary lattes or inappropriate shoes, engaging in these kind of activities is a drain of resources already in short supply.
2. Slash the offending activities
Once you know what you're wasting your time on, you can start thinking about what to cut. This isn't a scheme to get you to cut everything fun out of your life — on the contrary. You need to slash the things that are not fun, but are not critical either. If you don't actively need to do it and you don't actively want to do it, stop doing it.
While you're slashing, really think about the things you're doing because you think they're necessary. It's time to redefine "necessary." Look at your hobbies and leisure activities — do you even enjoy them, or do you do them because you've always done them? If you have breakfast with your mother once a week, are either of you still benefiting from that? The eight committees you're on — is anyone being helped by your presence there?
3. Create a time budget
Now you've decided what's worth spending your time on, the next step is making a time budget. Like a money budget, a time budget takes into consideration your limited resources — in this case, 24 hours in one day — and allocates them appropriately. Consider how much time it takes you to do those things you need and want to do, and don't rush them.
One of the biggest causes of time-related stress is inaccurate assumptions of how much time each activity is going to take. If it takes you an hour to get the kids ready for school, don't make the mistake of thinking that tomorrow it'll take you 45 minutes. It won't. Allow for the time you need to take so you're not in a rush.
Time debt, like money debt or sleep debt, didn't start overnight and all of your problems won't be solved by tomorrow. Hopefully, though, if you implement some of these tips you'll start getting more control over what you do with your day. Maybe you can use some of your newfound time to grab a shower for the first time this week!
Create a Post-Divorce Recovery Plan, by Kim Olver
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