Are you a working mom and struggling to get things done or meeting set deadlines? Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and wish for some extra help?
Well, as a working mom, I can totally relate. More so, because my children are still little, which even makes the demands heavier. But, not to worry, because I am about to share some helpful tips that have worked for me, and I hope that they also work for you too.
I have always been the mom who is very vested in the upbringing of my children, and that means committing significant amounts of my week and weekends to their welfare. Thanks to a very supportive husband who takes some of that burden off my shoulders, but even at that, moms will always be moms, right? So, even with the help from my husband, there is still so much I have to do to make sure everyone is organized, on time with school activities, well-fed with healthy meals, etc. Therefore, at times, I tend to feel stressed and worn out, until I became more creative with how I organized my activities around the home.
This approach has further helped me greatly, especially since I commenced my medical residency training, which in itself is very demanding and time-consuming. So, I had to figure out a way for everything to work out while ensuring that the home is still serene and not chaotic.
Make a list.
This has been both a time-saver, as well as significant productivity enhancing tip for me. I used to go about my activities pretending that I had all of “it” in ‘my head’. Then, when I find that I forgot to take care of an important commitment or get the alert from my google calendar that a child has a doctor’s appointment or school activity, I go berserk. So, what did I do to change that? I started making a list at the end of every week, in preparation for the upcoming week. I carefully go through the children’s calendar, as well as my calendar containing both professional and personal commitments, and take note of upcoming commitments. That way, I can plan ahead for the week and do not allow myself to be taken unawares. Why do you think we have to make a list of all the things to buy when we go to the grocery store? It’s because the tendency to forget is real. Without having a list handy, you may not remember that the gallon of milk is almost exhausted or that the dog food has only one serving left. In the same vein, to enhance your productivity, make it a habit to list out all the things you have to accomplish for the week, day or month, depending on your schedule. That way, you not only avoid the pain of forgetting to do something very important, but it also helps you keep track of what is left to be accomplished, which helps to keep you focused and on task until your list is completely crossed out.
Please delegate, if you can.
If you are married, please don’t be shy to ask for help from your spouse. As women, the tendency is for us to have everything perfectly done, in a certain way. In my opinion, I do not think that is necessary. As long as he does the laundry, washes the dishes, cleans the apartment, it’s ok. I do no longer care if he doesn’t exactly do it the way that I would have wanted it done. As long as it’s done, it’s fine. Don’t stress out over little things like, “that’s not clean enough” or “that brand of cheese is not what I usually get at the grocery store.” The point is, to learn to stop stressing over things that do not really matter. As long as everyone is safe and healthy, just use the help you can get, even if it doesn’t get to your standard of perfection, just take it.
Then, if you are single, please ask for help from people around you-your friends, family, neighbors, etc. Sometimes, people are actually willing to help us, but they would never do so if we do not reach out and ask them for it. And just like a spouse, please accept the help you are given and don’t become judgmental if it doesn’t get up to your standard. Any help is better than no help at all. Run with that.
Somethings can be pushed forward to “later”.
Sometimes, we may box ourselves into a corner and assume that everything has to be done at the timelines we have set for ourselves. That’s not true. Here is an example. Sometimes, I make a list of the dishes I want to make on the weekend (I usually cook to last a week or 2 weeks, depending on if I have to be at the hospital on a particular weekend). When I take a look at my list, I could sometimes become stressed out over the fact that I may not be able to make all of the things written there, in addition to the other commitments I may have. So, what did I do to change that? I realized that it was ok to make only 2 or 3 meals at a time and push forward to “later”, the others that I am unable to make. My later could be during the week when I get home early from work or the next weekend. The point is, as long as I am able to make some healthy portions available for the family at a time, the others can be pushed forward to more convenient times. I do not have to overwhelm myself by having to do everything, in a certain way, at a certain time, and within the self-imposed timeline, I have set for myself. As long as everyone is eating healthily and happily, it’s ok.
This is just a brief summary of some of the things I have incorporated into my schedule that have made life less stressful for me, as a working mom. I believe these tips can be used by anyone (not only working moms) to get some of the stress out of their lives. The point is learning to live one day at a time and not stressing over all the many things we have to get done all the time.
Have a fantastic new year!