It is often said that time travels fast, but with a baby, it seems to have accelerated at an alarming rate. Baby is already five months, sitting up and teething. How time flies when you are having fun (and not much sleep).
So often in business, we can also feel like time is travelling too fast. Especially if there are big deadlines that have to be met and work piles up into a never-ending mountain. Most of these things are not governed by you but someone more senior. Your focus is determined by what the business wants you to work on.
And it is the same for us as parents, our focus is often on things that are out of our control. Key milestones in the baby's development that we adapt to in the most caring way possible. For example, there are times when you have to take them for their injections, help them through teething and start to wean them. All of which are out of your control and have to happen, much like in business.
So as busy parents, how do we get a handle on these uncontrollable elements and make the most of our time?
1. What do you know?
Put the things you know about into your calendar and every week review what is coming up in the next four weeks so things don't catch you off guard. If month-end is coming up then you can start to plan in advance. If the baby is due to have their injections you can plan the days afterwards accordingly. Make sure you have Calpol in and don't plan anything for the rest of the day or following day in case baby gets a temperature. Get a calendar and start to put these key elements down so they don't take you by surprise.
2. Make a plan for you
If you were to ask people how they structure their days, they would say using a list. But what about the things you want to achieve that don't have strict deadlines but are important to you? These things often get pushed to one side and left for rainy days. However these are usually things that mean something to you, that will enhance your well being and help you to feel like you have accomplished something for you. They keep you motivated.
Take 10 minutes for yourself and have a think about what you want to achieve. Just because a baby has arrived doesn't mean we should stop hoping and dreaming. (here are 4 steps to help you achieve ...)
Step 1 - Write down a list of personal things in work and at home you want to see happen. Eg. get a promotion, work on a particular project or with a particular team, study, lose weight, wean your baby, go back to work, exercise, buy a new car etc.
Step 2 - Then see your list as a set of goals and think about when you want to achieve them by. Many would be familiar with SMART goal making technique where you make a goal Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time- Based. Now being realistic, I realise you might not have a chance to go through the whole list and make each one into a SMART goal but as a minimum, I would suggest you put a timescale against the top five items and say when you want to achieve them by.
Step 3 - Look at your list and pick just 1 thing to focus on at work and at home and think in more detail as to how you are going to achieve it.
Step 4 - Decide what the first step should be in starting your goal and do it!
3. Learn to go with the flow
A close friend, who at one point had 5 children, all under the age of 5 years, told me "We have to get comfortable with organised chaos. Things can't be perfect all the time and so you have to embrace and enjoy rather than become a recipient of guilt and stress". We must plan what we can control and embrace what we can't. If we are aware of what we have on our plate and what our focus is we can then make better judgements about what we can take on board and what we have to say no to. We can learn to control what often feels out of control.
I think the secret to success here is to keep things simple.
My goals for this week for example are:WORK - Meet on Wednesday to plan the decoration for kids conference in June & communicate the outcome of the meeting to the decorating team by Friday. ME - Do a 30 min exercise video twice (at least) by Thursday. To help achieve this, exercise with baby. (This is working towards the bigger goal of losing 2 stone by October. 3 weeks in and I have already lost half a stone. Woop!)
So often we over-complicate things, but your focus needs to be on work, your children and yourself. Do what you need to do for work and yourself. Work towards goals that are important to you and keep the rest of your time available for baby and what cannot be planned. This should get you achieving more for yourself and feeling less overwhelmed.
Happy goal setting!