Friday, September 17, 2010

Time Management for Manic Moms - Week 1: What's in your egg timer, sand or gold dust?

It's a good start to the book, and an enlightening one to those who assume that moms do nothing around the house. Allison (Mitchell) mentioned in an example how dad finally realizes that caring for a child IS time-consuming by experience (that is being mom for A NIGHT and left with dear baby). Here are some of the important notes in the first chapter....

Give Me More Time
  • "I need more time!" This is the common lament of millions of mothers around the globe. In a world where having it all, being it all and doing it all seem to be what we're supposed to want, mum everywhere find themselves stuck in the spin-dryer of life, whizzing around at 100 miles an hour in a confused, bemused and terribly crumpled state.
  • Desperate to get it all done, Manic Mums all over the place are crying out for help. We need more time, and not just for the drudge work, either. We want quality time. We want time for us.
The Time-trap of Motherhood
  • Having children robs you of your dignity, your sleep, your sanity. And the biggest loss of all is measured in seconds, minutes and hours.
  • As you wallow in the depths of despair about the plight of your life, you begin to feel great regret for not having made the most of what you had before you were bestowed with a child, your time.
Time and the Pelvic Floor
  • Time, if you will excuse the analogy, is a little bit like your pelvic floor. When you had it and it worked perfectly you didn't know what it was, and certainly didn't pay any attention to it or feel particularly grateful for it. But when you lose control of something this important, suddenly you know all about it.
  • Time is the same, you just never knew how lucky you were before it stopped being fully available to you and you lost control of it.

  • When a new father arrives home after what he considers a hard day at work (and to be fair you also considered it a hard day until you had looking after Junior compared it to) he is confused by what greets him in the sitting room. Has his wife slipped into her negligee in anticipation of an early night of passion, or is she still really in her night dress from this morning? This poor woman has barely had time to take a drink and get dressed. She's lost the plot. She's out of control.
  • Childcare is amazingly time-consuming. And it doesn't get any easier. When children start school the demands in your time change, with after-school activities, homework, friends, camps, swimming galas, parties, revision, sleepovers and the like, and the life in the home with older children can have the complexity of a major military operation.
  • Mum wanted (job description):
    • Wanted, caring person with great interpersonal skills and lots of energy as personal assistant, mentor, trainer, nurturer, cook cleaner, personal shopper, social organizer and bottom-wiper for small helpers creatures. The ideal candidate will have the patience of a saint, skin of a rhinoceros, tongue that can easily be held and amazing time-management skills.
    • Hours: 24 a day, 7 days a week, minimum contract 18 years
    • Pay: $0,000,000
    • Benefits: car (can be parked guilt free in the mother-and-baby spaces at the supermarket)
  • Who on earth would willingly apply for this post? Whooops, we all did.
  • We soldier on and do our best, but often end up feeling hopeless, helpless and worthless.
  • We get paid nothing for doing what can only be described as the most important and demanding job in the world.
  • What lies at the heart of many of our issues is that we just don't feel valued. In a society where financial remuneration is linked with status and respect, mums score pretty low. Nobody values or rewards us financially for what we do.
  • The message is loud and clear: your time is worth nothing. We receive the message, and as a result we don't value ourselves, what we do, or our time.
  • If you're not valuing your time, my guess is that you're not getting as much done in a day as you could.
  • If you start valuing your time, you'll automatically start to value yourself and feel better about yourself, too. It's a double whammy, a win/win.
Time, the Ultimate Designer Brand
  • get a sense of how much your time is really worth
  • Putting a value on your time is essential if you want to get more out of it.
  • Everywhere in life you find the phenomenon of perceived value. At the supermarket you pay more in Waitrose than Wal-Mart, in a car showroom more for a VW than a Skoda, and in the jewellers more for a Rolex than a Swatch. Essentially, these things are all the same, it's their perceived value that's different. Because the perceived value is higher, people pay more and treat the item with more respect.
  • When we pay a lot for something, we're more likely to value it and look after it.
Put a Price on your Head
  • As mums, because we don't get paid for out time we tend not to value it. And because we don't value it, neither does anybody else.
  • Think about all your unique qualifications, skills and abilities. What would you have to pay to get those? What salary do you deserve?
  • It's up to you. The sky's the limit. When you've decided on your salary, work out your hourly rate.
  • If you believe that your time is worth $1 million a year, do you think you would be living your life like you are right now? Would you be choosing to do different things with your time?
  • Time is one of the most precious resources we have. Although as a mother you may not be financially rewarded for the work that you do, your time is worth just as much as anyone else's.
  • All the money in the world can't buy one of your precious hours. Your time is PRICELESS. Whatever you value it at now, double it, triple it, quadruple it. Start thinking about yourself as the best designer brand there is.
What's in your Egg Timer: Sand or Gold Dust?
  • Time management is about creating a mindset that values and makes the most of the time we have.
  • Like gold dust, it's precious. At some point it will run out. As sure as the sand in the egg timer filters down to the dome below, so does the gold dust of our lives. We never can be sure just how much of that precious dust remains.
Oh no, There's No More Time!
  • You get your ration everyday. Use it or lose it. The first of the Seven Truths of Time Management is "There is no more time".
How much gold dust have you got left?
  • Think for a moment. How much time do you really think you've got left on this earth?
There is a Silver Lining
  • Get the value of time sorted, begin to act as if it's priceless and things will start to change in your life. You will get more done in a day. You will be living a more fulfilled and happier life.
A Story about the value of time
  • "The most precious of all the resources you have in life is your time. Like your piece of steel, you have a set amount, and like your steel, depending on what you do with it, it can yield you more or less. Think, my girls, what do you want to make with your time: horseshoes, knives or watch cogs? The choice is yours, be sure to make the right one."
What are you making with your time?
  • We have a choice about how we spend our time. 
  • We can fritter it away on something that produces lesser results and doesn't give us much in the way of a return.
  • We can spend it on something that pays higher dividends in our life and really reflects our highest values.
  • If we choose to put a high value on our time and decide to spend it on things that matter to us, suddenly our world starts to change. The things we want in our lives start to appear.
What are you losing out in your life?
  • What are you losing out on by doing things that aren't really of any value to your life?
  • Opportunity Cost - buying one thing means you are effectively choosing not to buy something else
  • It's all about choice. Making one choice means we miss the opportunity to do something else.
Same resources, different outcomes
  • Manic Martha and Perfect Paula - went to school together, live in the same street, have similarly paid part-time jobs, have 2 children, husbands work for the same company and have identical incomes. You'd expect them to live similar lives. Their lives are different because of the choices they make around how to live them - esp their behaviour in relation to how they manage time
  • Manic Martha 
    • always frantic and on the go, she leaves a trail of destruction behind her
    • never has time to clear up from one thing before she's on to the next
    • often abandons things halfway through
    • her children are always late for school
    • always full of enthusiasm, amazingly optimistic about what she will be able to fit into her day
    • always promising herself that one day, when she has time, she will get round to giving her house a good sort-out
    • seems to thrive in chaos and often wonders how her friends can be so organized
    • spends half her time looking for things that she's lost
    • although she's always busy, she never gets anything done
    • she knows she's lost control of her time, and doesn't know how to get it back
  • Perfect Paula
    • fun and friendly
    • when she commits to something, she never lets you down. She always follows through.
    • she's got time for herself and others, too
    • truly appreciates the value and scarcity of time, and makes the most of it
    • get more done than most in the average day
    • she's got a stash of secret short cuts that allow her to get more done that other people
    • she's able to say "no" nicely if you ask her to do something that she hasn't got time for
    • she knows what her own priorities  are and sticks to them
    • the most organized woman you've ever met, she has a plan for everything
    • she never seems hurried and gets things done, one at a time, in a highly efficient manner
    • her life seems to run like clockwork
    • even when the children are at home there doesn't seem to be any chaos
    • she holds down a responsible job, is calm and organized
    • she finds tie to entertain, go to the gym and play tennis with her friends.
    • she knows where she's going on holiday next year, and seems to have a long-term plan for her life
    • her children seem calm and well adjusted
    • they do lots of things as a family and seem to get on really well. They are very relaxed and at ease with each other
Are you Manic Martha or Perfect Paula?
  • wouldn't it be nice to have a life with room to breathe, and space to fit in everything that's important to you?
Learn Perfect Paula's Magic
  • Everything you need to know is found in the Seven Truths of Time Management
  • One week at a time a new truth will be revealed to you and over the next seven weeks you'll integrate them into your being, as you transform from Manic to Marvellous.
Time Truth One: There is no more time
  • wise up, use what you've learned in this chapter and start valuing your time. You are your own designer brand.
Time Truth Two: To save time you must first know how you spend it
  • if your time is like gold dust, you don't want to lose any. Like a dripping tap or a leaky pipe, time seeps away unnoticed. 
  • Pinpoint your leaks (and we're not talking about your plumbing!). Work out where all your time goes so you can get  loads more.
Time Truth Three: Know what you want, then you'll find time to look for it
  • you know you want more time, but do you really know exactly what you want to do with it?
  • if you really have all the time in the world, what would you do?
  • get in touch with your values and rekindle your dreams
  • learn how to set goals, not just for the day-to-day things, but all the things that are important to you, your dreams. Start finding time to live them
Time Truth Four: Take control of time or time will take control of you
  • if you don't become the mistress of your own time, then time will become your master
  • learn how to create a powerful but simple planning system which allows you to track ad achieve your goals
  • take control. Get back in the driving seat of your life
Time Truth Five: Systems save time
  • systemizing your life will save you oodles of time
  • develop systems that will help you manage yourself and your family.
  • your children will love it as you transform from a mum on the run to a mom who's fun
Time Truth Six: The cost of putting things off is higher than the price of doing them
  • getting things done at the right time is the key to successful time management
  • learn how to put off procrastination and get everything done on time
Time Truth Seven: If you can live in the moment you can expand time
  • when we savour our time, it seems to last longer. Imagine a life where every moment is one of quality. What would that be like for you and your family?
  • Truth Seven takes you one step beyond pure time management. Learn how to develop a relationship with time. One that allows you to dance in the moment and savour life

Try the exercises below for one week. Get clarity about how much value you place on your limited time.

Actions for one week:
  1. Each morning as you look in the bathroom mirror, set a positive intent for your day. Promise yourself that you will value your time. Approach your day as if you were being paid for everything you do. (five minutes)
  2. At the end of the day before you go to sleep, think for a moment. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • in what ways have I valued my time and myself today?
    • in what ways have I not valued my time and myself today?
    • how can I value myself and my time more tomorrow? (5 minutes)
  3. Choose 7 of the time-saving tips that appeal to you from the pages of the book (in my blog, I have listed the time saving tips below). Everyday for the next week, try out a new one. See how much time it saves you. How do you feel when you save time?


  1. Keep a small box stocked with wrapping paper, sticky tape, scissors, labels, etc. so it's always to hand when there's a present to wrap.
  2. Keep a mini writing kit with stamps in your handbag.
  3. Exercise while watching tv.
  4. Focus fully on what you are doing if it is important to you.
  5. Every now and then, instead of making dinner, make reservations.
  6. Fill up your car whenever you can - not when you have to. Running on empty can be very stressful.
  7. Don't buy knickers with the days of the week on for your children. You just don't want the hassle of trying to persuade a five-year-old to wear Tuesday's knickers on Friday. It wastes time (or even hours, depending on how determined your child is!).
  8. Before you start something ask yourself "is this the best use of my time right now?"
  9. Stop feeling guilty about all the things you haven't done.
  10. Book your holidays for weeks that include a public holiday, so you use up less allowance.
So much for Chapter 1. Good luck on the first week of our transformation to becoming a less manic and more perfect mom (in terms of time management, that is).

Please feel free to share your own progress, if you wish to follow my blog on this topic. It would be good to share experiences.

1 comment:

  1. i think the most important of the tips above is tip #8. It's a good guiding factor.

    what we are currently practicing are tips #3 and 10.


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