Where did the day go?
I was busy all day, but I can’t remember what I did.
I’ll get to that when my schedule frees up a bit.
Who hasn’t had one of these thoughts at least once a week, if not every day? With kids, perpetual activity is the default state. Gone are the days of predictable schedules and even a little downtime. Throw in work, community involvement and various other calls on our time, and it’s no wonder our personal goals never make the to-do list. But part of positive parenting is taking time for ourselves as adults.
For the short term, our only option is to fit “me time” into the nooks and crannies of the day. We’re not getting a free evening to figure out a college-savings plan or an unscheduled weekend to get a handle on the photos.
How big is a nook and cranny? For a parent’s purposes, let’s say 10 minutes. It would be nice to spend longer, but even 10 minutes can provide a welcome break from the have-to’s of the day while letting you take a small step toward a larger goal. Often, that goal that’s been hanging over your head for weeks (or months or years) can be reached in just a few short spurts.
Try this 10-minute plan:
Pick a goal you’ve been putting off. It can be anything from cleaning out the closet to planning a girls’ weekend away or saving for retirement.
Clarify your goal. Write a statement, such as: “Make my closet a thing of beauty so that nothing is on the floor and everything in it is wearable and makes me feel great.”
Identify 10-minute gaps in the day’s schedule. Where do you have a few minutes to yourself? As soon as the baby goes down for a nap? During the kids’ afternoon homework time? While your partner reads bedtime stories?
Identify 10-minute steps that get you toward your goal. These might include emptying the shopping bag that’s sitting on the closet floor, searching online for closet organization tips, filling a bag with clothes to give away or ordering a shoe organizer.
Do just one 10-minute step each day. Repeat until your goal is complete.
Take 10 minutes for yourself today, then bask in the feeling of doing something just for you. Odds are, you’ll feel just a little more balanced, nourished and peaceful.
Laura Brady Saade lives in Los Angeles and is the founder of Give Me 10, a goal-setting and time-management consulting practice. Visit her online at www.giveme10.info.