Does your workload look like a laundry basket that belongs to a family with 13 kids? Does your overwhelm keep you paralysed. You may need some perspective to manage your workload.
How about this family-friendly time-management approach from ‘Get in the Go Zone: Making the Most of Me’ ? (McKeon, Percival, Mackay, Garner)
Its The GO, The SLOW and The NO.
The ‘GO” Zone - You focus on an individual task that needs attention. You spend 2-4 hours on the focused task at hand. Your adrenaline can go up. You use positive stress in action. You will of course need to switch off other distractions (at home mumpreneurs don’t actually sedate your toddler unless with endless episodes of the Octonauts). Stay clear in the GO Zone with the task at hand. (Dont research anything!! )
The “SLOW Zone” - Less focussed action in meetings, routine tasks, general admin, communications, research (This one is one you want to keep in check, uhum.. research..) But SLOW Zone is a great buffer between the GO zone and the NO zone. It is a middle zone. We dont want to be here all the time. If you work alone this can be too easy to get lost in. But in a healthy amount it plays an important role because we can’t always be in the Go Zone or we will hit burnout. Plain and simple. Its like the cool down at the end of the Pump workout. Here you can plan your tasks too at the end of the day.
The “NO Zone”- No focus on work activity or thinking at all, but your attention on family, friends and your own fulfilment. This is the recovery zone. It helps to have this to bring your peak performance to the job and to have your soul feel alive and nourished. Top up on your serotonin in your relationships. Top up your vital juices in something you love. Take time to get out of your normal zone and into a flow state. If you are a Mama you can too easily give your time to all your babies (read: your business, your charity, your lover, your children, your grandma even maybe), but then you are focussing all your GO Time and your NO time on other peoples needs. Make sure your NO Zone has time for pleasure from serotonin and oxytocin (touch, fun, sex, hobbies, food, flow, arts, sports), not just pleasure from achieving things (to do lists, housework, baking birthday cakes for others, exessive business goals, organising things).
It can be super helpful to remember this handy triptych rhyme so that you can keep your down time firmly on your radar. Go, Slow, No. And as they say in the book;
‘the busier you are, the more vital your No Zones become.’
So busy Mamas make sure you get your NO Zones. Fill your cup. Somehow. Make it happen. Prioritise YOU.
Another thing you will need to consider in your routine if you're a flexible working mama is how you engage and spend time with your kids and what age they are. You may need to have a NO Zone in the morning until playgroup and then a GO Zone when you have time off kids (even when bub is sleeping) and then a SLOW Zone after kids lights out. Or perhaps you want to do your phone calls and emails in the SLOW Zone during work hours and then do your creative outputs in the GO Zone after kids are in bed.
I can not stress this enough.
Work out your best rhythm so that your kids still get the best out of you.
As a working mama you need to offer your kids the structure of a NO Zone so they can feel secure in having their needs met and that you are emotionally available.
I have even put them on my check list of tasks.
I highly recommend Aha Parenting for tips on how engaging with your children improves their behaviour and strenghtens your relationships.
If you want support with aligning your time- management with your priorities, finding some tools and rituals to give you extra energy. Get in touch. I love working with busy women who want it all!