September is “Back to Life” Month. My 5 Tips to Survive
In my neck of the woods, there is no denying that summer is slowly starting to ween it’s way back to wherever it came from. Tricky little thing. The sun sets sooner, Canada Geese are squawking, Fall mums are for sale at the local store, and nights are cool enough to actually sleep without waking up in a puddle of your own sweat.
With Fall creeping in, this is usually the time when people’s schedules start picking up. People start to focus more on work as they kiss goodbye to their summer holidays. Kid’s schedules become busier with school and extra-curriculars and some of us may choose to head back to school ourselves to take a course or two.
Let’s face it…time isn’t your friend anymore.
Here are my tips for maintaining a busy lifestyle and doing it all (or most of it) while keeping your sanity and brain cells without losing it:
1. Hire a Cleaning Lady (even just once) – For those who are immediately saying this doesn’t fit in your budget, hear me out. For some, if not most of us, cleaning the house once a week takes many hours. Whether you spread it out over the week, or just turn into a crazy Ms. Clean on Saturday mornings with the music blaring, it takes time. I live in a small cottage and to do a great cleaning job, it takes me about 5 hours a week. I could realistically put those 5 hours into family time, grocery shopping, riding at the barn, craft projects with my daughter or painting the kitchen. Or even marketing my business to make money!
Even having someone come in once a month is many extra hours you didn’t have before.
2. Get Your Groceries Delivered – Yep, having someone do your shopping and deliver your groceries for you can save you oodles of time.
Most of us spend many, many, (many!) hours on the computer in a day. During a break, head on over to your local grocery delivery site and with a few clicks, your shopping is done . Voila! Groceries at your door at the time of your choosing. I use Grocery Gateway, and they were a Godsend when my daughter was first born in the middle of a Canadian winter. It’s really a fantastic solution for those weeks you look ahead and there is NO time to squeeze in. Or, if you’re prepping to host a big dinner party and there is life that still gets in the way! There is a small charge to use the service, but it doesn’t compare to your cost in time…or fuel.
3. Get the Kids Involved – A great way for kids to learn responsibility and new skills is to help out around the house. From doing the laundry to washing windows or doing the dishes, they can contribute in some manner if given the proper instructions and task for their age. When my daughter first started washing dishes, I wrote out step-by-step instructions on what to do. Now she is responsible for her own laundry, cat litter, dog poop clean up and anything else we throw her way. (She LOVES watering the grass and flowers at night!). TIP: Writing out the friendly “how-to’s” saves tons of time in the long run, and avoids the “I didn’t knowwwwW” whiny thing.
No kids? Hire a kid to rake leaves, do garden clean-up, paint window sills, etc.
4. Hire an Assistant – Whether you are self employed or not, hiring either a personal assistant or executive (virtual) assistant is a great way to move stuff off your plate. Why not have your calls forwarded? Emails answered? Social media up-to-date? Website updated? Or even researching the best places to visit/stay/eat on your upcoming family vacation? If you work with someone virtually, they are not your employee and can be very cost effective. Lots can get done in just a few hours per month. This saves you from worrying about it, and frees up your non-profitable time to productive and have potential profitable time!
5. Say No – One of the greatest skills I’ve learned personally and for business in the last 5 years is the ability to say NO. I know that when I stretch myself too thin I suffer, my business suffers, and everyone around me makes it known that they suffer too. I pad my schedule for “just-in-case” time (which more often than not is needed) and I say NO to anything that just won’t fit in that week/month/(year). If its something that I would like to do, but the time isn’t there, I offer 2-3 other dates and times that it might work out. If it’s something I just don’t want to do, I offer a polite no. No explanation is needed. I never ever push something into my schedule because I feel obligated. It takes practice for those of us who are used to saying yes all the time, but it’s liberating!
I’m going to be putting all of these things into practice at my house this Fall at least in some form as our schedule right now is looking nuts. And when all else fails, a cocktail or two should do the trick.