It has been such a challenge to fit in everything I want/am required to do and this has been part of the reason I have been a bit quieter on the blog. A FIFO partner is something new in my mix of things to deal with these days and my way of coping with this initially was just getting by on doing the barest minimum and attempting to ignore all the other things I want to do which keep wriggling about and nagging me in my brain. This was as annoying as a pending university assignment and I knew that I had to attend to it sooner or later if only just to get some peace of mind.
After hiding my head under the sand for a while, I have finally acknowledged that dealing with a FIFO partner is going to be my life for the foreseeable future and I have to sit down and work out a plan that will allow me to be my best at work & home while fitting in my health, hobbies, blog and business. To work out this plan I had to reevaluate my priorities, establish what is important and what has to be moved to the bottom of the list. My list and priorities looked like this:
- Flourishing in spirit, mind & body
- My Family & home:
- Raising kids who are healthy in mind, body & spirit
- Creating a warm, accepting, happy and peaceful atmosphere in my home
- A clean & tidy home
- Cooking healthy meals that I can knock over within 30mins – 1hr max.
- Being a patient, encouraging, sane, approachable and realistic parent.
- My Work:
- Staying motivated at work
- Challenging myself to grow my role rather than cruising at the current level
- Developing myself and my team to prepare for undertaking higher responsibilities
- My Blog:
- Maintaining regular engaging posts
- Growing my readership
- Achieving the purpose of my blog
- Our Business
- My hobbies
The second step after establishing my priorities was to work out why I was currently struggling to fit these into my schedule. Identifying the challenges enabled me to come up with different possible options to get around them. Here are a few-
My challenge with exercise was that finding myself as a sole carer sometimes meant being unable to leave the kids and go for an early morning walk. Also working full-time meant I finished work when the kids were due to be picked up from childcare and therefore unable to go to the gym or indulge in an evening walk. To work around this challenge I had a couple of options:
- Exercise videos I can do at home (this would include YouTube, exercise apps, DVD)
- Exercising during my work breaks
- Getting in more steps at work by using stairs instead of lifts
- Various combinations of the above points
Here’s what is working for me:
- 15 minute cardio in the morning. I currently have a Demi Pair (part time Au Pair) which affords me time to go out for a quick walk in the morning. These days I am doing the HIIT method so I jog or run for 1 minute and then walk for 1 minute. I am working at increasing the jog for 2 minutes each time. When I don’t have my Demi or on rainy days, I use the Workout Trainer App for a 15 minute cardio in my garage. I’ve inserted a screenshot below
- 10 minute brisk walk during my morning tea break. I use the opportunity to go and check my PO Box too.
- 10 minute brisk walk during my afternoon tea break.
So in total I am ending up with 35 minutes of physical activity per workday.
I also do a Kegel exercise when I come back from my morning, lunch and afternoon tea breaks. I use the PFEI Kegel trainer app. Timing this immediately after my walks gives me a routine I can remember and stick to.
I have to be intentional about growing my role and developing myself so I have set aside time in my diary to work on my appraisal objectives and also to seek out and engage on activities and training that will help me grow to the next level. I read articles on how to grow your role without a promotion and I am working on the tips and will share the article here on the blog.
I was finding that when I got home I was tired from being on the computer all day at work so I was lagging behind on my posts just because I could not bring myself to go and sit at the study computer or even power up the laptop. The following strategies have helped me:
- Introducing the 15 minute cardio in the morning means I can now use 30 minutes of my break time to work on my blog and then use another 15 minutes for a stroll or for meditation. Previously I used up all my break for walks.
- I installed my blog app on my phone so I could upload pics and also start blog posts once I think of them on the go. Also, I could sit on my bed at night or at the couch and type up a blog post without having to switch on the computer.
So just changing around how I am using my time has allowed me to fit more in without having to give up one activity over the other.
I have scheduled a specific day for meal planning and doing some of my grocery shop online so I could pick them up on the weekend through the drive through with the kids in the car. This reduces the time I have to drag three kids about in the shop in between swim lessons and has made things much easier for me. Also, developing themes for my menu plan make it easier for me to find recipes that fit within my objectives. I will touch more on this when I share a 5-2 friendly meal plan this week.
Shopping fortnightly and being careful about accepting invitations to parties, etc frees up every other weekend for me to take things easy with the kids and do some activities with them which further my family objectives. Not having to worry about going to the shop or anywhere else makes it easier for me to be relaxed, make some pancakes, go to the library, watch a movie or read books together. The kids love these weekends.
To wrap up, reviewing my priorities, reevaluating the challenges, rethinking my strategies and reshuffling my activities creatively has helped me make space for things that matter to me. Over to you now, have you had to struggle with making time for things that matter to you? How have you approached them? Let me know in the comments or by email.