Life Optimisation for Parents
I am exploring the idea that part of what I am offering is life optimisation for parents. Time suddenly becomes an even more precious resource with a child in the mix. I have spent quite a lot of time over the last decade striving to make my life work. A bit like Queer Eye but without a fabulous team cheering me on! Here is how I optimised my life!
The Magical Art of Tidying
I keep my physical space clear. I really recommend doing the Marie Kondo process properly, it will set you up for life! I got up at 6am one rainy Saturday and spent the whole day doing the iconic “does it spark joy process”. She also advocates having a single location for each type of object eg. all electrical items together etc. to help with future tidying.
I am curious about the shinto belief that objects have a consciousness. In the book KonMari talks about how having more things than we need they somehow drain our energy.
Whether you believe in the consciousness of objects or not, having a clear, well organised space can be a wonderful thing. It makes it easier to tidy up, giving you precious minutes in which to relax or do other tasks. It also just makes me feel more organised which is great for my self esteem and my sense of myself as a capable, professional woman.
Systems and habits
I also find having systems and routines for chores helps to keep the time they take to a minimum. Systems and structures may take a bit of time and effort to set up but ultimately they hold us by minimising the number of decisions we have to make day to day. Every decision you make takes a certain amount of energy, I would love for you to save this energy for things which are important to you.
- Combine tasks, shower while the coffee is brewing, load the washing machine while your porridge is cooking
- Have a weekly time when you do a big shop or clean your house
- Include your children in these tasks, drying dishes or folding laundry can be nice bonding activities.
Know what matters to you
Part of the optimisation process, therefore, is knowing what matters to you, for example I’m not so interested in food so I tend to eat the same simple, healthy meals week after week so that I don’t have to expend creative energy on meal planning. I find it much more fulfilling to focus my creative energy on playing with my son, dancing or visioning my next project.
How do you figure out what really matters to you?
One way could be to buy three magazines which represent different parts of your character. Cut out pictures and phrases which represent things which are already in your life which provide nourishment or things you would like more of to create a visual image of your ideal balanced life.
Reflect on what you could let go of in order to include more of what would bring you joy.
I have found the work of Tim Ferris really inspiring some tips which have helped me:
- Batch tasks where possible eg. if you have bank transfers to do save them up + do them all at once. Similarly with non urgent text messages and emails
- “Follow periods of focused activity with quiet reflection” Peter Drucker. Set a timer for 1 hour spend this time doing focused work when the timer goes off take 10 minutes to reflect on what the next tasks should be. This can help us to maximise productivity by accessing our wiser “right brain” thinking. Explore the work of Iain McGilchrist for more on this.
- Make the most of small pockets of time by planning ahead what you will do. Rest is a valid use of time!
- Try dividing tasks into four segments, urgent important, urgent not important, important not urgent and not important and not urgent. Try to spend time each day in “important not urgent” this is likely to mean you are growing your business, yourself or something else important to you!