As a former managing director of an advertising agency, Suzanne Acteson practically lived on planes. Even when her children were tiny, Suzanne traveled for work, spending one day every week flying domestically to visit clients, and often had her blinders on. She was knee-deep in it all and knew that something had to change. So she spent the next four years finding ways to simplify her and her family’s busy life so she could focus on what was most important to her. Suzanne shares the invaluable lessons she learned.
We can all achieve great things in business and with our careers, and it doesn’t have to be at the expense of spending enough quality time with our kids. We need to simplify life.
My busy family and career have caused me to prioritize what’s important and simplify many aspects of my life.
I’m teaching others to do the same: to help them find more space in their homes, schedules, and minds to do the things they love and that matter most.
Easy ways you can start to simplify life:
Learn to say ‘no’
Your weekly schedule is a key place to start simplifying. Being super selective about what you commit to can help you feel less stretched and give you more time to spend with your kids, partner, or yourself. Learning to stop saying ‘yes’ to too many work activities will help you enormously. Gain a little more control of what you take on.
Are there any car-pooling opportunities with other parents whose children also go to soccer, dance, or football? If you can share the pick-ups and drop-offs, this can potentially free up one to two hours in an evening or weekend!
Seize opportunities to squeeze in ‘me’ time
While the kids do their activity, can you go for a walk, listen to a cup-filling podcast or read a book? Don’t just sit in the car and scroll!
While waiting, stop
When you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, for your computer to load, for the kids at the door in the morning; stop, close your eyes and breathe. This really helps. During the day, try this 10 times for one to two minutes and you’ll notice how you reset each time. Instead of scrolling on your phone while you wait (energy zapping!), you’re actually fuelling your brain and body instead. It takes practice but it will become a habit before long.
It’s so important to schedule time with yourself to do the things you love. What really makes you feel good? What makes you happy and joyful? These are the things we need to schedule and make sure we’re doing each week. I actually schedule my walks, baking (yes, it relaxes me!), and writing. In my diary, I schedule 30 or 60 minutes for these things at least three times a week so I make sure they happen. If it’s a super crazy week, then they come in five or 10-minute increments, but they are in the diary otherwise they don’t happen!
So, the tips above all have to do with your time and your schedule and are ways of simplifying and focusing on what’s important to you. Simplifying is also super impactful when done in the home and the mind. Many working and non-working parents tell me they are overwhelmed and stressed with the juggle of it all, that they want to declutter their homes and schedules, but often don’t know where to start. Start by implementing some or all of the tips above.
Written by Suzanne Acteson. Suzanne is an entrepreneur, coach, writer, and speaker helping busy women better manage the juggle of work and life, and learn to reconnect with what matters most. Connect with Suzanne via Instagram or Facebook.