I was recently asked a question by a client if I could have one wish granted what would it be? My answer was the ability to create more time. This answer seemed to surprise my client. “What makes YOU want more time? You’re always so organised, cool, calm and collected! Don’t you want more clients?!” I had a quiet smile to myself and replied with “I absolutely want more clients…but time is precious”
Allow me to paint you a picture. I run a successful business, I love what I do and I’m incredibly lucky to have found my purpose in life. I have a loving husband and two beautiful children. Our daughter is 6 and our son has just turned 1. I get to work from home in a dedicated office for a majority of my time. I get to see my family whenever I want. I know there are people out there reading this thinking “wow that sounds incredible I wish I could do that” and believe me, it is an amazing way of life. However…let us not forget Newton’s third law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
I wake up with my children, bleary eyed and in desperate need of a coffee (or three). My sparkling eyed and full of life daughter happily chats away about the dream she had with puppies, kittens, unicorns and a tree that grows chocolate apples that are both delicious AND a healthy choice (bless). My son who is learning to walk attempts to open the third drawer down in the kitchen for the 12th time before the kettle has finished boiling. My husband, equally bleary eyed but not quite needing as much coffee (possibly only two) stumbles out of bed and prepares to face the day with me. Together we make lunches, brush knotty hair (under protest), brush teeth (under protest), find clothes and dress wriggling kids (under protest) and a brisk kiss goodbye and hugs all round and our eldest is off to school.
I turn around and in the space of 5 minutes, my son has managed to terrify the cat (who is now hiding under what used to be a clean, folded pile of clothes), pull out three saucepans, pull out (and half eat) several baby wipes, pull down our collection of children’s books and is making a bee-line for the entertainment unit. In short…I’m surrounded by CHAOS.
It’s now 8am in the morning. Emails are starting to roll in and the phone starts ringing. I find myself in a conundrum. Do I spend the next half hour until my husband returns spending some quality one-on-one time with my son…or contain the chaos? I look at his cheeky smile as he proudly stumbles two entire steps unassisted and decide…the chaos can wait. It’s time to play with a monster truck, a sock puppet and make silly voices just to hear the sound of my son’s gorgeous laugh.
In what seems like too short a time, my husband returns home and it’s time to get to work. I’m showered, uniform pressed, office door closed, checking voicemails, checking emails, returning calls, checking social media engagement, picking up my prepared to-do list and off I go. I enter my parallel universe of hyper organisation, eager motivation, and smash my way through another epic work day feeling awesome.
3pm. The school home run. The traffic sucks. I’m running late (again). I need to pick up something for dinner, I’ve still got a heap of work to get done later tonight, I promised my husband I’d spend some time with him, I missed a call from a close friend, the laundry has piled up, the cat needs cleaning up after, the house is still chaos, I’m pretty sure our son is getting another tooth and our daughter lost her water bottle for the second time this week. I quickly stop to see some friends also picking up their kids and have some micro-socialisation. Agree that yes it has been too long since we all caught up properly, lament how nice a girly night together would be and woooosh off we go.
By this stage, our son has had enough of Daddy and wants some Mummy time. Our daughter groans about homework and like the multi-tasking genius I like to think I am, I attempt to cook dinner with a one year old superglued to my leg and helping our daughter spell out some tricky words. Have I mentioned it’s been previously scientifically proven that humans are completely incapable of multitasking? At least dinner is eatable and the house didn’t burn down when I turned on the wrong cooking element.
We eat dinner…or rather us adults and the eldest eat dinner…our youngest kind of just paints the table. I like to be optimistic and think that he’s an art prodigy experimenting with textile art forms (hahahahahahahahahaha) Next comes family time, lots of laughs, lots of cuddles, lots of chatting and guess what…lots more chaos. The kids get put to bed, and my husband and I sit down on the couch with an exhausted sigh. We look around and mention that we both intend to do something about the chaos. But we don’t. We talk, we connect, we laugh, we express.
9pm. My husband turns on the xbox to chill out with friends and do something fun. I look enviously and consider playing co-op for just a small half hour…but I don’t. I have more work to finish. I sit back down at my desk and SWEAR I’ll only do an hours work and have an early night. Too bad I’m a work addict. Suddenly my brain sparks back to life and I’m bursting with ideas and renewed energies. I totally obliterate a huge stack of work, kick some awesome goals and get totally swept up. Before I know it, it’s 1:30am and I’m kicking myself.
So…what’s the solution?
More time. Obviously, as much as I can achieve I’m not so awesome that I can literally materialise more time. But I can buy more time. In a few short weeks, the chaos is ebbing, I feel more in control, less torn about how to spend my precious time and so much more relaxed. Here’s how I did it:
1. I decided to hire an employee.
Was this a bit scary step? Absolutely. Is it worth it? Definitely! Suddenly I have more time to spend on growing the business, and servicing clients where my skills and expertise really come into their own. I’ve also just helped to contribute to a young mum’s life, take her under my wing and mentor her in the first steps of her career. I underestimated just how amazing that would feel.
2. I decided to hire a professional organiser.
Don’t laugh, it’s a real thing! The lady came to our house and observed our family in its native habitat. Was it embarrassing? A little bit. I did feel vulnerable at first. I remember thinking “Gosh this woman must think we are total pigs” but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. She took the time to understand our family unit, what is important to us, get rid of useless clutter and reorganise the space in a way that MAKES SENSE. I never even really considered that barely used kitchen utensils and appliances didn’t HAVE to remain stuffed in limited kitchen cupboard space. This wonderful angel of a woman set us up with a routine that actually works for us as a family. Even our 6 year old is in on it! No more smelly socks shoved under her bed! Hooray!
3. I hired a cleaner
There are so many lovely, friendly and inexpensive cleaning companies out there. I take my hat off to all those warriors out there. What they can achieve in such a short space of time and to the standard they can get it to is astounding. It’s completely worth it. In my eyes, our cleaner is not an expense, she’s an investment. A precious investment at that.
4. I shop online and have groceries delivered to our house.
For many years I SWORE I would never come over to the dark side of online shopping. I was wrong. So very very wrong. No more dragging bored kids through the aisles of doom. No more narrowly catching knocked over glass jars before they smash on the floor. No more having to ask my 6 year old to kindly stop spinning in circles for the 4th time. It’s quick, efficient, I can see how much I’m spending and decide if we REALLY need two packets of Tim Tams BEFORE I get to the checkout, have a mild heart attack and be too embarrassed to put the item back. No more trying to buckle kids into their car seats in the pouring rain without carving a new Grand Canyon into the car next to us as I try to squeeze into a space that my moderately curvaceous rear end is not suitable to fit into. Now shopping is click…click….click…wait. Done.
So, there you have it. Time. If I could have one wish granted it would be for more time. I’m the optimistic-glass-half-full kind of woman and never been content to sit around and wait for a miracle. So although money cannot buy you happiness, it CAN buy you more time.