Updated 10 July 2014

So much to do - so little time?

There are just not enough hours in the day and you feel as if you are being pulled in five different directions. Where will you find more time?


There are just not enough hours in the day and you feel as if you are being pulled in five different directions. Where will you find more time? How can you possibly deal with everything that’s coming your way?

There are many things you can do.

Plan ahead. Try to avoid making three separate trips to the chemist, the video shop and the supermarket. If you know you have to organise someone to pick up your child on Thursday from soccer practise, don’t leave it until Wednesday night to do something about it.

Stay out of office politics. Your life is full and busy and you simply don’t have time to get worked up about what the secretary does in her two-hour lunch breaks or whether Ms A or Ms B should get the promotion.

Make to-do lists. It is much easier to work your way through a list than to try and remember frantically what the last two things were you had to do while you are stuck in the traffic or working to deadline at the office.

Do things immediately. The telephone call to the insurance company, the principal of the school or the medical aid society ends up taking you ten minutes – after you spent three days agonizing about it.

Buy household necessities in bulk. This will avoid desperate trips to the 24-hour-shop (read expensive) at midnight to buy toiletpaper, baby food, cat food, tampons, bread, milk or headache tablets.

Pay bills when shopping. Kill two birds with one stone. Or, pay them using internet banking services if you can. Pay these in advance. There is nothing as stressful as finding your power has been cut half an hour before your in-laws arrive for supper.

Check kids' extramurals. Put a copy of this on the fridge and carry one with you. Between karate, soccer, swimming lessons and netball, it is easy to get confused.

Write down important telephone numbers. Storing them in your cellphone only is not a good idea. If it gets stolen, you could be stranded and might never be able to get hold of your friend in Pofadder, or your good business contact in Newcastle, again.

Make permanent arrangements with domestic workers. This cuts out the possibilities of confusion and chaos. In this way, you know exactly what to expect and you can plan ahead.

Be pro-active with regards to health. Take a good multivitamin, get flu shots before the winter and try and have a standing arrangement with someone who could look after your children if they are ill. Don’t wait until a condition gets serious before you do something about it. It often costs a lot more to intervene at a later stage of an illness.

Get a tax consultant. It will cost you a couple of hundred, but could save you thousands. It also cuts out the aggravation of trying to figure out the form and trying to get it in on time.

Learn to say ‘No’. If you try and do too much, you will end up suffering from burnout and you will be of no use to anyone. Furthermore you will not be pleasant company. People will not dislike you for saying ‘No’ – they will rather respect you for your honesty.

First things first. So often we become bogged down with the small things, that we lose sight of the bigger picture. We rush off to buy dog food, get caught in the traffic and then cannot make that all-important call, because office hours are over.

Plan your relaxation time. Unless this fits in somewhere in your day, you will be unable to continue functioning in the long run. You will start suffering from stress, look older and start suffering from all sorts of stress-related conditions, such as insomnia or skin problems.

Learn to delegate. Husbands and children will generally do as little in and around the house as you are prepared to let them. Have a family meeting and ask for their input and ideas – your family will more likely co-operate if they were instrumental in deciding who does what.

Don’t take on unnecessary problems. Most of us should get an honorary PHD in ‘Lying awake about someone else’s problems’. If you are not causing the problem, there is little you can do to change it. While a certain measure of concern is in order, anxiety attacks about things beyond your sphere of control cannot have any positive spinoffs for you. On the contrary.

Know where your keys are. A hook near the front door for your keys could save you much time. Who hasn't spent hours looking for the keys only to find them firmly nestled into the cushions of the couch? Put the hook high enough to be beyond the reach of toddlers. - (Susan Erasmus, Health24, July 2003)

Photo: Alarm clock from Shutterstock


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