Yes, I know. We all are too busy. There is just never enough time. We all need more minutes, hours and days to get everything done. Lately I feel like I am struggling more to try and get everything done. Palo Alto Software is in the middle of a very good, very exciting time, about to launch some new products. But this means that I am swamped at work and not only am I not getting through my daily To Do list, I don’t even seem to even be able to get through my inbox. This much to do at work naturally then overflows into my time at home. I don’t want it to affect the time I spend with my kids, so it has basically eaten away at the very little precious ME time I have.
I have found unfortunately what has gone out the window during these extremely busy times is my daily workout. I know – I shouldn’t let my health be what suffers. And I do at least workout out 2-3 times a week. But these days, when I am running like crazy it ME time that seems to suffer. I am lucky enough to have workout equipment in my basement so that I can work out after the kids have gone to bed. But these days I am trying to get everything I didn’t get to done after the kids go to bed, and still attempting to go to bed by 11pm in order to not be exhausted. So last night for instance was TAX night. My husband and I dug through our mess of papers in the “to file” pile to get everything we needed together for our CPA. Try as I may to still get my workout in, the idea of working out at 10pm is just exhausting. If I don’t get on the StairMaster by 9pm all my resolve goes out the window.
That being said, there are some things I have found help me get “me” time:
- Buying good used workout equipment for my house. I also have an old TV set up in the basement and attached to our cable so that I can watch trashy TV while I work out. It makes this time seem luxurious to me.
- I try and go to the grocery store BY MYSELF. Yes I know it sounds pathetic that I consider this ME time. But those of you who have shopped with 2 kids under 3 years old know what I mean. My time alone in the store feels luxurious.
- On weekends I have stopped trying to do household chores while the kids nap. Instead I use that as “me” time. If I am ultra exhausted I nap with them. If I am still standing and have the energy I work out. I DO NOT do laundry, clean, or organize during this time. This is my “ME” time
- I do employ a weekly house cleaner. As I see it, one of the upsides of having both parents work is that you should be able to allocate 30-60 per week to have someone come help you do the really deep cleaning. the last thing my husband and i want to do on a weekend is argue about who needs to clean the toilets this week. We decided we would reduce our “entertainment” budget and allocate it to cleaning instead. We go out to dinner less and we buy fewer new things for ourselves. But our house stays relatively clean, we get our weekends off, and we have one less thing to argue about.
- When my parents offer to take the kids for a day, or a night. We say yes! Our kids are finally getting old enough to spend the night at their grandparents house. My parents have been nice enough to offer to take them every 8 weeks or so. When they offer, we say yes. No matter what else we had planned for that weekend – we change things, adjust them, and take the time for the 2 of us.
- The very few times I have the business reason to go somewhere overnight by myself – I try not to feel guilty and take the opportunity. This has only happened once the last 4 years, and will happen for the second time this weekend. I do feel guilty. I do feel like I should not go by myself. BUT I know that it is good for me to have a little bit of time to myself. I am going to San Francisco for a conference (Women in Leadership at The Haas School in Berkeley), where I know a lot of people, and where all my girlfriends have set up an adult, “girls night out.’ Guilty as I feel right now – I know I will have a blast tomorrow night!
To be honest – I don’t always follow my own guidelines. BUT at least I have some, and at least I try! I know that I can’t DO IT ALL. But if I play my cards right, I give the appearance that I can do it all, while still having a successful career, and spending lots of time with my kids!