Parent or not – how do you fight Time Poverty? 

Clear Glass With Red Sand Grainer

Firstly, a few interesting FACTS! 

The Modern Families Index 2017 (nearly 3,000 participants from the UK) has revealed that over 60% of parents have some flexible working arrangements due to childcare. However, 80% of parents feel they don’t have either enough money or time, or both, to fully enjoy their family life. This shows that although most of the parents work flexible hours, there is still “… a clear desire for more flexibility in working time, and control of it, suggesting a ‘flexibility gap’ – with parents wanting more flexibility than is available to them.” 

According to the research, most parents do some overtime in the evenings or at weekends. Parents admitted that this is the only way to deal with their large workload. So working from home, agile working – these are not the solutions to work-life balance problem.

Childcare and domestic responsibilities prevented 49% of the parents from being able to take up some physical activity and 43% complained that they were so busy there was no time to organise a healthy diet on an everyday basis.

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Approximately 50% of parents feel constantly stressed and burnt out by work. The participants were asked how they dealt with it and there were three main answers: they take annual leave, sick leave or reduce their hours.

How many times a day or a week do you try to incorporate some time for yourself, your interests, or your own projects? I’m really interested in the answers. You see, that’s what I struggle with quite often and that’s the reason I haven’t written here for a while. Life with a small baby and a five year old is beautiful but is also incredibly busy , especially if you are trying your best to ensure that you don’t just meet basic children’s needs but also take care of their personal development, learning, physical activities.

Most days I’m up at 6am and until around 8pm-ish I rush with everything- cleaning, cooking, shopping, sorting out stuff like arranging a GP appointment or washing machine repair. And then I plan to do my stuff in the evening, even if by saying my stuff I mean just reading for a bit, but by the time the evening comes I’m so tired that I can’t manage to do anything else that would need my brain to understand, create or analyse anything I do or read. 

However, I do fight for a bit of Me Time most of the week, and well, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but usually I feel happy if I manage to get any bit of time for writing, learning photography or just simply having a nap during the day! Due to my very active lifestyle I have become really interested in the time poverty topic and sometimes I wonder how other people juggle their responsibilities and keep on top of their work-life balance; whether others find time for themselves or whether they are TRYING to find time for themselves and how hard they do that, and how far they would go. Do they arrange childcare to go to the gym or do they try to do something for themselves only when the children go sleep? And if they do, do they have a plan for every week or is it more of a spontaneous thing when they try to catch every opportunity that they get? Do some people want time for themselves but give up on this dream as it’s too hard to incorporate into their life…??

Round Gold-colored Black Analog Watch With Grey Leather Band

Well, I feel that my children are priority No.1, but at the same time I feel I can’t simply give up on my personal development or interests for, say, 10 years, until the children are bigger and I can spend some time on my stuff. So, it’s hard because it’s like a continuous everyday fight for a piece of space where I can rest or do something I like but that doesn’t necessarily involve my kids (like simply reading a book). Some days it seems impossible and yet in my opinion, if children see parents doing some creative work, or exercising it actually sets them a good example to follow – that we should devote some time to take care of ourselves.

Lifelong learning, passions, being physically active – many research studies have shown these aspects to be CRUCIAL to people’s happiness levels. Children want to see us happy rather than grumpy. I hope 😉

It’s the XXIst  century and we know that a woman’s place is not in the kitchen and that they have equal rights to their partners; more dads contribute to looking after children than ever before … and yet, there are many who judge women for being selfish and not putting 110% of their time solely into family life and childcare. This makes things worse because some women like me may not only struggle to find so-called ME TIME on an everyday basis but they also feel stigmatised by other people who don’t understand their need for personal development or perhaps don’t have any interests themselves. Some of you may say we shouldn’t care about the opinions of others and I agree but, on the other hand, we are social creatures and our emotions often trigger automatic reactions (like anxiety or anger) in our bodies before we have time to analyse and think logically about a situation. So we can try to not care but it isn’t always that easy. 

The concept of free time seems like an illusion, and yet, we all need some time to recharge.

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So yes, life with children is like a rollercoaster. If you are in a similarly extremely busy period of your life, are you able to find some time for yourself and do you use any time-management or organisational techniques that help you with your routine or perhaps the lack of it?pastedGraphic.png I have a magnetic calendar on my fridge that I can’t imagine life without! 😉 All appointments, events, birthdays, and reminders go there. Oh dear, I would be so lost without it! I’d love to hear how you deal with this! 🙂

Attitude is the KEY

I’ve started to exercise a little and drink a lot more water recently and this helps me to stay more positive and energetic for longer during the day. A friend of mine said that she would also like to start exercising to lose her post-pregnancy weight but I’ve noticed that quite often she feels overwhelmed, as though losing a bigger amount of weight while looking after two small children is almost like mission impossible.

I think that the first thing that bring us closer to reaching our goals is our ATTITUDE. Your mindset, attitude and outlook are more than critical in reaching your goals. Any goals that you set for yourself.

Without the right mindset and positive attitude you won’t ever start. Without them, what else will keep you motivated during your journey? How will you overcome any problems and challenges?

Try to not worry too much about the current situation if it isn’t the best and focus on what you can do to change this. Attitude can take you a long way. It can help you to “move mountains” and, as Robert T. Kiyosaki said in his book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, remember that your thoughts are actually responsible for creating your life. You CAN live the life you want. You CAN do what you enjoy and achieve what you dream about.

The attitude is the key and this is emphasised by many successful people too.

You’ve probably heard or read some famous quotes, such as the one by Henry Ford:

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

The best book I’ve ever read in the field of psychology, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (available here), also stresses how the way you look at things and respond to different situations is important because this determines whether you will be (or rather allow yourself to be) a successful and happy human being.

Negative situations, bad circumstances, not enough resources (such as time or money) – that happens to EVERYONE in the world. EVERYONE. Yet, some people achieve a lot, even though it looks like everything is against them, even though they have no money and not much time etc. and some others choose (consciously or not) to use these unsatisfactory aspects and lack of resources as excuses.

An incredibly successful writer no-one had heard of around a decade ago, Haruki Murakami, had a full-time job and family, and hadn’t really much time for writing but enjoyed it so much that one day he decided he would spend 2 hours on writing every day after work. Now Haruki, whenever he decides to write a new book, gets up very early in the morning and spends 4-6 hours on writing. Every single day for a few weeks: 4-6 hours daily! Do you remember how energy draining and at the same time how rewarding it feels when you write a long essay? Haruki admits that spending so much time on writing his books is hard but without that he wouldn’t achieve his goals. And achieving goals is incredibly satisfying 😉 What’s interesting, although he is already 69, is that he enjoys running a lot and takes part in marathons. It helps to clear his mind, increase his energy and improve the creativity that is needed to write great books!

Image result for haruki murakami

Getting the right attitude is a crucial step before we decide what our priorities are and make plans!

You can do more than you think you can with a bit of hard work and consistency. You will need to get inspired and motivated. You will need to spend some time on your goals. You may need to make some sacrifices BUT remember that wherever you are right now, if you don’t know where to start, and if your situation looks overwhelming – you start with your attitude. You think of your outlook first.

How to improve your mindset and get the right attitude?

Try to keep all the negative thoughts away.

Try meditation.

Try to worry less.

Try to stay inspired and motivated by others and the things they create.

Try to connect/re-connect with nature as much and as often as you can.

Try exercising a bit every single day to stay energetic and positive for longer!

There is a lot you can do to improve your mindset and start working on your goals with the right attitude.

Just remember what the KEY is!

 

DO NOT WORRY CHALLENGE!

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Have you ever thought how often you ACTUALLY worry about something? If you haven’t started to pay attention to it yet you may want to do a little experiment and write down a number (in order) every time a thought that comes to your mind can be classified as worrying about something – doesn’t matter what:

past – that you can’t change something, that you made a fool of yourself, that you should have done this or that project or task or assignment better

present – that you hadn’t time to wash your hair or do your nails and you don’t look good enough, that you have too little energy again, that you don’t have enough money

future – you don’t have anything to wear for the interview tomorrow, you won’t manage to do a task on time and the deadline is coming, you won’t ever achieve anything great because you haven’t got enough time!

We think a lot! According to science we have up to 70,000 thoughts a day! What’s interesting, many researchers agree that most of these thoughts we had the day before too and even up to 80% is negative thinking and worrying! 

The average person tends to worry A LOT about their financial situation. You probably often hear from your family members or friends, or read online that:

  • someone would have been happier if they had more money,
  • someone could pay off their debts with a higher salary and put an end to their sleepless nights,
  • someone could buy a house for their sick mother … if only they had more money.

There are hundreds of these examples that you hear about every day, proving how important money is in our lives. Now, it’s true it is important although it isn’t the most important thing, and as academic studies found – winning a lottery would improve your wellbeing levels YES but only for a few months. After the initial euphoria that may last a few weeks or months your happiness level would go back to its usual level.

We think that money is a magic pill that will solve all our problems, that this is the key to our happiness but actually we realise how wrong we were just when we lose something more important like health or family, or a best friend.

buy, cash, coins

Now, if money isn’t the key to happiness and by worrying about it all the time every day on every possible occasion we can’t magically change the amount of pounds or dollars in our wallets – why worry SO MUCH about that?

By thinking about how broke you are you won’t improve anything. Full stop. The end.

The richest people say that they don’t work for money but money works for them. What they mean is that they focus on their passions and goals and work hard for their success. They do not concentrate solely on money as this would not lead them where they are because, as studies also show, money IS NOT a strong enough motivation to ensure that we reach our goals. Some people focus so much on money and get frustrated about it that they think about it more than about the work that needs to get done to help them reach their goals! And it’s a vicious cycle as you can imagine.

Of course we don’t worry just about our money. We also worry a lot about things that are important to us, e.g. teenagers worry about their look a lot and mothers worry about their children, their health and development a great deal. You may be worried that you’ll get fired at your job and someone else may be worried about their grades at university. You may be worrying about a possible injury when taking up a new sport or about being late for a train that you should take to be at a meeting on time. We worry that it’s rainy; we worry that it’s too hot and sunny; we worry that we won’t get this new, better job; we worry when we get a good job (Will I be good enough? Will I meet their requirements? I don’t have the knowledge I should have to start this new job … What if they discover that?!); we worry when we can’t afford to travel; we worry when we travel because of various risks and so on … a never-ending story, right?

aerial, aerial view, aeroplane

Whatever it is that you worry about, if you pay attention to your thoughts on a daily basis for, let’s say, 7 days you will notice that you worry more often and about a lot more aspects in your life than you thought you did! That is why the DO NOT WORRY CHALLENGE is especially hard. A lot harder than, for instance, the 100 SQUATS A DAY FOR A MONTH CHALLENGE that I’m doing.

The DO NOT WORRY CHALLENGE is possible but as with meditation you need to practise it daily.

Try to do 24 hours of the CHALLENGE and let me know in the comments what you think about it and how it went.

I’ve done the challenge and I must say it feels great. I have to work on extending the challenge for more than just 24 hours and try to implement this way of thinking in my life. It will be a difficult task because, according to some research, changing a habit can take from a few up to … approximately 250 days depending on the person! What if I need nearly a year to make my habit work and do it automatically?! Well, I guess it’s worth trying! Surely I don’t lose anything by worrying less. Some worry is natural and perhaps even needed (to prepare well for an exam or a trip) but human beings tend to over worry often! And this drains our energy and make us negative, miserable and tired.

If you want to join the challenge remember that it is easy to forget that you are doing this! In the first weeks it’s good to have some notes as reminders around you – in your wallet, on a mirror, on your desk or fridge.

Should you try it?

WHY NOT?!

 

Good luck folks! 😉

How I discovered some new passions

White Printing Paper Near Black Computer Keyboard

I haven’t written for a while because since giving birth to my second child I have been having a few sleepless nights, lots of responsibilities and little time for anything. I don’t like to use time as an excuse so maybe I should re-word it and say that I had time but there were other priorities for me. Even organising my house better was more important than reading and writing for a while. Cleaning doesn’t seem as productive and developing as writing or reading but hey… sometimes we need to be flexible and change our priorities for a while because there is often a lot more on our plates than just taking care of our hobbies.

I’ve always tried to ensure that my passions don’t get pushed aside and that my life won’t be taken over by mundane activities, such as cooking, shopping, cleaning and work; but I guess sometimes we can control our lives a bit more than other times as it is more complex than we may want, especially if we live with people that depend on us in some way.

Anyway, the responsibilities I have had haven’t only been the boring or hard ones after all. With the birth of my second child I had to devote a large proportion of my days to taking care of children: changing nappies and breastfeeding the little one and finding & making up some games and activities I could do with my 4-year-old daughter so I could still spend some quality time with her, and hopefully make her less jealous of the new mini-boss in da house! 😉 It actually turned out better than I thought it would – more fun, more interesting. Even though I’m in my 30s I’ve been learning a lot while doing some science experiments and different activities with my child.

Did you know, for example, that adding some hot water to skittles can create a beautiful rainbow?

And that mixing bicarbonate of soda and vinegar will create a little volcano that your child will love? And that adding a bit of vanilla extract will get rid of all the vinegar smell in your house when you are doing this experiment?

Did you know that foam sheets such as those soaked in water for a bit can stick to your window for up to 48 hours? I cut a lot of small pieces in various shapes for my daughter so she could create people, robots, flowers and anything else that her imagination came up with!

Adding food colouring to pasta, rice or shaving foam can be a lot of fun too, especially for a pre-schooler who is still discovering new textures and shapes and exploring the variety the world offers.

Colorful Sweets

I bought some books with screen-free activities and our days have become more colourful and enjoyable than ever before! 😉 The book I like the most is 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com!

What’s more, I’ve created an Instagram account where I share some of these activities. I have family living in different countries – mainly in Poland and Brazil but also some in the USA, and it feels great when they can see what my daughter and I have been up to sometimes! 😉

If you would like to get some ideas for children’s activities have a look at my new Instagram page and follow us there: https://www.instagram.com/nathikc/ and don’t forget to let me know what you think about the activities!

BETTERING YOURSELF – a healthier perspective

achievement, confident, free

I have always enjoyed reading and learning about different aspects which contribute to our personal development: motivation, consistency, passion, grit, being prepared to face and learn from failures, accepting that we make mistakes, etc. I think this list can be endless as personal growth is a multifaceted, lifelong process. However, we aren’t perfect creatures and we can’t adhere to all these hundreds of rules and meet all the requirements all the time because we wish to grow successfully throughout our life. There are thousands of pieces of advice out there on the internet, TV, in magazines – each tells us something different:

– “To be able to improve yourself you MUST get up at 4am!”

– “To achieve success you HAVE TO sleep for 7-8hrs a day and be ready and prepared, ahead of your competition, all the time”

– ”To change your habit for a better one you NEED TO eat healthier/meditate and exercise more/be more confident/ work when others sleep”

There are LOTS of pieces of advice as to what we should do and what we must do, and what we definitely should not be doing, to make sure we are better human beings. BETTER … but what does it really mean?

When is the moment when you know that now you are good enough? Nobody seems to be talking about that …

Where are the boundaries to make sure that we are not getting trapped into perfectionism?

We aren’t and can’t be PERFECT but on the other hand humans have this inner drive and desire towards bettering themselves constantly.

To tackle this problem, I believe that allowing ourselves time to reflect, review and consider our values, goals and plans is crucial. Otherwise it’s easy to forget what we wanted to achieve and what we are really aiming for, and stress too much about the process and try to do more and better, and faster.

It’s important to take care of your personal development indeed, but it shouldn’t mean joining the rat race. Let others be part of it. You don’t need to be better in every single area of your life. Life is not a marathon or a competition. It’s about the journey, the process, the very moments when you are here and now. Let’s enjoy it a bit more.

When life and priorities change

It’s funny how productivity techniques work so fantastically well when you have a lot of time but just don’t really know how to organise yourself better, and how they fail to work when you are REALLY very busy.

Having a newborn is probably one of the most extreme circumstances when one lacks time, sleep, and a proper eating routine, suffers some memory problems and feels drained physically and mentally (especially when the baby has colic).

The great news is that I survived the terrible labour and that my baby is well!

The bad news is that, although a few weeks have passed since my son’s birth, I still don’t have a routine I’d find relatively stable and effective. Days are challenging, time passes incredibly quickly and I need to be very flexible. I feel I would like to devote a bit more time to my interests and exercising but working on wellbeing and parenting has become a priority right now.

In meantime I’ve been discovering some new activities and experiments I can do with my 4-year-old daughter. Some quality time for us is needed more than ever.

Have a look at some interesting ideas for children’s activities: here

How to cut out all meaningless stuff?

Yellow and White Ceramic Coffee Mug on Brown Wooden Surface With Black Eyeglasses

There are many tempting things in the world!

Every week try to cut off or limit something that doesn’t matter much to you but takes up your time—it may be complaining, Facebook, TV, gossiping or worrying about the future. Don’t feel bad though if you procrastinate a bit sometimes; according to research this is normal and everyone does it. It’s important not to feel guilty about it and make sure that it doesn’t take too much of your time and attention.

It’s easy to get into meaningless chats or meet with negative people not because we really want to but because for some reason we feel we should. When you start to say NO to some invitations you may lose some friends. But then, are they real friends if they don’t understand your need to work on something important to you so you can’t hang out with them as much as you used to?

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The average adult person who has children has for themselves only around 2 hours a day. Due to lack of energy these 2 hours are often spent in front of the TV in the evenings. Think how you can organise this time differently. Surely you need to rest a bit but, to tell the truth, TV isn’t a good method for gaining more energy. Maybe you could allow only half an hour a day for TV (and occasionally watch a film, say at weekends) and spend the remaining time on some exercises, such as yoga from a YouTube channel.

Exercise is a very effective cure for fatigue.

Way too often we spend our time also on… looking for different things. Try to be organised and dedicate a week or a whole month to de-cluttering your house. Plan what you will do each day to tidy your stuff up. A method by Marie Kondo is very popular and helpful nowadays. Have you heard of it yet?

  • Try to find a place for everything in your home and group things together. Don’t keep coins or hairpins in a lot of different places at home. One type of item = one place at your home.
  • Organising your clothes (including the ones in the laundry and in any other place at home), on the same day works wonders. Put into a bin everything you haven’t used for a few years but think that you “might use it one day’. If you didn’t need something for 4 years, do you really think you will need it now or in the near future?
  • Many of your documents, notes, and other similar things also could go in the bin. Don’t deceive yourself; some of these things you will never use or need again!

Try a meaningless stuff diet and see how well it tastes! 😉