“Barbara, I don’t understand why I am having such a hard time scheduling our coaching sessions” said Sheila, a 52 year-old empty nester. “I thought that when the kids were gone I would have time to do all the things that I put off when they were younger. My job hasn’t changed… I don’t know where all the “extra” hours have gone.”
Well Sheila, you are not alone. In fact, that is one of the most common complaints I hear from my midlife clients. After years of scheduling their own lives around their kids schedules, many mom’s wonder where the extra hours have gone.
Sheila agreed to analyze how she spends her time, and this is what she found.
1. Staying longer at work. When the kids were home she left the office on time most nights. Knowing that she HAD to leave on time, she was more task oriented during the day. These days she checks social media and personal emails throughout the day
2. Less structure. When the kids were home she scheduled her exercise and errands in between driving the kids to their activities. These days she cancels exercise when “something comes up” knowing that she can reschedule it for another day. The result: She has been exercising less and less.
3. Agreeing to do things that she does not want to do. When the kids were home Sheila had limited “extra” time. She only said yes to things that were important to her. She was more comfortable saying no to other requests because her time was so limited. These days Sheila agrees to do things she is not interested in because she doesn’t feel she has a good reason to say no.
4. Highly involved in caring for her aging parents. Sheila’s parents need more help than they did when her children were younger. Sheila takes her parents to almost all medical appointments and coordinates their care giving and finances. She avoids scheduling classes and activities that interest her for fear that her parents will need her. She does not feel justified finding other options “JUST” to do something she enjoys.
How about you? Do your own time analysis to see where your “extra time” is going. Which of Sheila’s struggles can you relate to?
Once she understood what was happening, Sheila was ready to take some action. Here is what she did.
Sheila’s Action Steps:
- Sheila committed to leaving work on time two of the four days she works. She shut off social media during her workday and limited checking/responding to personal emails to her lunch break.
- Sheila signed up for exercise classes that met at a pre-determined time for eight-week sessions. She could not reschedule the class if “something came up”. Paying for the whole session meant that she would lose $ if she did not go. Sheila does not like to lose $.
- Sheila made a list of the causes that resonate with her and the type of giving back work that she likes to do. She also decided how much time she is comfortable giving each month. She now uses this litmus test to determine when she will say YES.
- Sheila is beginning to think about how she would like to spend her time. For now she is allowing herself to dream and following the steps in my article “Finding And Defining Your Callings”. In the next few months she will see where this takes her.
- Sheila has begun to look at all the things that she does for her parents. She is prioritizing what things she thinks are most important and contemplating what can be delegated. This is a work in progress (check for full article on this in the future).
- Sheila misses the regular contact she had with her contemporaries when her kids were growing up. She saw other parents regularly at sporting and school events, driving carpools, dance recitals, and shows. She wants to know how other midlife women are handling these issues, especially dealing with aging parents. Sheila also wants to have fun, learn from and enjoy being with her peers again. Sheila has signed up to come to my MIDLIFE REINVENTION WEEKEND RETREAT in Vermont from November 3-5, 2017. There are a few spots left. You can sign up HERE.
What time saving action steps can you take to live a life that feeds your soul? Let us know how it worked. If you would like some help creating and accountability following through with your plan email me at Barbara@barbarawassermancoaching.com to set up a strategy session.
For those of you who would like to make more connections with other midlife women, I invite you to join my Midlife Reinvention Facebook Group. You will gain access to training and resources from me and connect to almost 300 like-minded midlife women who inspire and support one another as they navigate and create their most fulfilling next acts.