Are you struggling to keep all the plates spinning? 

I’ve been there, done that and sometimes still do so.

It can be so hard to prioritise everything and everyone, especially as a working mother, and then find time for yourself without feeling guilty. Although it seems counter- intuitive to take time for self-care, it is so important.

Firstly, I’m going to suggest that there is never any need to feel guilty about taking time for yourself.

Time for your own self-care is essential and is not an optional luxury. It has taken me more than 20 years to realise that a lot of my ill-health has been caused by burnout. If things are not going well for you, it will be reflected on what you do and your impact. It can lead to overwork and stress, which leads to less productivity, not more.

What’s the most important thing you have to do today? 

If you drop one plate, what will the consequences be?

Failing to do one thing may affect something elsewhere. So it’s essential to assess the

risk of which plates you can safely drop today and which ones must keep spinning.

Plan and prioritise. 

Easy to say and harder to do, I know. What do you need to do, what do you want to do and by when?

I’ve started using my diary properly now. It helps me to see at a glance what gaps there may be and where I am filling it up too much.

My diary helps me to remember things, which I find so hard at times, especially when

I’m overworking.

It’s also important to keep only one diary. If you use paper dairies, calendars, online and bits of paper, it can become confusing very quickly, so it’s worth ensuring there is one master diary where everything is transferred at the same time each day.

Time Audits. 

Look carefully at how you spend your time and keep a notepad with you to write it down. It’s amazing how much time you can save when you know what you’re doing. What can you change?

Time Blocking. 

Blocking out time for different tasks can be really helpful, both at work and at home. When you do this, it’s worth being realistic and not trying to fit too many tasks into too short a time. I’ve found colour coding helps; one colour for home and a different one for work.

Now I know this is not easy with a child or children at home, so maybe with them, break tasks into smaller times with them. It certainly works more easily at work and if you ask your colleagues not to disturb you for that time. Phones can be on record mode and notifications on your computer can be turned off. Even if you cannot do this for all of your working day, it’s worth doing it for part of it.

Delegate wherever possible. 

What can be delegated and to whom?

We all know that no-one will look after your child or cook exactly the way you do. The thing is, how much difference matters? If a friend or relative offers help – my advice is grab it with both hands. It may not be your way, but it can be the difference between overload and time to rest.

At work, you may find you’re always the person who is asked ‘can you just do….’? You have more notes than you can handle. So maybe the answer could be ‘no’, or even ‘I’m sorry, I don’t have the capacity for that right now’. In your own job, what can be delegated? Give and take can go such a long way at work.

Create a Routine. 

Creating a routine can be really helpful. It can provide some form of structure to your day, even if that revolves around what you do first thing in the morning and planning meals and drinks. It’s not always easy when you have distractions, but can help you manage your time when you return to the routine and can reduce overwhelm.

I’ve been there in the overwhelm when there seems to be no time. All of the above tips have helped me and I hope they can help you too.

 This article was written by Maggie Roderick one of our partner coaches who helps women see their abilities, review their work beliefs and increase their confidence to enable them to reach the career goals they deserve and want. You can find out more and get in touch with Maggie via her profile page.