Help! I Need Somebody…

If there is one thing I have learned in twenty years of marriage, eighteen years of parenting, and one year of working two careers, it’s this:

I cannot do it all.

Help I need somebody

We live in a culture where military families are not the only ones who live long distances from their extended family members. We are rarely surrounded by the support systems our grandparents had when raising their own families. On top of that, more and more families find they simply cannot meet their financial demands on a single income. {There is plenty of room for discussion about whether that is always a result of income or spending, but let’s save that for another post}. Despite the shift in culture, there seems to be a complex in America that we are only a good wife/mom/employee if we do it all. Home management, financial management, career, parenting, marriage, shopping, friendships…

The clock does not magically extend to 25 hours per day because we try to stay up an extra hour to get one more thing done. The kids keep growing whether or not we have time to bargain shop for new clothes. Our marriages cannot flourish if we become roommates instead of lovers.

I don’t know what your situation is, I just know my own. I know there are at least 100 different tasks and priorities I can be given in a single day. I’m known for exaggeration but that statement is quite literal, don’t challenge me to list it all because I promise I could. I could attempt, feebly, to tackle all of those demands. Even if I managed to squeak them out, I would certainly not do them all with excellence.

The 24 hours won’t change, only how I spend them.

Spending truly is the right word. Everything we do costs us some of those precious 24 hours each day. We choose more wisely when we budget that time in advance. Imagine spending every hour, on paper, before the month begins. {Yep, I went all Dave Ramsey on you there} 

Seriously though, what if we decided the day before or the week before, what was most important to us and our spouse? What if we chose, at least most of the time, how to meet our days with our priorities?

I believe most of us can manage the planning, it’s the execution that leaves us stumbling.

Dave Ramsey has some great advice for us. Yes, he said it in relation to money, but I think the same is true for our time. In planning an irregular income, Ramsey recommends that you list the expenses you have in priority of payment. So food, shelter, utilities, transportation, and so on. Once you run out of money, anything that falls below that line in your list doesn’t get paid that month. We can do this with our time.

That list of 100 things is likely going to see 6-8 completed on a given day. But I have another option, I can buy someone else’s time! {Hint, you can too!} Maybe you need to let go of pre-conceived notions and hire someone to clean the house once a month. Perhaps you are spending time on tasks for your business which, while necessary, can be accomplished by a teenager or college student while you hold appointments to increase revenue.

Or maybe you just need to have a heart-to-heart with your spouse and ask how he thinks you can change the responsibilities in your home. {Maybe he doesn’t care if the socks are folded and put away, as long as they are clean in a basket!} Maybe you can swap with another mom: one day having a playgroup time at her house where you help her catch up on laundry followed the next week at your home.

Be creative, be determined, but be flexible. Maybe the solution to that overwhelming feeling is to just. get. help. I will be doing just that over the next month. My goal is to stay on track with our financial goals while spending the few hours I have each day for my family with energy and intention. My business is growing so I’m getting some help for the office tasks. Part of my Life: Simplified focus for 2014 will involve hiring out jobs that do not need to be done by me personally.

What are you doing so far to stay on track with your own 2014 goals?