Who is most squeezed for time these days? I can make a pretty good argument that today’s mothers and fathers are more squeezed than just about anyone else. In fact my book, This is Not How I Thought It Would Be: Remodeling Motherhood to Get the Lives We Want Today has a whole chapter on time titled Pits and Privates: Or Why Am I Obsessed with Saving Time? You’ll have to pick up the book to get the scoop on the “pits and privates reference, but here are a few bullets on families and time.
- Families with two parents employed today are working 500 more hours per year than families with two parents employed put in in the late 1970’s.
- Employed mothers today spend just as much time with their kids as non-employed mothers did in the late 70’s, and non-employed mothers today spend even more.
- Fathers have doubled their childcare time and tripled their housework time since the late 70’s.
In this scenario, managing minutes becomes futile. That’s why I was so glad to see this post today on the Harvard Business Review‘s blog, Six Ways to Supercharge Your Productivity from Tony Schwartz, author and leader of The Energy Project. I know it’s designed for a business audience, yet I get so much more value from Tony’s advice for managing family life than from any of my women’s magazines. My magazines try to help me manage TIME – tips for exercising in ten minutes, dinners in twenty, cleaning the bathroom while I use it. Tony’s advice contains research backed strategies for managing ENERGY. I quote his book The Power of Full Engagement in my chapter on time and this post is such a great summary of the key strategies.
- Make sufficient sleep a top priority.
- Create one to-do list.
- Do the most important thing first.
- Live like a sprinter, not a marathoner.
- Monitor your mood.
I find I can apply these strategies to both my home life and my employed life. I chunk my paid work into 90 minute blocks (sprinter) and am so much more productive than if I try to go for longer. I chunk my time with my daughter too – trying to fully engage with her and then let us both recharge and refuel in other ways.
How about you? Do you have strategies for managing energy at home and on the job? Does your workplace support these strategies for managing energy?