Guest post by Nat Panzarino
Often people ask me “How do you manage it all?” How do I answer that question? My house is a mess, I outsource what I can, I have very little “downtime” and a comprehensive to-do list!
I have always been an over-committer. Truth be told, I don’t have a very long attention span, so it pays off to have a lot of different things on the go so that I can switch to another activity when one has me stuck or has become a bit of a bore. Running a not-for-profit , volunteering for another charity, owning a business, having a ‘real’ job, and raising two young kids is busy.
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So why, when I was on maternity leave from my teaching job to have my second baby, did I decide to commit to writing and self-publishing a picture book via crowdfunding? Maybe I am nuts. But I love a challenge and it has been a great journey, and I feel proud to have been able to produce “Pointy Pembleton Visits the Dog Park” a great story for kids about diversity and inclusion that also raises money for Greyhound Rescue, a charity the rescues and rehomes greyhounds.
‘Juggling’ is a really good term for it. But the thing is, when you juggle many things like I do, from time to time you will drop one. And that’s okay! Like in the circus, the show must go on! Also- to push the metaphor- it is fine to just put one of them down for a little while to give yourself the space you need.
My top 5 tips for juggling work and kids:
- Keep lists of things that you need to do and upcoming commitments. Too easily, things slip your mind once you’re busy. I use a Bullet Journal but whatever system you use it needs to be one that works for you and it needs to be one that you will actually use! This helps you to do things in the most efficient way possible, as you know exactly the tasks that you need to achieve, and to schedule. Try to offset your busy periods so that you’re not slammed with 1000 things at once.
- Know your strengths and use them to your best advantage. If there’s something that you know you aren’t good at then delegate. What can you outsource? Recently, I made the household washing entirely my husband’s responsibility. I literally don’t have to think about that now. One less thing! Build a good team and value them.
- Who can you rope in to help you out? Often, people genuinely want to help with stuff, and the worst thing that can happen when you ask for help is that someone says no. In which case, you’re no worse off than you were before. So ask. You’ll be surprised. This can also be an extension to knowing your strengths! Barter your services when it suits.
- Prioritise, and be unflinching on your priorities. Compromise is great, and is really what makes the world go around, but be realistic about the “not negotiables” in your life and stick to your guns. Being busy is too easily a road to letting your priorities slide. Put your foot down.
- Keep learning. Especially from your mistakes, but in order to save time, learn from other people’s A little bit of research and preparation goes a long, long way. Something didn’t work out how you wanted it to? Figure out how come and make the necessary changes before you go again.
Nat Panzarino wears many hats! A mum to two young boys and two gorgeous greyhounds, she is also an author (www.pointypembleton.com), a teacher, owns a small business with her husband (www.lulotile.com.au), volunteers for charity (www.greyhoundrescue.com.au), and runs a not-for-profit for disadvantaged kids (www.gotapen.com.au) in her “spare” time.