Being a single parent is extremely rewarding but also difficult. You hold all the responsibility and you have to get everything done on your own. As a result, you’ll often feel overwhelmed and at wit’s end. You will feel like you simply can’t go on at the same pace.
Working smart is the best way to address the burden. This is how you’ll find it possible to get a lot more done in a shorter period of time.
Have a Support System in Place
The fact that you’re a single parent doesn’t mean you have to cope with everything on your own.
Studies show that social support has positive effects on mood and well-being. In addition, you can exchange ideas, find people to delegate tasks to and a crying shoulder to rest on when the burden gets to be too much.
Your family is there for you and the same applies to your friends. Connecting to other single parents and working as a team (to take care of the kids, establish your career, work towards obtaining a higher level of education, etc.) will also make your life easier.
Even if you have a wonderful support team in place, you’ll still need to remember to ask for help. If you seem like a strong person, others will not interfere in your life unless you ask for assistance. Don’t be afraid to let your vulnerabilities show – this is a strength on its own.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Reexamining your priorities will also help you pinpoint the unimportant things that you’re probably spending too much time on.
Many single parents attempt to be superhuman. They try to replace the missing person in the lives of their children in every way possible. Such an approach will contribute to burnout very soon and it’s entirely counterproductive.
There are things you can let go of without experiencing any negative consequences.
Lower your expectations and admit you can’t do it all. Give yourself a break – there are 24 hours per day and you’re a human being. As such, you’re not invisible to fatigue and physical limitations.
Are you a working mom who’s also taking care of the kids and trying to maintain a cozy home? You don’t have to deal with it all. Hiring some cleaning help, for example, will free a lot of time you can dedicate to the kids and to your career development. Eventually, you’ll end up earning more and being more capable of paying others to handle certain tasks instead of you.
Take Care of Yourself
Multi-tasking stresses out your body and your mind. This is why you should never neglect your personal needs.
Studies show that single parents rank among the people who sleep the least. Obviously, kids will interrupt your sleep. Still, you should get in the habit of going to bed early enough to ensure at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Find 30 minutes each day for a quick exercise session. Exercise improves your mood, enhances your focus and energizes you for the entire day. If you work out in the morning, you’ll find yourself much more capable of handling a plethora of tasks.
Finally, try to have a bit of a love life. This is going to be difficult when you have kids but you may want to check out online dating. It’s safe, it’s quick, it’s easy and you can put an end to it whenever you don’t feel right in the situation.
Eliminate Time Wasters
Optimizing your daily routine is also about identifying time wasting activities and getting rid of those.
Do you spend a lot of time trying to get the kids ready in the morning? If so, you should think of stimuli that will help little ones get out of bed, get dressed on their own and come to the table for breakfast without sulking.
Are you prone to dedicating time to activities like social networking, watching TV shows and texting with people who you don’t perceive as that close? These are some obvious time wasters you can either eliminate altogether or spend less time on.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a favorite sitcom every now and then. Still, know your work hours and the amount of time you’d like to dedicate to your kids each day. Don’t allow time wasters to interfere with these important activities.
Simplify and Modernize Processes
There are so many processes you can simplify and modernize in order to save time and your sanity.
Grocery shopping with kids can be an experience from hell (and it usually is if you have a cranky little one to take care of while looking for the cereals). If you think that grocery shopping is taking a lot of time, you should opt for having the groceries delivered to your home.
Online dating is another example of a modern process that has already been mentioned.
You can pay bills online and make money transfers without going to the bank. Even if you’ve never tried online banking or utility payment before, these are pretty simple and they’ll save you a lot of time you could be dedicating to much more pleasant or productive things.
Remember that the trick is to work smarter instead of harder. If the morning commute is long and tiresome, ditch the car and opt for the subway. It will enable you to either have a chat with the kids or read a book. In addition, such a change will save you a lot of money.
You don’t have to be the incredibly tough, almighty single parent. It’s ok to acknowledge your weaknesses. Once you do, you can start looking for a more practical solution to all of your time management problems.
Dedicate a bit of time to analyzing your everyday existence, your habits and practices that the family has adopted. While these are well-known and comfortable, they could also be contributing to inefficiency. Change can be slow and painful in the very beginning. When you see the results, however, you’ll find the motivation to keep going.