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Like most modern women, I wear a multitude of hats – mother, worker, business owner, friend, daughter, blogger and CEO of my household to name a few. I’m passionate about doing well in each of these areas, but along with that passion comes pressure – I have a shitload of plates to keep spinning at any one time. I’m certainly not alone in this challenge – most of my girlfriends have a similar number of roles, if not more.

So, how do you keep everything functioning without it all crashing to the ground in a spectacular mess? Generally if I drop one ball, the whole lot comes tumbling to the ground. Over the last few years I’ve developed a range of tactics and strategies to keep life on track and heading in the right direction – here are some suggestions:

1. Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise.

As much as you try, you can’t be all things to all people. So work out what’s most important to you and set your priorities accordingly. I generally have a daily, weekly and a monthly list of priorities which I stick to like glue unless there’s one hell of a curve ball. It enables me to focus on the right things and it reduces feelings of being overwhelmed… well, sort of.

2. Preparation is key.

My pre-work and pre-daycare mornings are generally a shit storm of activity at break-neck speed. The only way my son and I get out the door equipped, on time and alive is by planning the night before – lunches are prepared and clothes are laid out so there’s minimal flapping around in the morning. I generally check my diary when I get home to make sure I’m prepared for whatever’s happening the next day and I prepare accordingly. It allows me to travel at 100mph rather than 120mph between getting up and getting out, and it reduces my swearing by around 50%.

3. Outsource and call on your network.

Apparently it takes a village to raise a child. If you look back in history, humans were reliant on their fellow tribe members and villagers. Sadly that sense of community and cooperation is missing from much of today’s culture. But if you reach out to find help, whether it’s through paid means or the help of friends and family, you’ll find the load is lighter. And there are probably easy ways you can help others to reduce their burdens too.

4. Menu plan – a life changer.

If you’re a busy mum, menu planning is gold – it’ll reduce your trips to and time at the supermarket (yay), you’ll stop feeling flustered about what to feed your brood, you can prepare more meals in advance, you’ll be less likely to opt for last minute unhealthy crap, and you’ll save money through not throwing out or wasting unnecessary food. Winning! I generally do a two week menu plan, which means one big shop per fortnight and a small top up on the off week.

5. Minimise multi-tasking.

I recently realised multi-tasking is not my friend. For years I’ve tried to do (at least) 20 things at the same time in an attempt to cram more into my day. Research studies recently revealed that multi-tasking doesn’t make us more productive… quite the opposite. The best way to get through your to-do list is to concentrate on one thing at a time – focus on the task at hand, do it well, move on.

6. Download and seek advice.

Being a modern woman is a tough gig. In past generations roles were clearly defined in a household and everyone knew where they were at. I’m not turning my nose up at the incredible work done by my feminist foremothers. I’m just saying that I’ve got a greater range of tasks on my plate than my grandmother did (she worked bloody hard, but on a narrower range of activities). As a western woman in 2016 I’m grateful for the opportunities on offer. It’s brilliant that I can literally do whatever I choose with my life without being limited by gender. But that comes with its challenges. If you’re struggling with your roles or the demands of keeping all the plates spinning, go find someone who will listen and provide support, whether that’s a trusted friend, a counsellor or a support service. You’re not an island.

7. Keep yourself fit and healthy.

You wouldn’t expect a car to work properly without oil, regular check ups and petrol, nor would you expect your smart phone to function at its best without regular software upgrades. Your mind and body are just the same – you won’t be able to perform at your best if you’re sick as a dog or stressed to billyo. So eat well, sleep well, exercise, take time off the merry-go-round and give yourself frequent breaks from life’s chaos. Your body will thank you for some much-needed TLC.

8. Remember you’re only human.

None of us are perfect. No one gets it right 100% of the time. Don’t try to be a superhero. Keep your expectations realistic or you’ll freak yourself out. Bite off as much as you can chew, do less and do it well. Smell the roses along the way and commit to being the best version of you, whatever that means for you.

And if all else fails, there’s always wine 😉

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