Give Up Control to Get Control

For some reason, Americans think they have something to prove by doing it all themselves. People say to me all of the time, that someone else just can't do for them, the things that are on the "to do " list. Well, that is not only a ridiculous statement, but one that can be proven wrong over and over again. We all strive to appear in control. However, you cannot be in control if you are constantly struggling to juggle events and lists. So give up some of the control. I know that is a scary thought, but do it. By having professionals handle the items on your list, you will amaze your friends and family by having more time to enjoy life and you will seem more in control than ever. Don't worry. We don't expect you to do this cold turkey. We are going to give you tips on accomplishing this daunting task after we shock you into reality. Don't Be A Statistic! Here are the facts......I think the expression is "read 'em and weep." I know I wanted to when I saw these numbers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average U.S. family works between 105-115 hours per week. So let's run the numbers. 168 hours in a 7 day week x2 (if 2 people are working those hours) = 336 Less 110 hours for work Less 112 hours for sleeping Less 28 hours for eating Less 15 hours for commuting So what's left........71 HOURS!!! That is 71 hours for both workers total. Look like a big number of hours? Keep running the math. (If you are single that leaves you with 35.5 hrs - cut everything in half) Now what do you have to do in that 71 hours? Remember, if you are doing something as a family (both workers), you have to double the hours used when you subtract from the 71.

  • Spend time with your family
  • Run/attend children's activities (i.e. soccer, music lessons)
  • Run errands
  • Visit friends/relatives for special occasions
  • Make purchases - clothing, gifts, daily needs

Anyone feeling exhausted yet? I am ready for a nap...oh that's time for that. Well here is some advice from the BusyB herself on taking back your life. Remedying the Problem:

  • First evaluate the numbers that we provided above and adjust for your particular family. Some of you may work more than 110hrs, commute more, sleep less, etc. Also, stay at home moms count as working members of the family in our book so don't forget that their hours count too!
  • Make a list of all of the things you do that take up the 71 remaining hours (or whatever number you now have).
  • Sort the tasks by type of activity. Feel free to make up your own categories.
    • Family
    • Home Repairs/Maintenance
    • Errands/Shopping
    • Social Activities
    • School Activities
    • Other
  • Star the ones you would rather not do (and sorry your job is one of those adult requirements in life so don't star it ? you don't have a choice).
  • Estimate how much time it takes you to do each task (per week).
  • Now make a list of all of the things that are on the perpetual "to do" list that never seem to get finished. Sort this list as well. Having things that are constantly waiting to be completed, does nothing but add stress to your life.
  • Now here comes the difficult part. Giving up control to get control. You are really going to have to put on your positive change attitude to make this work. Ready? Circle the items that can be hired out. The possibilities are endless. If you are serious about change, then you will not be making excuses at this point as to why someone else cannot do the job. Do NOT, use money as an excuse at this point. You can't afford to do that. This is your life you are talking about. Here are some suggestions:
    • Lawn Care
    • Home Repair Specialists (painters, handyman etc)
    • Errand Service
    • Personal Shopper/Concierge
    • Nanny/Babysitter
    • Car Specialists
    • Financial Specialists
  • Make another list of things you would like to do but never have time to do.
  • If you successfully completed Step 7, you should now be able to make a new list of things to do each week that include your "wants." Can you replace the "have to" items with the "want to" items? If you answered yes, you did a great job and are well on your way to taking back control of your life. If you answered no, then we still have some work to do.
  • Now some of you are probably saying, this is easy for her to say. Well, no it isn't. I have been where you are and it took a major life-altering situation for me to realize what is really important. Do not put yourself in the same situation. Stop now and take stock of your life and priorities. You may find that when you reprioritize you only need some reorganization and a little help from a life management consultant or you may have bigger problems and you need to schedule time each month for professionals to help you sift through the chores. Get your life back but appear more in control. You can do it!

    Additional Information:

    In this article we mentioned concierge & errand services as well as personal shoppers. While this concept is taking hold all over the world, here is a little more information about what each is and can do for you.

    Errand Service ? It is exactly what it says. It is a company that will do your errands for you such as groceries, prescription pickup, dry cleaning drop off/pick up etc. There are also many drugstores, groceries and dry cleaners that will deliver directly to your door. Check with your local service providers.

    Concierge Service ? Think about what you use the hotel concierge for when you do an overnight stay. Well, personal concierges do the same thing but usually on a larger scale. They plan entertainment, organize activities, make inquiries, plan travel, etc. Many provide business and secretarial services. Just ask and your wish is their command. They are master organizers. Because they are well connected with local events and businesses, they can pound out a task in minutes where it might take you hours or days.

    Personal Shoppers ? Most people know the term Personal Shopper as it relates to high-end department stores that offer the service in-store. However, personal shoppers are now everywhere and offer the flexibility of not being tied to one particular name store.

    Record Online published an article entitled "Personal Shoppers Aren't Just for the Rich Anymore" in October of 2002.

    And how true this statement is! There are three types of personal shoppers and it is not by any means geared only toward women:

    • one who does all of your shopping for you
    • one who serves as your conscience, giving you advice while you shop
    • one who organizes recreational shopping trips for those who just can't get enough

    A personal shopper is aware of the trends, knows about fashion do's/dont's, and is savvy about where to find those special items that aren't available at the mall.

    A personal shopper is able to provide you with items without asking you if you want them, because he/she understand your lifestyle and your needs.

    And no it is not just about your wardrobe - it is anything in your life that is purchased. We have even known personal shoppers who buy cars for clients. So all in all, you, the client, custom designs the type of service you require from your personal shopper.

    In the case of ON THE GO 4 U, we offer a combination of these services, as do several other firms around the country. We provide you with the ultimate life management experience. We can organize as much or as little of your life as you require.

    Indra A Books, author of this and many other lifestyle articles is the owner and founder of ON THE GO 4 U, Personal Shoppers & Concierge Service in the Washington DC metropolitan area. The company's creed is to provide its clients with the ultimate life management experience. In addition to its shopping and concierge services, ON THE GO 4 U also publishes a monthly e-zine and conducts workshops on wardrobe, entertaining and decorating. Ms. Books also gives seminars on the topic of this article. For more information about the author and ON THE Go 4 U, please visit © 2004 Indra A Books, ON THE GO 4 U.

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