Our everyday lives have certainly become more stressful in recent years. But if you think you can banish stress from your family life with the help of a sophisticated time management system, you may only make matters worse. There are clearly limits to the extent to which you can plan family life, but time management principles that have proved effective in the world of work can be applied in your life at home too.
But time management principles that have proved effective in the world of work can be applied in your family too. One key question to be answered is: What is important to us as a family, and what is not?
What is important to us?
A well-known principle in time management is the need to distinguish between what's important and what's urgent. In everyday family life, your child's illness or an argument with your partner, for example, are important as well as urgent. Working on your relationship, having one-to-one conversations and making enough time for relaxation are important but not urgent. Interruptions, phone calls or a football match on television are urgent but not important (at least not always). Reading a glossy magazine or surfing the Internet, on the other hand, is neither important nor urgent.
How many things do we do because they are the done thing or because we think we have to? Is a well-maintained lawn important to us? Is it important that your home looks immaculate when your mother-in-law comes to visit? Do we do things because we can't say no? A good standard answer when we are asked to give our time to something is: "I'll discuss it with my wife/husband." You can then decide together whether it is important to the family to say yes or no.
Being perfect at work, running a perfect household and at the same time being a supermum or superdad will wear you out in the long run. If you seem to have less and less time, and you want to gain some control of it and make family life more relaxing, you need to reduce the demands you make of yourself. Family-related work is never finished. If you've done what's possible under the circumstances, you have to turn to something else. That's the only way to find time for things that are important but not urgent, such as a stroll together in the evening.
Ease the burden
It often goes without saying in a modern family that you do your own housework and raise your own children. Many people don't like the thought of having someone work for them. But things were very different in the first half of the last century. It was not at all unusual in those days to employ domestic staff and a nanny. Today, too, it makes sense to consider what jobs can be delegated, for example to the children, who could take on responsibility for something, or to a child minder, home help, cleaner or gardener. In some Swiss cantons there are relief services aimed at families, and some companies support their staff with family services. Find out from your employer, local authority or canton whether any such services are available to you.
Helsana supports working parents and single parents with KidsCare. If your child has an acute illness or an accident, you can call the emergency number at any time, and a specially trained, experienced carer will be with you in a little while. This person will care for, look after and feed your child and administer any medication that has been prescribed.