Something I have learned in my efforts to reclaim time is, in addition to finding ways to do things more efficiently, I have to eliminate certain tasks altogether. I determine which of the many on my list are lesser priorities by measuring them against my values and needs.

My mother would never…

Recently this approach led me to bring take-out to a community potluck dinner. When the idea hit before I always thought ‘my mother would never do this’ and ‘what will the neighbours think?’ Then there is ‘why pay more if I can do it myself?’ But this time, after considering my values and prioritizing my needs, I decided that it actually made a lot more sense than preparing a homemade dish. It had been a very busy week and we needed rest. That’s what mattered and I proceeded without guilt.

The point was to have fun and connect.

My mother’s life was simply different and she had more time. The point of the potluck was to reconnect with neighbours and cultivate relationships.  The food was secondary. Did it cost money? Sure. But, not really much more than buying all the ingredients. The time reclaimed from coming up with a recipe, shopping for ingredients and preparing the dish more than made up for it. I do believe some other attendees were jealous. And there were other take-out dishes.

This isn’t easy when you were raised with a “can-do” or “must do it all” attitude. However, the reality is there are only so many hours in a day/week so something has to give—and it’s better to drop things from the task list than to let your mental and physical health slide. Learn how the impact of the motherload inspired my own journey and then to share it by writing this reclaiming time series.