Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making time for friends

Our guest blogger this week is Nicole Avery (aka Planning With Kids ). With five children aged 12, 10, 7 (only girl!), 5 and two, Nicole has managed to turn her blog into her job, thanks to phenomenal organisation skills. Fortunately for the rest of us, she shares her secrets in her book Planning With Kids, showing working parents how to become more organised - and leave more time for parenting. (Check it out here.) Today, Nicole talks about how to make more time for friends.

During July 2011, 671 women across Australia aged between 25-49 took part in a survey conducted by Ipsos Marketing. It looked at how women were spending their time and how they felt about their division of time. The survey was commissioned by Baileys and the report has some interesting findings: Only 5% of an Australian woman's week is spent with friends; 59% of women would go to the female friends for support; 70% of women would like to spend more time with their friends.

Of late I haven’t spent as much time as I would like with some of my closest friends. It isn’t because I don’t think my family can’t cope without me, but because I haven’t prioritised very well. Something a couple of friends and I have done recently to make sure we see each other more regularly is to book in a regular morning each month. Blocking it out in the calendar makes sure it will happen.

Every time I catch up with my girlfriends I feel recharged, connected and calmer. I have known them for so many years (one since when I was in kinder!) and they make me feel grounded no matter how crazy everything might be at the time. Love them lots – just need to see them more!

I did a quick calculation to work out what percentage of time I spend on my own interests. If you don’t include blogging, then it is about 7%, but I love blogging and spend some of my “work” time reading blogs etc so it is hard to determine if that is not part of personal interest too??? But in our house I think Mr A would only spend about the same amount of time on his personal interests as well. That is when he is not training for a really ridiculously long bike race, of course!

I know many women who feel this stress, but I have always had the support of my husband to make sure I take time out for myself. This time for me is at the gym and it has been the best way for me to manage the stress – because I do get stressed when I have looming deadlines, sick kids, personal commitments all happening at the same time.

Do you have the balance in your life that allows you to spend enough time with your friends?


kirri said...

Hi Nic. This really hit the mark with me today as I have not been making as much of an effort to catch up with girlfriends as I would like. I Skype and chat on line but there is nothing like catching up in person and I haven't done that for a few weeks now.

I know that it does me a whole lotta good - I come away feeling hyped and happy but sometimes it can be difficult to coordinate schedules and just make it happen.

Thanks for the 'note to self' - I'll be making a coffee date this week!

Kelly Exeter said...

I have a really large group of close girlfriends and thankfully, we don't need to see heaps of each other to know we all still love each other! But because we are all so busy, we tend to organise a bi-monthly or quarterly catch up which is wonderful but frantic as you try to make sure you get face time with each and every person. Which means you get quality time with none!

Just by absolute chance a month ago I got the chance to spend a solid 2 hours with a great friend I hadn't seen for ages and it was awesome having the kind of conversation you can't have in a group of 15.

It made me realise that it is better to schedule (and yes, we have to diarise them else they don't happen) regular catch ups with one friend at a time because while I like face time, I love the quality of a one on one conversation even more!

And I 100% agree with Nicole - I come away from these conversations so energised! I love my friends!

Sally Oakley said...

This has particular resonance for me because I moved interstate at the beginning of the year. Since then I've made one very special friend. But her 15-month-old-son was recently diagnosed with cancer and flown to Melbourne for treatment. I miss her a lot, and sometimes think it would be disloyal to spend time with another friend in her stead. But I suppose I've actually been handed an opportunity to spend time with other new friends, while continuing my friendship with my special friend via phone and social media.

I'm going to fly to Melbourne soon to visit her in person. In the meantime, I'll be thinking about 'booking in' some friend-time in my diary.:-)

PlanningQueen said...

Kirri - sometimes we do just need a reminder don't we? Have fun!

Kelly - Scheduling them in is the key for me too. Otherwise one month ends up being 5 months....

Sally - That poor little one and mum, so young to have to go through such an ordeal. Hope it all goes okay.

Maxabella said...

Nic, this is one area of my life that has definitely slid down the priority ladder. I would love more time with them, but not at the expense of time with my husbie or family or even occasional lying on the couch staring at the ceiling time. I know they understand... x

Ms Styling You said...

This is something I've got better at and more able to do as my youngest has got older. Still takes scheduling though, but so worth it!