How To Make Time For What Matters

How To Make Time For What Matters
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Most busy mamas agree that there are just never enough hours in the day to get it all done. Can you relate? 

Last week in my Monday Motivator newsletter I gave out this little written assignment to my lovely subscribers. Please join in!

Grab a piece of paper (or create a note on your phone) and write down three things you don’t have time for. Just the first three things that come to mind.

1. I don’t have time for _________________________________________.

2. I don’t have time for _________________________________________.

3. I don’t have time for _________________________________________.

Once you’ve done that, read on. (no peeking!)

(Pretend this space is some mellow holding music playing in the background as I wait for you to do this.)






(If there’s no way of writing them down right now, just think about what your three answers are. Get them clear in your mind.)






Ready? Okay.


Here are some of the answers that my subscribers have emailed to tell me or have posted on the Project Me Facebook page:

seeing my friends

catching up on lost sleep

looking after my body

watching a film or reading a book

writing to my grandma

reading to the kids

writing a book

sorting out my tax papers


clearing out the closets

getting my hair done

creating iphoto albums

meal planning

going for a run

finishing my accounts

keeping the downstairs hall clear and clean

tidying up the master bedroom

reading books or magazines for myself

getting a massage

shopping for me / buying new clothes

sitting down and playing with the kids

calling my mother

sitting down. Just sitting down!

Now put your answers to each of the three questions above into the blanks below:

1. _______________________________________ is not important to me.

2. _______________________________________ is not important to me.

3. _______________________________________ is not important to me.

Now – say your three new statements out loud, three times for each sentence.

(I’ll wait.)



Did that stir up any feelings?

Did any of them feel like icky/false statements? Could it be that maybe the opposite is true?

Usually the first three things we think of are in fact things that are very important to us. That’s why they came to mind so quickly!

They might be the very things that are eating away at you inside, making you feel guilty, frustrated or unfulfilled.

If the statement felt true and it really isn’t important to you, I wonder why you thought of it?

The point of this is help you recognise what matters to you and what you value.

When you ignore your values or put things that matter on the back burner for too long, you don’t feel good.

Forget about Time Management. This is Priority Management.

Take action: What’s one small step you can take this week towards prioritising what’s important to you?

If it needs scheduling in – just do it. If it needs figuring out – use an Ideas Into Action action sheet to get things moving. This sheet has a place to write down up to three different goals and then the first three steps you can take towards making them happen. Don’t try to figure this out in your head. The act of writing down what you want will slow down your busy brain and the answers will come to you. Try it and see what happens!


In the comments below, share at least one of your ‘I don’t have time for’ statements and tell me how you feel about it. Is it in fact important? Or is it something you can drop from your mind completely? 

Want help making more time for what’s important to you? Sign up the free Project Me Life Wheel®. It’s help you quickly see which areas of your life could use some special focus. 


photo credit: Βethan via photopin cc

Kelly Pietrangeli

Kelly Pietrangeli

Mama Motivator at Project Me
Kelly Pietrangeli is the creator of Project Me for Busy Mothers, helping women find a happier balance between the kids - and everything else.

Mixing practicality with self-awareness, Kelly helps mothers get on top of their endless to-do’s, set goals and improve their lives one small step at a time.

Grab her free Life Wheel Tool for discovering what needs your focus first.
Kelly Pietrangeli

Latest posts by Kelly Pietrangeli (see all)

Tell Us What You Think.

19 Responses to How To Make Time For What Matters

  1. Mary says:

    I don’t have time to clean up my house decently.
    This IS important to me and I feel really frustrated about that.
    I’m trying to improve this area of my life, but still have lots to do…

    • Mary, you need a plan of action! Have you tried using one my Challenge Solver Action Sheets? Here’s the link.

      Write out your challenge in the top box and then see what happens when you brainstorm a solution on paper. Write down everything and anything you think of without writing anything off yet as being far fetched or impossible.

      Use the reverse side to keep brainstorming. See if you can come up with some small steps in the right direction – even if not a full blown solution. If you really get stuck or can’t take it to the next level, drop me an email and I’ll help you. Good luck! 🙂

  2. Aletha Brennan says:

    I don’t have time to read/write or read to the kids.

    You know what hurt the most about saying those things weren’t important to me? It was the fact that I have been sick for almost a month now–bed rest sick–and those things are things I can ACTUALLY do. I’m lucky if I can get a few dishes done or a little bit of laundry folded but these are things that don’t require much in the way of physical effort. I realized that my actions have been saying that tv is more important that writing, reading, and reading to my kids. Oh the stab of guilt that my heart recieved!

    This thought process has forced me to face the fact that I’m depressed about being so sick. I’ve been trying to shut down until I get better. Disassociating from the reality that I may be in this state for a long time still, I’ve been screaming through seasons of shows on Netflix while pinning my brains out on Pinterest.

    *sigh* Reality’s mirror can be brutal some times, but getting knocked down is just another opportunity to stand back up. Today I will be still and calm AND productive. 🙂

    • Hurrah Aletha! I’m so glad this was the call to action you needed.

      It’s hard when we’re sick and our energy is non-existent, but even small steps in the right direction are good. Start small and build up. Create daily goals and allow yourself to feel good about whatever you do accomplish. Little by little you’ll improve – you just need to begin with your state of mind.

      Feed your mind with positive inspiration. Get better 🙂 xoxo

  3. Helen Butler says:

    I don’t have time to write my book.

    In reality I do – it’s just a matter of spending time working on the outline, nailing what the book is *really* about and scheduling in time to make it happen.

    This is a VERY important goal to me but I keep putting it off. Yes, I’m procrastinating Kelly!!

    • Your book needs to get out into the world Helen so please make it a priority by scheduling in sessions each week to plug away at it. These are non-negotiable sessions you’d treat just as importantly as if they were hospital appointments.

      Tell me you’re going to do this Helen! (Or I’m flying over to Australia to kick your butt!) 😉

  4. Kristy says:

    Kelly, this post gave me goose bumps. It’s so true when you frame it like that.

    The idea of Priority Management is great, and distinctly different to Time Management. Such an important and powerful distinction.

    I’m scheduling in some self-care this week because I know how important it is (a priority) for me to be the best mum, wife and business owner I can be, yet too often it’s low on the priority list. In fact, it often doesn’t happen because it’s not scheduled.

    Thanks for the gentle nudge along.

    • I’m glad this little exercise was the nudge you needed to schedule in that essential self-care Kristy. We’re quick to schedule in appointments, lunch dates and all sorts of other things into our calendars – but self-care doesn’t feel like one of those things that belongs inked into the diary. Yet if we DON’T ink it in, it doesn’t happen!

      Good for you Kristy 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    Hi there! I have a laundry list of things that I *should* do, or do better, but I intentionally wrote down things that I *want* to do but don’t because of all the shoulds. The biggest thing is to practice calligraphy, but it could’ve been any creative endeavor I want to try. I feel pretty selfish taking time out when I have a family to take care of, but feel ready to blow if I don’t. I think I need to better teach my older kids to do more tasks and have more responsibilities. Thanks so much for the insight <3 ! I would love your input.

    • That was a fantastic wake-up to the importance of doing what matters to you because it’ll help you feel happier – and a happier mother creates a happier home enviornment for her family.

      It’s okay to be selfish Amy 🙂

      Since you think you need to teach your older kids to do more tasks and have more responsibilities, why don’t you ride off of that insight and make a game plan. Use a Challenge Solver Action sheet and begin to brainstorm some ways to make that happen. Here’s the link:

      Soon I’m running a blog series on getting more of the help you need from your family. Watch this space!

  6. Ellie says:

    I don’t have time to swim. If I do, I have to take some of my sleep time and get up at 6am. If I then use up some of my other time to replace this lost sleep, I have to … um… stay off ebay. OK. I see. By swimming, I can save money and wasted time. Woohoo!

  7. I don’t have time to exercise regularly!
    Oh my gosh it is so important to me for my own health and peace of mind. I ALWAYS feel better physically and mentally on days that I’ve don’t some sort of exercise! It makes everything better. I just need to find out better ways to incorporate it!
    Thank you Kelly!

  8. Sara says:

    I don’t have time to declutter my house. It is important to me. The real problem is that I’m overwhelmed so I don’t start, or I do start and make headway, but before I can get rid of enough stuff or organize enough that there are places for things whatever I did gets undone or we get a huge batch of handme downs to sort through and I get discouraged because I’m doing it over and over.

    • Sara, what you’re feeling is normal. But you’e said it yourself – decluttering IS important to you and NOT doing it weighs you down and makes you feel bad.

      Yes, the thing about ‘stuff’ is that it can feel never ending. You clear up one mess and then another one emerges. That’s life!

      So here’s what to do. Make a list of all areas of your house that need decluttering. Group it into rooms.

      Now make a plan. Where will you start? Just choose one area that’ll feel SO GOOD once it’s cleared up.

      Schedule it in. Decide which day and time you will tackle it and see it as a positive thing (woo hoo – you’re gonna DO IT!).

      Set a timer for one hour. Yup. Just one hour. If you know you have just one hour to do something you’ll move a lot faster, be more decisive and won’t be tempted to take a coffee break and then lose momentum.

      After one hour pat yourself on the back! Feel a sense of accomplishment over what you DID get done, not what you didn’t finish yet.

      So much of this is down to mindset. If you keep positive, break it down into chunks, take it step by step – you will make progress. And progress feels great as long as you recognise it as being progress and don’t focus on what you haven’t done yet.

      Play some funky music and get to it Sara! You can do this!!!

  9. Julie says:

    I don’t have time to take care of my personal appearance.
    Eek – that’s hideous but true, my grey roots are always showing, my nails are a terrible mess, I never wear make up even though I just replaced it all. I wear the same handful of clothes again and again because I just haven’t got a clue about what suits me. The most ridiculous thing is this does bother me – I just don’t make time for it. I just made a hair appointment for Sunday – gasp, Sunday, the big shop, National Trust visit and roast dinner day!!? Not this week – 1 weekend in 12 is not a big deal and we’ll still have the afternoon together. No – I’m off for a couple of coffees and trashy magazines while my stylist does his magic and this time I’m going to book my next appointment before I leave. Xx

    • Light bulb over the head moment when we realise that we don’t make time for something that actually IS important to us. (Or it wouldn’t bother you, right?)

      GOOD FOR YOU! Yes, one weekend out of 12 is not going to hurt your family – and they will love seeing the new glowing YOU when you step out of that salon – yesss!

      Love trashy mags at the hair dresser too. Such an indulgence 😉

  10. […] of these do you want to create more time for? Choose up to three life areas that are calling you (or screaming at you!) Less is more if you […]

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