Survey results - Part 1
Recently I had done a small survey amongst a very small group of my friends. I would like to share a summary of the findings from that survey. Let me admit 2 things here. First of all, this survey is not done in a scientific manner and hence the scope of analysis is very small. Second, the sample size itself is very small(approximate 20 people). Yet, I do think there are benefits from the few insights coming from this survey. These are pointers. If they are relevant for us, we could take some action on them, else ignore.
I would like to thank my friends who participated in this survey. I conducted this as an anonymous survey. This means I would not be able to make out whose response is what. Hence, I would like to give a very high rating of the response being truthful. Plus, they are my friends, why would they do otherwise ;)
Before we examine the insights, I would like to share the profile of the people who responded to the survey.
Profile of the respondents
Home makers - 31%
Self Employed - 10 %Business Owner, Community Volunteer and Others - 22%
20 - 30 - 16 %
31 - 40 - 5 %
41 - 50 - 74 %
50 plus - 5 %
90% live in a city and 10% in a town
33% said they do not read. They may not be interested in reading or they don’t get the time(wish I had asked a more specific question!). Only 31% named the book or author they are currently reading!!
Absolute variety in the shows they watch or listen to. 15% do not watch TV or listen to radio
Single - 5 %
Married without kids - 10 %
Married with young children(<=12 years) - 10%
Married with at least one child above 12 years - 75 %
Insight 1 - I am able to manage my responsibilities efficiently doesn’t mean I am able to find time to do what I want to do
Look at this. Approximately 78% have stated they are able to manage their responsibilities efficiently. The key word here is efficiently. If someone said this to you, wouldn’t you think they are managing their time efficiently ? And hence they are able to find time for what they want to do ? They may be. But the reality is that 77% are not always able to find time to do what they want to do. Why ?
Reason 1 - Responsibilities may actually be taking most of the time
Examine how you spend time on a week day and on a weekend. You may feel that after you complete what you 'have to do' on any day, there is no time left! It is easy to arrive at this conclusion if you broadly see your time as buckets of time. Like, you wake up and then breakfast, cooking, getting kids ready etc till 8 am then work till 7 pm (including the commute) and then return home, prepare dinner, assist in homework and then go to sleep. If you are a stay at home mom, your routine may be different, but still takes most of your day.
But then, arent you taking calls from friends , checking Whatsapp and other social media updates, chatting with people etc ? So, when did all of this happen ?
I used a timesheet for 2 weeks. Yes, I wrote down what exactly I did from morning wake up time till night when I went to bed. List of what all I did in 30 minute slots. Like 6 to 630 am Coffee with my husband, 630 am to 7 am Cooking and so on. And I was surprised by the results. There was so much of time I was not factoring in my mind but I was still spending ! For example, I thought I was so busy that I am not even able to have a proper lunch and was rushing thru the same. But I realized I was taking 45 minutes for my lunch break! I am not saying this is wrong - but I realized my mind is playing tricks on me.
And there were many other things for which I was spending a lot of time and that too, in a sequential manner. Eg. Cooking, putting grocery in their containers, folding clothes etc. These were activities for which I could definitely try multitasking .
The timesheet exercise helped me identify where my time is going and more importantly, how I can do my responsibilities more efficiently and create slots for what I want to do. I strongly urge you to try this out.
Reason 2 - Perception of my responsibilities
Many times we tend to get caught in this trap of taking our responsibilities too seriously. We end up thinking that responsibility is ours alone! Let us not talk about big ticket items around running the household like managing the finance, cooking etc. Let us consider the activities that irritate us a lot and make us feel that if we don’t do it, it wont get done. For example, giving clothes for ironing, putting back things lying around the house in its place, clearing out things from the shopping bag and keeping them inside, especially fruits, vegetables and groceries, making the bed in the morning, putting clothes for wash, keeping washed vessels in the kitchen cupboard, …the list goes on. Please take a few minutes to identify such activities in your house.
Now, examine what you feel about them. What prevents you from taking help from others in the house for doing these things ? Be it your spouse, your children or other members in the family/people staying with you. You may feel that it would be best done only if you do it. Or, it is your way of caring for spouse/children. Or, you have simply not thought about it. You have assumed these are your responsibilities.
I strongly urge you to invite your family members to help in these activities. Initially, they may not do it as wonderful as how you do it, that's OK. Appreciate them for their effort. Mistakes in these activities cannot have a huge impact, you can live with those!! They may show a little resistance in the beginning, that’s fine. Tell them you need their help for 20 to 30 minutes and all of you do these things together. Believe me, it is fun.
And a similar approach can be taken in the work context also.
And, you will get some time for yourself..
Reason 3 - Prioritising what I want to do
Most often, you prioritise what you want to do to be the last item after you complete all your responsibilities. Or, you don’t prioritise it at all. So, it just remains as a wishful thinking making you feel more and more deprived. Or, you may console yourselves by telling you are doing everything for your family/work etc etc and may consider it as sacrificing your wants. I do agree there are those times in our life when responsibilities take over our time completely - like when someone falls sick and you are the caregiver or there is some other kind of emergency that you are attending to. But think of it, all your life is not about such events taking over your time and attention.
I suggest you first identify one or two activities you would like to do if you manage to get some time. Do not think of elaborate stuff that involves going somewhere. Choose some activity you would like to do if you get less than 1 hour of time - be it reading, embroidery, going for a walk, doing some exercise……
Next, keep everything you need to that activity ready. The book you want to read, the stuff for embroidery, walking shoes(don’t wait to buy these if you don’t have them yet, just keep aside comfortable chappals to start with)……
Decide to carve out this slot of less than 1 hour atleast once this week. Look out for it - it may not come as exactly 1 hour - you may get it as 20 minutes here and 15 minutes there, doesn’t matter. Start your 'Special activity'. In the first week you may get to do this just once. And it will increase as you get used to this..
Please try and do feel free to let me know.
We will examine more insights from the survey in the upcoming posts..