Chinese New Year is a time for celebration and family reunions, but it can also be frantic, busy and stress-inducing. Housewives and mothers alike are often overwhelmed with too much on their hands and may find it difficult to cope. In fact, 81 percent of Asian mothers surveyed revealed that they felt too busy and did not spend enough time with their children (“Eye on Asia” poll by Grey Group, 2009), even on regular days.
Finish and Bosch – together with time-management expert consultant Ms Sandra Sandu have developed several Time-saving Tips for Chinese New Year, to help Singaporeans understand how they can use their time more effectively and reduce their stress levels while preparing for Chinese New Year.
Tip 1: Prioritize according to importance and urgency
Time is running out and you still have much to accomplish before the festivities begin. Prioritize what needs to be done according to importance and urgency, and keep asking yourself the following questions:
- “Do I have to do this now before Chinese New Year?”
- “Do I have to do it myself, or can I delegate it to a family member or get an outsourced supplier?”
- “How can I make the best use of my time and achieve maximum results for a well-planned Chinese New Year?”
Tip 2: Organize your day
Use a checklist to organize your day and to ensure that you remember all that needs to be done. This simple and effective tool also helps you track your progress and provides a sense of accomplishment, which will fuel your motivation to complete the tasks at hand. Take advantage of the natural highs and lows in your energy and motivation levels as well by tackling high-intensity tasks in the morning, to allow you to scale back in the evening to re-charge your built-in batteries.
Tip 3: Use time-saving household appliances
Employ gadgets and appliances in your home to help you accomplish tasks and save precious time in the process. Washing up after dinners – especially a large one like the reunion dinner – can be time-consuming due to the amount of dishes you have to wash. Consider using an automatic dishwasher rather than washing your dishes by hand.
Not only does it save you up to 3 weeks of time compared to washing dishes by hand over the course of one year, it also uses water temperatures of up to 70 degrees Celsius, effectively killing 99.9% of harmful germs and bacteria. This allows you to spend more time with your family, ensure that your kitchen is more hygienic and provides much needed rest to prepare for the festivities.
Tip 4: Delegate
When time is limited, admit that you are not able to do everything yourself and get help. Turn to relatives or friends for help, or consider involving family members in the preparations. For example, split up the rooms in the house and assign each family member a room to spring clean. Motivate everyone with a “family competition” and offer small awards for the “cleanest” and “most improved” rooms.
Tip 5: Prepare what you can ahead of time
If organizing and cooking for large family meals and gatherings tend to wear you out, consider what can be done ahead of time to help reduce stress levels. Prepare ingredients and store them in the refrigerator, rely on recipes that you’ve tried before so that you are more confident, and buy snacks in advance and store them in airtight containers.
Tip 6: Multi-tasking and Chunking
Make the best use of your time multi-tasking and chunking. Multi-tasking involves identifying low-interaction tasks that can be done together, such as planning what you intend to cook for dinner while commuting or doing your daily exercise. This allows you to maximize the use of your spare time.
Chunking on the other hand, is also beneficial – set aside chunks of time to complete specific tasks, such as doing all the cleaning on one day then moving on to decorating or cooking on the next, rather than alternating between tasks and requiring more “start-up” time to pick up from where you left off.
Recommended read: Time Management For Busy Parents: 7 Easy And Effective Tips
Tip 7: Stress management during Chinese New Year
Stress can have a negative impact on your health and your mood during Chinese New Year. The effects of stress include irritability, anxiety, insomnia and headaches, which will impair your ability to fully enjoy the festivities
- At the end of each day, prepare a checklist for the following day so that you feel in control and ready to face the day.
- A main cause of stress is lack of rest, which can affect your ability to function efficiently. Build in time to unwind in the evenings, so that you are calm and relaxed when it is time for bed.
- Set aside time to exercise every day to keep yourself strong and help improve your overall wellness.
- When tasks during the day become overwhelming, try slow deep breathing exercises to clear your mind and re-charge.
Tip 8: Remembering what’s important
Try to stay focused on the true spirit of the Chinese New Year – spending time with family and friends, enjoying the reunion and each other’s company. This festive season only happens once a year, so take the time to enjoy it.
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