Last week I discussed the second step in Cheryl Richardson’s book “Take Time for Your Life”. This week I will be looking at Step 3 and applying it to how we can help ourselves become better parents or the parents we want to be.

Step 3:

“Identify the things that drain you and eliminate them – people, places, and things – once and for all”

Richardson, cleverly, uses an analogy of an internal energy barometer that lies within all of us. Certain things will cause these levels to fall and others will cause them to rise. Every action we take uses energy but more importantly, and often over-looked, is that actions you don’t take use energy as well, like distractions, disorganization, incomplete tasks and things that hang over you.  Interestingly, when Richardson works with clients, right off the bat, she spends more time removing things from their lives instead of setting goals.

With this in mind, as parents, maybe we should be looking at removing things from our lives that drain us and cause our energy levels to fall before we embark on other things? There are certainly times in my parenting life where I would have happily removed my children but, that aside, it seems like removing these draining things might be a good thing.

With that in mind, I am going to add Parenting into her categories of potential drainage areas; those being Relationships, Environment, Mind Body & Spirit, Work and Money.

With these categories in mind, I invite you to make a list of things that just sap you of your energy. Maybe some of these strike a chord with you:

  • I miss not being part of a loving relationship with my husband
  • The people in my office just drain me
  • Every time I go into my closet I get palpitations, in fact, it happens in the kids bedrooms and the rec room as well. They really need a good spring clean
  • I know that my current parenting style is just not working – I shout too much
  • I’m permanently tired
  • The kids just don’t listen – it drives me crazy
  • There’s always a mess – everywhere I look, there’s mess and stuff
  • Cooking 7 meals a week, 4 weeks a month, 12 months a year – it’s so boring and it’s exhausting

The goal: Plug the drains and restore your energy

Always remember that the good thing is that the things we often complain about are usually the things that are important to us. We don’t tend to complain about things that don’t bother us. I encourage you to make a commitment to the complaints and start finding ways to plug the drains.

With the above list in mind, perhaps some of these things might work to plug the drains:

  • Start running regular Family meetings as they are a great way to get the family together and create some common goals
  • Have a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly date with your partner
  • Make a commitment to looking for another job
  • Make a list of closets and rooms to spring clean and block some time in your calendar to actually do it
  • Commit to going to bed earlier and getting more sleep
  • Make a commitment to change your parenting style (maybe that means you sign up for some Parenting Classes or read a Parenting Book)
  • Implement some strategies for dealing with the mess (that might mean that at 8pm everyone knows that if their stuff is still in the common spaces they will loose it to the “clutter box” for a week)
  • Conquer and divide on the meal front or meal plan or order in food once a week.

There are many ways to skin a cat but the bottom line is that you have to implement a plan, stick to it and relish in the good feelings and increase in energy that will arise as a result of eliminating these kinds of things from your life.

Richardson finishes the chapter with these three very “to the point” points:

  • Do it or
  • Hire it or
  • Chuck it

What’s been draining you and how are you going to plug those drains? I’d love to hear from you.

Partnering you


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Registration is now open for my fall Adlerian Parenting Classes, please look under EVENTS and Schedule on our web site for more details. Please feel free to mention this to any friends you know who may be interested.