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  • The 7 Habits of Highly Efficient Homemakers

    Be a better homemaker with these tips inspired by Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
    by Tina Santiago-Rodriguez .
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    Habit # 4: Think win-win, especially when it comes to finding a “balance.”
    I recently attended a workshop for work-at-home moms, and one of the speakers there said something that I still remember to this day: “There is no such thing as a work-life balance. There will never be a balance. But there will be a dance.”

    In my humble opinion, that’s sort of what it means to “think win-win,” as Stephen Covey says. When you start out doing any task with a positive, winning mindset, you will probably not be so affected by setbacks or problems.

    When hurdles do come your way, take everything with a pinch of salt, smile, breathe in and out deeply and slowly, and try to see the good in the situation.

    Racquel Guevara, a stay-at-home-mom / homeschool teacher to her kids Arielle, 14, and Kayla, 11, believes that being flexible is key to being an efficient homemaker. “So is organization,” she adds.

    Janice Lim, a freelance writer and blogger, and mom of three, says although being organized and disciplined with your schedule is important, it’s also vital that “you know your limits and not overschedule yourself.”

    If it helps, you might also want to read the related article on “The 7 P’s to Achieving Work-Life Balance.”


    Habit # 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood, especially when communicating with your spouse and kids.

    In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey suggests that we practice “empathic listening.”

    “In empathic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart. You listen for feeling, for meaning. You listen for behavior.

    “When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. And after that vital need is met, you can then focus on influencing or problem solving.”

    Many times, when we’re bent on running an efficient household, we may forget to really listen to the people around us with our eyes and heart. We wonder why our children have such a hard time listening to us but often fail to see that it is we who are at fault in the first place.

    So, in order to have a more efficient home and family life, practice listening first before jumping to conclusions or making your own opinions about a certain situation, especially when it comes to dealing with family members or other people who live with you at home. As Covey says, “diagnose before you prescribe.”


    Habit # 6: Synergize and go for creative cooperation.
    When managing our homes, it’s always tempting to try to “do it all” — especially when we feel that no one else can do the job better than we can!

    However, we need to realize that we can’t do everything by ourselves. We need to learn to have synergistic relationships with the other people in our home.

    What does this mean? Simply put, we need to learn to cooperate creatively with others. We must learn to come up with solutions that will benefit everyone else. We also need to learn to delegate tasks. Ces Doroja, a web copywriter and freelance writer, and mom to 2.8-year-old Ann Margaret, says, “Knowing when to delegate, what to delegate and to whom to delegate is something very important. I’d always assumed that working from home would allow me to do everything, only to find out that I had set myself up for failure.

    “Work-life balance is a tricky thing. We all need help, not necessarily from yayas, but from other members of the family, too,” she ends.

    Indeed, to be efficient and effective, we need to know where our strengths and weaknesses lie, and delegate the tasks we’re not good at to those who are good at doing them, or can do them more efficiently than us.


    Habit # 7: Sharpen the saw — Find time to recharge as a woman / wife / mom.
    Stephen Covey recommends four types of renewal: physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional. To become an efficient, effective homemaker, we must never neglect these four aspects of our lives.

    Toni Tiu, a social media manager for Balsam Brands, and mom to Timmy, 3, puts it best: “Don’t forget to nurture yourself, too. Work, family and the home can only shine when you yourself are shining!”

    Take time to “sharpen the saw,” as Covey says. According to him, “Renewal is the principle — and the process — that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

    To be an efficient homemaker, make sure you spend time recharging, whether it’s just to go to your favorite nail spa, or have a good chat over coffee with friends, or to read a good book. Make time for yourself.

    Bear in mind also the other aspects that need renewing: take time to pray and/or meditate daily (spiritual); fit in some regular exercise and eat healthy (physical); keep on learning and improving yourself (mental); and find opportunities to serve others (social/emotional).

    Remember, you cannot function properly in your home and other parts of your life if you are all burnt out!

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    To end, allow me to leave you with these words from George Bernard Shaw, author of Man and Superman: a Comedy and Philosophy:

    “This is the true joy in life — the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one… the being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

    I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.  I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.  
    “I rejoice in life for its own sake.  Life is no brief candle to me.  It's a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I  want  to  make  it  burn  as  brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

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