Monday, June 17, 2013

Time Management

I love to read.  I live to read.  Seriously.  On a hot summer day or a nice spring day, the thought of heading to my deck (or the lake or the pool or the beach)  with a book and a glass of lemon water is like pure heaven.  In winter and fall all I want to do is burrow under my down comforter, lay against my down pillows, sip some Tazo tea and lose myself in a novel.  It's like a little carrot being dangled in front of me all day soon as I get this, this and this done, I can go read!

Except that rarely happens.

I don't get this, this and this done...and it's usually not until after dinner that I can adjourn with a book!


This has been really bugging me and I have been feeling like I don't get a lot done and I never have time to do what I want!

So I took a long hard look at it.

1.  First, I decided to really think about HOW I WANT to spend my TIME:
I would love to be reading, homeschooling, with friends, art journaling, field trips, blogging.

2.  Next, I looked at what detracted from that:
I spend absurd amounts of time on the internet.  I also spend a lot of time avoiding stuff I don't want to do and dreading doing those things.  I also spend a lot of time feeling crappy because my kids' rooms are a disaster (when anything in my house is out of place, I can't think straight, OCD maybe??)

3.  Eat That Frog! I remembered this book that Jason had read.  The premise of the book is to do the stuff you don't like doing FIRST so that it isn't hanging over your head making you miserable all day.  As my mom would say, "First you do the things you have to do, then you do the things you want to do."

4.  I decided to identify things I don't enjoy doing.  Some housework. My day is better if I exercise in the morning rather than put it off.

5.  I also realized that the girls were sleeping too late.  When we started homeschooling, I had said they could stay up reading as late as they wanted, never realizing Allie would read a book a night and not get up til noon!  I have been eating those words for three years!!  But I am the mom and I have to put my foot down.  If the girls are not up by 8 or 9, I wake them up.  We have to get our day started or it ends up feeling like the day is over before we start!

6.  A little planning goes a long way.  I have always kept a notebook of things I need to get done in a day, menus, grocery lists, errands, etc.  This helps me so much!  Every night I take a few minutes and jot down what I want to accomplish the next day.  But I am realistic: I only put 3-4 housecleaning or errands on there and 3-4 homeschooling or fun things on there.

7.  The BIGGEST thing I have done though is to change my thinking.  I was trying to pack too much into a day and then feeling upset by not having time for what I want.  And I wasn't happy.  So, I have made it that I get THESE FEW THINGS DONE and then we do something we want to do.

I have also had to change the way I feel about errands, instead of "getting them done" I am trying to not feel pressure to get them done and let that pressure take away from time spent on  other things.  So, yes, I could "get them done" but then I may just have to run to the store again a few days later if I was hasty.  I keep a running list in my trusty notebook and we are learning to "make do" until I get there!

8.  Delegate!  My girls have been helping with housework for a couple of years.  Allie wants to do her own laundry and does.  Recently both girls have shown an interest in cooking and several nights a week, I plan "easy" meals--pasta, eggs, etc. that the girls can cook and several nights a week they help me, we put music on and it's fun!  In the morning after breakfast, the girls clean their rooms while I throw in laundry, do dishes, etc.

9.  Stop and smell the roses.  I live on the East Coast, just outside Manhattan and I have most of my life.  Slowing down is not normal for us here.  I have to force myself.  But I am trying.

10.  Guilt!  This is the biggest.  I often feel guilty doing something fun when my husband is busting his butt at work.  He always tells me that he likes the idea of the girls and I having fun, it makes him happy, it is why he works so hard.... He is awesome and I am working on it!

Do you have any tips for managing time better?