Friday, November 5, 2010

Time Management

One of my dearest readers has asked me to write about time management.  Ask and you shall receive, G.  Good luck with the move.  xoxo

In any given day, I have what seems like a million tasks to complete.  It's okay though, I do better busy.  Really.

I always think back to when I was in college.  I don't honestly know how I got everything done that I did.  The only possible explanation is that I was young and thrived on four hours of sleep.  I worked, volunteered, took a huge course load, went to the gym religiously, laid out by the pool at least once a week and spent almost every weekend with Tom.  Like I said, I didn't sleep much. 

These days, I need to sleep more, at least in an ideal world.  I want to sleep more, not that I necessarily do. 

I reason that I could do as much as I did back then because I wasn't constantly preoccupied with children.  And, in all honestly, I'd suppose that I probably am actually busier now, even if my daily accomplishments never amount to anything momentous.  Being a mom is not a glamorous job.  There are no accolades, no awards, no celebrations.  Just sticky kisses.  Those are even better, though, I think.

So, the question is: How do I manage my time?

1.  Lists.  These days, I have mommy brain.  I used to be able to remember everything.  Now, not so much.  I learned a long time ago that I need to write stuff down if there is any chance of my remembering it.  So I have lists.  I have long term lists and short term lists.  I try to set goals for each day of what I want to get done.  I used to laugh at the women of older generations who had set schedules for chores....you know, laundry on Monday, floors on Tuesday, etc.  But as I have gotten older myself and had more children, I can see the value in that kind of organization.  It makes the housework more manageable and less overwhelming if you see it as daily tasks instead of a constantly growing chore.

2.  Keep Going.  I also have no down time.  Like, ever.  If there is any hope for me to get everything done in a given day that I need/want/expect myself to, I have to keep going.  Pretty much from the time I wake up until I go to bed, I am doing something.  I can't remember the last time I sat and read a book just for me, though it sounds lovely.

3.  Multitask.  I have elevated multitasking to an art form.  A few days ago, I was cooking dinner, helping the girls with homework, typing a post here and chatting with a friend on Facebook simultaneously.  That is the only way I get everything done.  I am so accustomed to doing it that there are times I have to force myself to slow down and focus on just one thing.  If Ally is struggling to sound out a word or Aidan needs help to learn long division or Ashley wants me to help her find something...I have to force myself to stop everything else and be wholly present for them. 

4. Give Yourself a Break.  I schedule days of non-activity on purpose.  I intentionally have at least one day a week that we have nothing planned.  It's the slow down and catch up day.  The kids need unstructured time to just be kids too.

5.  Bulk.  I try to make huge dinners so there are leftovers.  For example, when I make soups, I freeze enough for a meal.  It saves time later on for a little more work up front.

6.  Tidiness.  Clean as you go, that way you hopefully avoid big messes. 

7. Embrace the Chaos.  At the same time, learn to live with imperfection.  I sweep the kitchen floor every day, but I only mop it once a week unless I have a really good reason. It's not worth doing more often. 

8. Organization.  If everything has a place, then you know where it goes.  It reduces clutter at least in theory, and you spend less time putting stuff away.  Then again, I have an unusual affection for containers.

9.  Prioritize.  If something is not really that important, then you have to decide if you will bother with it at all.  For instance, I don't care if the kids make their beds unless we have visitors.  I don't expect them to make them, and I certainly don't do it. 

10.  Coffee.  Lots of coffee.  Lots.

1 comment:

  1. Perfecto. I love and will use them. Thank you!!!

    ReplyDelete

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