Can't we all use more effective time management skills?
Most of us have the same daily frustration: there aren't enough hours in the day.
As Real Foodies, we have even more to fit into our waking hours. Yes, there are plenty of healthy fast meals we can whip up, and we all get more efficient as we learn tricks so that everything flows better, but still, at times the Real Foodie, “slow food” lifestyle does eat up a larger chunk of our day. (And blogging about it, even more so!)
So how do you do it?
We're part-way through January, so now might be a good time to take another look at your 2012 goals.
What are your best tips for planning out your days, sticking to the plan, being flexible when things come up, and most importantly, how to enjoy life in the midst of it all?
There are a few things I've learned, and I hope you'll share your tips in the comments, too, because I have a long way to go and still feel frazzled most of the time.
- Start with making a list of your goals. If you were fitting everything into your week that you wanted to, what would be on that list? Include “fun” things and to-do items. Pencil all of it into a weekly plan. (I did this last fall, and it looked good on paper, but turns out there still weren't enough hours because everything takes so much longer than it should!)
- Be realistic. If you can't fit it all in, start crossing things off, learn to say NO. I've gotten good at this because I keep reminding myself that when the kids are grown, then I can volunteer to help more with this or that, but right now my family and my business get the majority of my time. We really can't do it all, and don't you hate that?
- One thing that has worked really well around here is to plan certain to-do items for when the kids are home from school that we can do together, or that I can do while helping them with homework at the same time: things like folding, cooking dinner, going through never ending piles of mail and papers, emptying the dishwasher, etc.
- Build some margin into your life. Don't cut everything so close. Here's one way I do this and it saves me a load of stress… If I have to be out the door by 8:50, then I'll play little games with myself and say that I have to be out by 8:45. (Kent thinks playing games to not be late is dumb, but he's Mr. Marine Corp Disciplined Guy, and I know me, it's what I have to do to get places on time!) Here's a book with more about this: Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives. I should really pull that out and read it again.
- Be OK with imperfections. That one is almost a cliche, but we all need the reminder. My house is almost always picked up, just because clutter bugs both Kent and me, but don't look too close at the bathrooms, my oven, the windows, or in the corners, because it's not pretty. And I've decided that wrinkly clothes are just the way it's going to be. I can get loads through the washer and dryer fairly easily, but just can't seem to get the folding done on a daily basis. (We work out of the clean laundry baskets for most of each week.) As I said above, as much as I want to get to it all, most days I just can't. (Yes, the kids help with a lot of this stuff, but on busy evenings it's not easy finding time to get them to do it, either.)
- Have a heart to heart with your spouse if needed. Thankfully Kent is a great help around here and understands that I can't get to everything, so he's always helping with homework, or doing dishes, even toilets! Yes, I know this makes me super blessed. He rarely even complains about it, for real! If you need help, have you tried just asking? For some it still just won't happen, and if so, focus on the other qualities that make your spouse wonderful, no one is perfect, and in that case, see the next one…
- If you or your spouse hate cleaning and the budget allows, hire help! If I ever make enough money to justify it, I'd LOVE to hire someone to help clean, even a once-a-month cleaner would be so nice. Someday… For now, we'll continue with our “family cleaning parties” on Saturdays when needed, the kids love those.
- Above all, I tell myself often to “choose the better part“. Helping in our kids' classrooms or at church as I can is important to me. Being flexible with my schedule if a friend needs something is a priority, too. I constantly have to remind myself that the to-do list will always be looming, and yes, earning money to pay for college and such is necessary, but sometimes other things need to take precedence.
Having said all that, I still get really frustrated at not being able to stay on top of things better.
I know that having my own business, which takes up way too many hours, doesn't help, but PLEASE tell me how do you get it all done in a day and still be a good parent/spouse/friend, pray, eat well, sleep well, exercise, etc. etc. etc.?????? Thank you!