Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Time Management

To be honest, this is the post I was going to write for Monday but, Sunday night, I was tired :-)  Better late than never, right  It is kind of fitting considering the topic is Time Management . .:-/ 

Courney at Women Living Well is hosting a 5 week series around Disciplines.  She is picking one descipline a week to work on over the course of the 5 weeks. This week she is working on Time Management.  If you have read this blog for long, you probably know that I'm a list maker; a scheduler; and am always trying to find new ways to make things more effecient.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm really not that effecient but I like to THINK of ways I MIGHT be HA! 

Time management is something that I struggle with now that I have kids.  Before kids, I could write my To Do list with all of the items I needed to get done, attach a time to each item and get everything done.  Now, I can write that same list, and get nothing done!  I'm also good at making excuses like "I can do it tomorrow" or "I just don't have time" even though I'm sitting in front of the computer reading facebook status' when I say that excuse!  The other thing I've found that I do is I write up a great schedule (I did this recently) that fits everything in perfectly but it is so unrealistic. (This most recent schedule had me getting up at 5:00 AM . . .that is not happening - no way, no how!)   With this in mind, I've been working to create something that will fit my life and embrace the fact that I have the privilage to be a stay at home mom which means I actually have freedom with my schedule - there is no "work" schedule to have to work around. 

I had a couple of "light-bulb" moments.  One, I am not a morning person.  Now, this is not a new thought at all.  I've known I'm not a morning person since I was born, I think.  (For the record, I come from a long line of non-morning people, my husband is not one and it appears that neither of my kids are either!!)  I really do not function well until about 10:00 AM.  That doesn't mean I'm not up accomlishing what HAS to be done, but it does mean that really trying to have a strict schedule prior to that just makes my grumpy!!!  Two, kids will make everything take longer because they are needy  . . . .and I love it :-)  Most days HA!  My boys are getting old enough to understand that there are things that I have to get done as long as the trade off is that I'll read to them later or play outside or whatever.  Plus they are becoming more and more independent which is nice too!  Finally, for me, Time Management, means that I need to not waste time doing things that aren't really important.  There is a fine line between doing things I enjoy and wasting time doing those things.  For example, I really enjoy Facebook - I enjoy the interraction with friends and family and seeing what people are up to.  I find some days, though, that after "catching up" (a 5 minute task), I sit in front of the computer and just keep clicking to see if anything new comes up . . .or writing "just one more comment" and pretty soon, 30 minutes has passed.  I also love to read and reading is a great way to take a break and relax but some days, I put off doing other tasks in order to read one more chapter - it's a great excuse . . "I'll do (whatever needs to be done) as soon as I finish the chapter" . .until the morning is gone! 

With all of that said, I am, and have been working, on coming up with a schedule that works for me and this is the current state of that affair!

7:00-10:00 AM - Get up and wait for the Munchkin to Arrive.
-- Both of my kids get up during this time from and eat breakfast
-- I eat breakfast, check facebook, read blogs, take my shower and get ready
-- I get the boys dressed and also get the Munchkin up from his morning sleep
** This time allows me lots of freedom - if the boys sleep late, after I put the Munchkin down for his nap, I'll kick back in the recliner and watch the morning news until they do get up; I'm able to catch up on computer stuff without feeling bad; and it allows me time to wake up and my kids to wake up before we really have to function.  One item that I feel like I don't have time for is my quiet time but I usually sit at the table and eat breakfast while just reading my Kindle - I had the realization as I wrote this that I could actually have my quiet time while eating breakfast.  I like my kids to see me reading my Bible as an example so this would be perfect.  That is something I need to start incorporating!!

10:00-11:00 - Daily Routine Items
-- Do the Daily cleaning
-- Do Daily Routine Items (I.e. Monday is Pick up and Put away day; Wednesday is the day I write the menu and so on)
-- Make sure my morning routine is done
-- If time, tackle any odd items on my to do list
** I have assigned a room a day to clean (I.e. Monday is the bathroom, Tuesday is the kitchen and so on) and I have a detailed cleaning list to do each week that takes about 30 minutes to get through each day.  This is also when I start laundry on laundry days - which now that my washer is working like a dream again, I only do about every 3 days.  During this time I do dinner prep, if need, such as getting dinner in the crock pot or gathering stuff for the meal so I know I have everything.  Finally, I always have a to do list so if there is time left in this hour, I will start to work on some of those items.

11:00-12:00 - Kid time, prep for lunch
-- Focus on the kids by reading, playing, coloring - whatever they are doing. 
-- Starting the Afternoon routine which begins with getting lunch on the table by about noon.
** There isn't a lot of explanation here.  Some days the kids are very into playing something together so then I use this time to catch up on computer stuff, fold laundry, or doing something on my to do list. 

12:00-1:00 - Lunch Time
-- We eat lunch, clean up, and this is free time for me - if I have time I read or whatever until 1:00

1:00-2:00 - Project Time
-- Work on projects on my list
** The kids are usually pretty content during this time so I like to use it for projects - everything from painting in a room (like the kitchen!!) to doing craft projects or working on some scrapbooking - it all depends on what has hit my to do list for the week. 

2:00-3:00 - Down time
** I have learned to give myself some down time in the afternoon.  This time frame is when I have no motivation - consistently.  (And, as I thought back to even when I really "worked" ;-) this was the worst time of day for me - as a matter of fact, eventually, I moved my lunch time to this hour so I could come home and chill !!)  I put the munchkin down for his nap and then will often use this time to read - either inside or out depending on where the boys are.  I've even been trying to not use this time for the computer but sometimes - it is also a great time to write future blog posts.  If I happen to have lots of energy for some reason - I will work on a project, fold laundry, or clean. 

3:00-7:30 - The Crazy Hours
-- Snack time, get the munchkin up (3:30), and get everyone content again - this time seems to be when kids get cranky as they need something to eat!
-- Prep for dinner, cook dinner, eat dinner (usually at 5:00 or 5:30) and clean up
-- Family time, bath time (6:30) and bedtime for the kids (7:30) 
** I call these the crazy hours because, well, they are.  From about 3:00 or 3:30 I go pretty non-stop until the kids go to bed.  Between the Munchkin leaving, my husband coming home, getting dinner on and then cleaned up, putting away the last load of laundry on laundry day, clean up, bathtime and bedtime - I feel like I've run a marathon on some days!  This is also the time that I tend to run the vacuum - while the kids are starting their bath and the floor is cleaned up of toys. 

7:30-9:30 - Adult, Relaxing time
-- Relax :-)
**  This is when we kick back in the quiet, watch our favorite shows, play on our computers and chat.  I've been trying to go to bed closer to 9:30 but it doesn't always happen. 

The one thing that I have not fit in yet is exercise - I've got some creative ideas I'll share when I actually do them but it is a work in progress.

We do have things that change our schedule - errands and such.  Those items just replace something in a time frame . For example, last Thursday, we ran errands from 11:00-12:00 so that was our fun time (and yes, the kids had fun).  Plus 2-3 nights a week my husband or I have commitments - he has practice for the group he is in, I have choir practice and right now, I have photography class.  We just fit that stuff in and it works.  I've learned it is ok if something gets missed on a week :-) 

Yes, my plan is evolving but it is actually working.  I started this plan about a month ago and it has really helped me stay focused better.  I no longer feel like there isn't time to get certain things done but rather am accomplishing more because there is time for it!!  I already know that our schedule will need to change slightly this fall as I'll be starting some preschool things with Josh that will need a specific time frame but it won't start before 10:00 :-)