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It’s so hard to find any extra time in the day, especially if you work full time and have children, or simply have children. Am I right?
So, I’m going to help you find some of that well hidden extra time, so you can get just a little more done in your day!
If you’re like I used to be then you may believe that you don’t have enough time and will never ever have enough time to get everything done that you need to? (Or want to, or feel obligated to, because you’re a mother and a responsible adult who should be doing adult things. Like cleaning up after yourself and everyone else in the home. Even if your significant other isn’t doing anything close to that.) Well, I can’t help you on feeling like you’re trying to keep up a home all by yourself. But, keep reading to find out how to get rid of that ‘I don’t have enough time’ feeling!
I originally wrote this when I had a full time job, working forty hours a week in an office outside of my home. If I was lucky and there was little to no traffic I was able to drive to work in about thirty-five minutes, one way. So, it was a little bit of a commute. Oh, and I had a second full time career, and still do, that consumes almost every other hour of the day. Yep, I’m a mom- or a mommy, mama, or anything else my children call me! As many of you probably know, this is the most stressful, challenging, exhausting, and most rewarding position we can have in life. It makes life pretty hectic. And, unless we’re a little organized and fight back for our sanity, it can become completely overwhelming and chaotic.
The Power of a Plan
So, you ask, how do we keep what’s rightfully ours and use it in a way that we desire? (I’m talking about time here.) WE MUST PLAN!! And I know, you have probably read hundreds of other posts or articles or maybe even full books on how to plan or how to manage your time to be more productive. I know I have! And they all have one thing in common; there is never just one way to it. Everyone has their own style and a system that works best for them. It could be lists, weekly planners, bullet journals, free organized printable’s you found online. Or, you may have a whole command center set up (and if you do then I congratulate you as I would love to have one, but it doesn’t feel right at this time in my life as my little ones are still very little, maybe next year when my oldest starts school).
And there I go, making up excuses for and rationalizing for not doing something because I believe I would never have the time to finish it, or for this case, start it! See, it’s not just our family’s fault we don’t have time to do what we want. We trap ourselves into thinking we don’t have the time and then rationalize the heck out of it to make ourselves feel better.
But let’s face it, it doesn’t feel better. The only way we can make it better is by fixing the problem and owning up to what we actually use our time for. (If that means finally realizing how much time you waste on Facebook, then so be it!)
We Can’t Make Time; We Have to Find It
To get back on track, we like extra time and we need more of it, right? We need something, anything, to make it so we have more of this beloved asset, like Hermione Granger’s time turner necklace (please don’t judge my nerdiness- you too, wish you could have it and have it actually work). Unfortunately, this does not exist, at least not a fully functioning one. But, hey, we can always pretend, right?
But, really, we need another way to find time for what we want. And, you know what, I found the time to write this, so let me let you in on my secret to finding some extra time!
Time is excellent at hide and seek, or peek-a-boo. It’s always there and can be found, it just may take a little work to find it! For me, it was just hidden under my stressing about time and everything I need to do.
It hid under piles of laundry, in the sink under dishes needing to be cleaned (because we have to eat twenty times a day), it hid beneath toys and within the recipes I have yet to organize. But it’s there. Everyday. It’s there. Waiting for you to decide what you will do with it, longing to know how you will manipulate it to benefit you.
Own Your Time
You are the master of your own time. No one else. Just you. So, take ownership of it, don’t let others steal it out from under you without realizing it. It’s a great asset to have and to have control over. But, like other assets that are useful to have in this world, like money or knowledge, it takes some to make some. What this means is, and I know you don’t want to hear this, but, you need to take some time to create a plan to manage your time. And, let me guess, you’re wondering how in the world am I supposed plan my time if I don’t have enough time to do what actually needs to get done. My best solution and my recommendation for you is to just do it.
Seriously. Just grab a pen and paper, sit down, and start. A calendar and calculator may come in handy, too. This is what you need to do and you know it. If you found the time to read this post then you’ll have time to start using your time to your advantage and plan it out. No more excuses, all you need is about ten minutes to start planning your time.
And, if you need more help creating a weekly schedule, go here!
What do you think will work for you?
For me, it’s plain ol’ pen and paper, or post-its, old notebooks, oh-and my agenda-which I’m still trying to utilize more- couldn’t live without in college. (Update: I bought my first Living Well planner and I’m absolutely loving it!! I really enjoy using the planner.)
If you want, you could even download the templates I created to help with creating your week!!
For you, it could be pen and paper, or it could be using your phone or computer. (Or for you more organized people out there with your command center all set up, just skip a few paragraphs down. Even better- leave a comment below to help us less organized people out!) Just use what you feel comfortable with and know you will remember to look at through out the day.
Now, lets take it one more step.
Are you ready?
Think about what format would work for you. Do you like lists, or planning out every hour of the day? Do you like filling out a pre-made planner or printable, or do you like having a bullet journal? Or, are you completely lost and have no idea where to start or what you would like to do because you haven’t had to do any type of planning what-so-ever since you graduated high school or college; unless you count finding something to make your family for dinner and packing the diaper bag before you leave the house, as planning.
Let me tell ya, having kids can really change who you are in that way. This is exactly how I was a couple months ago(and how I still feel sometimes now); no idea where to even start. But, I had enough and needed to put an end to feeling so out-of-control with my time and my life. Have you had enough yet?
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Okay! I hope I have you little more motivated now to invest in your time, with time, to save time and find out you do indeed have time. Hopefully, you have also been able to figure out where it all goes. If not, then I would recommend tracking what you do everyday for a week or so to figure it out. There are plenty of apps for this. (I have an android, the app I used a month or so ago to track my time was SaveMyTime – Time Tracker.)
I want you to do me a favor, I really mean do yourself a favor though, because you’re the one who will benefit! Right now-not when you’re done reading this, but right now. Pin this post for later, if you need to!!
Write it Out!
Write down everything that you can think of that you have to do. Whether it be something you should be doing now instead of reading this, or something you have planned to do a week from now, just write it down. If it makes it easier, just dump everything you’re thinking of and everything on your mind, down. You can organize it later. Just write everything down now. Before you forget it!
Did you miss anything?
Don’t forget that you need time to eat and sleep, too!
After you have your list, take out everything that doesn’t require time.
Then write down next to each item that takes time, how much time it should take you to accomplish, estimate higher rather than lower as if budgeting your time like money. It’s better to expect something to take longer and then have extra time, rather than estimate low and have the task spill over into something else; that’s how we get and feel behind.
Doesn’t that make you feel better, to write out everything on your mind. It should help take some weight off your shoulders by just doing that simple act. By doing this, you don’t have to worry about trying to remember everything, which is a relief in itself.
Organize your brain dump
Now that you have your list, and time estimates, you’re probably thinking one of two things. Either, “wow, how am I ever going to get all of this stuff done, I only get 24 hours in a day”. Or “hey, this isn’t that bad, I don’t really have that much I need to do”.
To the first remark, you don’t need to do everything on you’re list in a single day. Sure you need to sleep and eat and possibly take a child to school or go to work. But, most of the things on your list could probably be rationed off to each day of the week or the month. Do you really need to do a load of laundry everyday, or vacuum, or pick up your child’s room for them every single day just so they can mess it up again? Probably not. (I only pick up my girls’ playroom once a week; if they want it picked up then my older daughter is old enough to pick it up by herself.)
To the second remark, are you sure you didn’t miss anything? If you didn’t, then can you start to see where you can finally fit some of those things in that you want to do with your time? If so, then yay you!! But, you may still want to keep reading.
For Those Who Feel Overwhelmed…
For everyone who is still overwhelmed with the amount of things that they have on their list, or for those who are still lost, subscribe to get the weekly planning workbook! Then prioritize your tasks and start scheduling out the most important things for your week. The ones you cannot live without should always be the first activities you make time for, like say sleeping, eating, feeding your kids, and appointments.
If you don’t feel like you have the time to just eat and have that take up a full time slot, try combining it with something else. For example, when I eat my breakfast, more times than not, I am also writing or working. Just be sure you don’t combine too many things in one time slot. That would defeat the purpose and may promote hopelessness in finding extra time. You may even become overwhelmed because you didn’t plan enough time for all that you need to do. And, that would not be good. After eating and sleeping, fill in non-negotiable activities, such as having to work and shower and anything else that you absolutely need to do.
Now that you have the most important and non-negotiable items scheduled in at their own times; you can now start filling in the rest of your day with other items on your list. Before you get doing that though, I do want to give you a few tips, and please follow these! Especially if you have children!
Schedule each item with extra buffer time- fellow moms, you know why!
Remember, you do not need to do everything everyday. In each of my days I plan a +1 for a half hour. This time is for me to do one thing each day that doesn’t need to get done everyday. This could be cleaning out the fridge, or spending time creating my schedule for the week, or it could be a well-deserved bubble bath. (Can’t remember the last time this happened for me. But, it is important to have some time for yourself to just relax, whatever it may be).
Try not to over plan. By this, I mean don’t try to fit everything into the first few days so you have time later in the week to do nothing. I’ve tried this, it doesn’t work out too well. But then again, don’t under plan either. If you feel like you have too much time for things in the day because you listened to me and added in extra buffer time. Or, maybe your children finally went down for a nap and are sleeping longer than expected. When miracles like these happen; make use of the extra time instead of wasting it. Make a list of quick things that can be done in five or ten minutes; you never know when those little ones will wake up!
Using this method of planning works best for me, it may not be the best for you. If you already have a system that works for you, then don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken. But, if you don’t know where to start or have tried other methods and nothing seems to work; then I highly suggest you try this method; you won’t regret it! Even on the off chance that it doesn’t work for you, at least now you know. You’ll also know everything you need to get done; it’s right there in front of you now!
Don’t give up! If you realize that the schedule you made isn’t matching up with your realistic schedule then edit it! It’s not set in stone, you can re-do it or change things at anytime. Don’t think just because your first schedule or first draft doesn’t work that it will never work. Life changes all the time. Therefore, your schedule must change and adapt just as you do, to cope with your ever changing life.
If you’re still reading this, then I thank you for finding the time to read it all the way through. But, tomorrow when you have “extra” time to read posts, why don’t you spend the time planning your time instead. Invest in your time, and invest in yourself and your life, because guess what? You’re worth it! So, be a little selfish for a moment in your day. Make your life a little bit easier by planning it out, be intentional, you’ll thank yourself when you do!
If you’re looking to be healthier and more productive every day and work towards big goals; sign up to get my workbook!
Or, if you simply want a template to help you create a more productive week, with less time wasted on silly things, sign up to get the ‘create you week’ workbook!
How to Create a Weekly Schedule that Actually Works!
5 Reasons Your Child (and You) Need a Daily Schedule
5 Time Management Tips for Moms that Fail