Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Problem of Time

I have two small(ish) children, (please take a moment to meet seeds.) We have two cats. My sweet, talented and ambitious husband has a day job, and is starting a business. This in reality means two jobs. I am trying to find a least one or two careers for myself. I have two blogs, and about two tons of extra-curricular interest, too many to list here. We only have one car, and strangely only one me.

Managing time is the biggest problem I seem to have. This is not an exhaustive list, but it helps. This is how get to all the things I need to, and sometimes I get to do the things that I want to.

  • Let some things go. There is cat hair on my duvet. I did not send out any cute holiday cards or organize the cookie exchange this year. I said no. I let some things go. This is the most difficult thing to do. If you read a few blogs – especially ‘Mom-themed’ blogs, you could start to believe that there are women who do “do it all”. They have perfectly behaved children who were potty trained at 18mo.; they blog about designing a line of hand painted greeting cards while their artisan bread rises but only on their days off from underwater Sanskrit brain surgery. Fact: there are people out there who do MORE than you do. So what? It is your life. Spend a little time to prioritize, draw a line and everything below it, LET IT GO. Give yourself a little acceptance. This has given me a handle on my time. It may sound trite, and that’s because you will never have the time to knit that sweater or write that novel or learn to oil paint if the cat hair on the duvet is keeping you up at night. I just read a great blog post about even reusing a few towels to cut on the laundry.
  • A little organization goes a long way. I am the least organized person that I know. I know that it is not my nature. If you are someone who can find the stamps right now, I commend you. I know I have a lot to learn. One of my new year’s resolutions was to use organization as a way to get stress out of my life. My 5yo son hates to get dressed in the morning. It takes forever, it takes tears, and it often takes the entire family to get an appropriate type and quantity of clothes on the boy. In the last couple of months, I have started laying out the kids’ clothes the night before. It takes the exact amount of minuets to select skivvies and a sweatshirt, but not the ever-precious and bleary-eyed morning minuets. The same goes for planning meals out for the week, instead of trying to come up with some thing on the way home from swim class. Even, steal one of my dinner (now!) ideas. Whatever that all consuming, stress inducing, time-suck there is, see if a little bit of planning and organization can take some of the stress out of it.
  • Use the Technology. I know you have a computer, (or at least a smart phone). There right now you have more technology readily available than all of our fore mothers combined. The trick is to use it and not let it use you. You gotta love the UPC scanning shopping list like Grocery IQ but ultimately you have to get the time to actually go to the store! There are two applications that I rely on: Google Calendars and Toodledo. I use the calendar because I can easily share a “family calendar” with my husband and this facilitates sharing a car, and making plans. It online, in our phones, there is no excuse for not knowing when swimming ends, or Joey’s birthday party starts. The real key is when you are proposing an all family underwear shopping trip, be sure to put it in the penciled-in until the Steelers are out of the play offs. I use Toodledo mostly to prompt me for recurring items, like getting to that cat hair on the duvet. It helps to know that everything does not need to be done right now!

How to you get everything in? I’d love to add a few more tools to my tool kit, because who wouldn't just want to spend more time playing with those two cuties in the picture up there.
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