Take time to make time
School run, work out, breakfast, housework…no housework, workout….no wait, work out, housework… hang on… if I get up an hour earlier I can fit in an extra… does this sound like you?
Is there a constant running out of time feeling in your heading leading to anxiety and a constant feeling of rushing? It’s not nice is it?
But it doesn’t have to be that way, you can take back control of our time of our day and its really simple when you think about it.
A technique we all used and all hated at school, timetabling. The tiny little squares usually in the back of some sort of diary telling you where you need to be and when and how long for. But the great thing about it was that (at least where I went to college) they blocked out your “free time” for you, those little hours with no classes, the little breaks where you can sit on the field and just be. When we come out of the education phase of our life and hail the freedom to not be “run” by a timetable any more the feeling is exciting. Except we are…we just don’t write it down, we try to remember it all and that method is just not a sustainable one in a modern world of immediate responses and no waiting, no breathing time.
Recently, I started an experiment to see if I timetable out my day what my output would be, and the result? I get everything and more I need to done and still have MORE time for myself! AMAZING!
So, this is how I did it:
I sat down and took a look at my current days to find out where I’m spending my time (those apps that show you how much time you’re on your phone are great for this, but its pretty scary and not for the faint hearted, you’ve been warned.)
Decide on the “have tos”, “got tos” and “want tos” in order to make a list of priorities. For example, have tos, the non-moveable things: school runs, doctor appointments, meetings, meals- for me and I know many other people eating I something that we just fit in, and often we don’t fit it in. So, scheduling a time to sit down and eat your meals really helped. You were never too busy for lunch in college, now you’re an adult and suddenly don’t have time?
Got tos, the stuff you have to do but not at a fixed time: Housework. But more specifically, what housework needs to be done every day? Things like washing up and wiping down your bathroom and kitchen. Other things can be done a little less often 2-3 times per week like your clothes washing, can you wash one day and put away the next? Or hoovering, do you need to hoover every day or will 3 times per week be enough? And less often still, bedding for example needs to be washed once a week, how often do you need to mop? If at all?
Once you have your priority list of monthly, weekly, bi weekly, and daily jobs you’ll have a more manageable break down of what you need to do with your days and how you can fit it in.
Want tos, the stuff that will probably take up your “free” time: Depending on priorities obviously, but my “want tos” include things like a weekly face mask, doing my finger and toe nails, doing my hair, working out a little bit, social media time. If your workout schedule is more gruelling or you more motivated then me then by all means stick that workout in your “have tos.”
Now that you have a priority list of not only what but of how often you’ll be able to start coming to terms with your own schedule and how you can fit things in. For example. I do all of my housework jobs first thing after the school run because I have a toddler to take out and engage with. I block out hours where I can fit in my social media input and try (try being the operative word) to not go out of my block. Be kind to yourself and make sure that as your scheduling you block out that all important free time for you.
For example, a typical day looks like this for me:
Get up, put a load of washing on, eat breakfast, school run, put now done washing in drier, wipe down bathroom, hoover downstairs, strip one of the 6 beds in my house hold, take out toddler including picnic, get home, fold now dried washing, prepare dinner, school run, cook children’s dinner, do homework, husband home, he takes over children care, workout/do face mask/hair while he has children, put children to bed, cook adult dinner, eat, wipes down the kitchen while husband washes up, and relax, bed.
Its easier to schedule for a whole week then just a day, or if you’re having a particularly busy time with meetings and appointments and such schedule in for two weeks at a time.
Delegate! Nobody Every got to where they are now alone they all had help along the way. So, work together can your significant other/flat mate/ well-meaning friend/ co-worker/ help you out at all? Can you take turns washing up? Can your SO do a few extra things? Can you delegate a chore or two to your kids?
There will still be days that call for messy buns and get stuff done. But hopefully with the use of a simple blocked out couple of weeks you’ll create more time for yourself and use the time you have more efficiently.
A final word from me, just a few bits to remember as you go on your scheduling journey.
There is very little that can’t wait until tomorrow, if your washing sits in the basket an extra day does it REALLY matter? Be kind to yourself, you can’t do it all.
Everyone’s schedule will look different, mine has fewer work outs and more play dates, someone else will have more meetings and fewer school runs, it’s whatever works for you and your family at this point in your lives. Its changeable- roll with it.
Little and often is the way, its easier to pop some bleach in your toilet before bed to keep the sheen then it is to get on your knees and scrub that bad boy 3 times a week.
If your social media time does become over run (which let’s be honest it’s really hard not to) I like to over compensate by having no tech days where I take the kids out and leave my phone inside. Too just be in the moment, and not be instagramming the moment.
About the Author: Robyn is passionate writer, blogger and mum. Her debut children’s book coming out later this year. You can find more information about Robyn here