A few months ago, I read a post (Productivity Tip #2 – Schedule your time (and stick to it)), by my fellow blogger friend, Terence Brown of Help Grow Change
After reading, I set a challenge before myself and decided I would give it a go…In doing so, I found the time I never knew I had!
I have always been one to do things for everyone else with never enough time or energy left for myself. I think there is a reason why today’s title is in the order that it’s set out. All 3 these things are important. How many times have you heard the saying, “You can’t do anything for anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first“?
Well, before I took on the challenge, I was of the strong opinion that “I don’t have time to do anything else“. So I made a few changes…
- I changed my attitude towards not having any time to saying I have time.
- My mindset changed and so did the number of hours I had spare. I realized quickly that I was actually wasting time, unintentionally of course. I changed it as soon as I had the revelation.
- Every spare moment I had, I did something to fill the gap. For example, I would put a load of laundry into the washing machine and tumble dryer and then go do something else. (I no longer wasted time ironing clothes, even though I love doing this while watching a movie). I didn’t need to babysit the machines and they would happily do what they were designed to do.
- I also cleaned the house during the week. Vacuuming after or before supper time, making sure not to miss out on the required daily tasks, which took precedence.
- Things like bathing my daughter, homework, cleaning the kitchen and making the family’s lunch for the next day. I found that things like these are where my time wasting went. So I took a stand against my family and as my son puts it, went on a (permanent) strike. This has proven to be the biggest sanity saver by far.
My day started filling up very quickly and I’m happy to say that I now have at least a few hours to a day spare at the end of the week. I get to choose if this day will be filled with lazing around, watching a movie or just browsing around the mall. It really doesn’t matter what I do on this day because it’s not predefined.
The beauty of the time I now have spare is, I get to choose who to devote that time to for that moment. Either way, someone (be it myself, my family or my friends) benefits.
I gave this challenge a few months before I decided to write about it. I wanted to test a few things…
- Would this be a momentary thing like a diet that starts out with every good intention and falls face first, failing miserably? or
- Would life get in the way? or
- Would I just revert back to my old ways, therefore, blowing said theory out the water? or
- Along the way, I questioned whether or not I would burn myself out and decide that it just wasn’t worth the effort? I suppose this is a big possibility because I was literally using up all my “free” time in a day.
I soon realized that I needed to have a cutoff time for when I would stop working or doing anything. I needed to still feel human at the end of the day. So, I decided that by 7:30…8pm for the latest, I would literally down tools. I normally end up going to bed between 9 and 10 at night. (If it were up to me, I would be in bed by 8). I guess I can’t have it all.
The way I see it, before, I didn’t really have enough time to devote to my family. In fact, in time, I loathed the fact that I had to do “stuff” for them. This is not the way I “think” it should be when doing anything for someone you profess to love. However, I also believe that it most definitely works both ways. If my family professes to love me, then surely my happiness should matter just as much to them.
I can now finally think about doing things I love to do…I just need to figure out exactly what that is. Honestly though, making the move towards this feels very foreign to me, hence I haven’t successfully transitioned to that stage yet. But, I most definitely will…
I can see the benefits of the changes I’ve made, especially for my family. I feel better…I don’t have as many emotional outbursts, I don’t fight with the kids about trivial things in the morning. In fact, if I feel like I’m going to, I take a walk downstairs to my room and just take a few minutes to myself. I leave the time management in the morning up to my children. It’s a skill right?
The time I’ve “gained” is well spent doing what I love by either blogging or at the moment it’s devoted to starting a new book project.
In the process, I am finding time to get to know myself a little better. I’m loving the changes and wouldn’t give it up for anyone in the world.
If you are having trouble finding the time you “think” you don’t have, why not give this a try?
You have nothing to lose and only time to gain…