On Monday, we talked about how your calendar reflects your priorities. Today, we’ll take it down a level and look at your daily schedule. Most of us don’t have something calendared every hour of every day. (If you do, we need to chat. That’s not healthy.)
In checking your daily schedule, take a look at how you handle the essential things you need to do each day. How much time do you spend on personal grooming? On cooking? On household chores? Do you allot time to pray? To exercise? To read? To craft? Do you make time to spend with friends and family? To call or write to folks who live far away?
How do you find time to do the things on that list that you want to do (or that you have to do?) The first step is eliminating the time wasters that creep into every schedule. Do you find yourself flipping through channels and watching programs you don’t care about? How else could you use that time? Limiting use of social media can open up a lot of time as well. Since I’ve stopped opening social media as soon as I wake up, I’ve discovered enough time in the morning to take care of small chores, pray, and read the newspaper. And Facebook and Twitter survive without my witty contributions.
If you need more time, a second step is to do things more efficiently. Make a list before you grocery shop so you won’t need to wander all over the store looking for what you need – forgetting several key items, necessitating a second trip. Gather your ingredients before you cook or your cleaning supplies before you clean. That will cut down on walking back and forth. Focus on completing each task before you move to the next one. It’s amazing how much time distraction can suck away.
A third option is to get help. If more than one non-infant person lives in your home, you have help! Everyone who lives in a home should contribute to the home. A shared burden is a lighter burden (once folks know what to do).
If none of these strategies work, you will need to cut back on the things you are doing. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. You may need to put certain things on hold for a time while you attend for other things. For example, I put crafting on the backburner when I started training for a half marathon. I put pleasure reading on hold when work gets heavy. I’ve put promotion of my writing career on hold while I work on my health. It’s all about deciding what’s important now and for your future.
One final note: If you schedule time for things that are enjoyable – reading, crafting, praying, spending time with friends and family – treat that time the same way you would treat a dental appointment. There will always be more work to be done, another necessary chore, another reason to delay this “non-productive time.” And that work will wait. I promise. The dishes won’t wash themselves.