Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Journey to Simpler: I'm spending 2 days a week on WHAT?

I'm making my way towards a simpler way of living and chronicling the process for you (kinda like my own Julie/Julia project...except Dana/Tsh). You're so welcome. Here's the first post in case you missed it. :)

The next thing I started tackling as I go through Tsh Oxenreider's book Organized Simplicity is how I spend my time.

What was that? Did I hear a collective groan? Oh, was that just me?

I really, really, really do not like the topic of time management. Remember? I like to fly free. I don't like to be constrained. In fact, right now it's 11:34 and instead of getting lunch ready, my kids are eating candy in their pajamas while I, on a whim, type up this post. I do acknowledge that time management is good and necessary, but it has felt like prison to me in the past. I'm hoping to change that.

If I'm going to manage my time and keep up with how I spend it, then it better darn well be worth it. I will not do this unless it serves me and my family in the end. Bottom line. Selfish? Probably, but if I'm not honest about it, I will fizzle out quickly and lose sight of the purpose....thus, wasting even more time.....and then wasting your time reading this post... and ruining your life. You see how bad that would be, right?

So Tsh had me make 3 lists: a list of all the things I would like to be able to do in any given month (coffee with a friend, date night, blog time, etc) , a list of basic things I must do to live (eat, sleep, clean, etc), and a list of all the things I actually do in a month (it was a long list).

Then, you circle all the things in the 3rd list that weren't in either of the first two. These are your time suckers. Some of them were necessary and fine. Others made me nervous to write down (facebook).

Here came the fun part (ahem): of the circled items, try to estimate how many hrs you spend doing them each week. Then total for the month. I really highly recommend you do this.

I was not at all surprised to see that facebook, blogs and pinterest were taking up a lot of my time. What made my jaw drop was exactly how much time. I tried to be really honest about it and I'm hoping that perhaps I overestimated, but what I came up with was staggering.

Here's where it gets real, y'all. Don't judge, ok?

According to my calculations, I have been spending 29-42 hours a WEEK on the computer. I mean, that has to be wrong, right?!?

I still can't believe it. 1-2 days a week are spent on my freaking computer! Is this how my kids will remember me? Sitting on a chair in front of a screen?

Well, this has to change. Pronto.

I'm taking baby steps. The first one being to have a daily to-do list, a list of the 3 most important tasks (MIT's) that need to get done that day and a general time outline of how the day will go. I printed out Tsh's daily docket sheets to help me with this.

I love how she doesn't suggest that you write out every single hour and what you plan to be doing...that's overwhelming to me. Instead, it's just a general scope of the day.

Here's an example of a day earlier this week:

9:00 Take boys to my mother-in-law's

-walk with a friend
-organize Manny's shoes and start on cleaning out his closet

2:00 Pick up the boys

3:00 Boys nap

-work on orders
-finish MIT's
-start dinner

6:00 Dinner

8:00 Boys bedtime
-time with the hubby

I've been pretty good at completing my MIT's each day, but there is definitely a learning curve to this. For instance, I don't homeschool, my 2 boys are not going to school yet but are pretty independent during the day and, honestly, some days are just really laid back. Like today.

Yesterday was really busy and we were out of the house most of the day but today we're home, there aren't a ton of pressing projects (though there are certainly things that could be done) and so I've spent the morning blogging, which was on my list of things I want more time for, but maybe not what I should have done with the morning.

My MIT's for the day are to vacuum the house, finish the laundry and make a few phone calls. Of course there's always dinner to think about and the boys require attention, but there's still a lot of down time. Figuring out what exactly to do with that time is challenging. So, I'll just learn as I go. And maybe start by feeding my children lunch. :)

So far, it has been amazingly helpful to have a loose plan for the day and at least 3 tasks that will be done (hopefully) by the end of it. I have gotten so much more done, spent more quality time with the boys, I know what we're having for dinner and I'm just not as caught off guard by life's happenings in general...not that we can always avoid that.

I mean, I'm probably down to, like, 24 hours of computer time a week now. :)

PS....I've heard through the grapevine that the kindle version of Tsh's book is free right now on Amazon! If you don't have a kindle, here's a way to download the book to your computer. Run, don't walk, people!


Scotty and Lisa said...

I totally would freak out if I knew how much time I spent online, too. Thanks for being honest. I love the idea of just being more intentional with how I spend my time and am trying to get this free kindle version (score!), but my kindle seems to be rebelling at the moment. If I can get it, I'm sure I'll be posting awareness blog soon. :)

Kelly Keller said...

I skipped this step because I was too afraid to find out. ;-) But I've started tracking my days and mapping them out a bit more. Even the little bits of down time in between lessons needs to be used more wisely or things get away from me.