Making Better Use of My Time

College will teach you a lot of things, but one thing it will teach you for sure is how bad you are at managing time.

I have a tendency to procrastinate. I always have a justification excuse as to why I can put the task off, and then I end up ten times more stressed than I was originally. Once I got married, my time management spiraled even further out of control. I made half-hearted attempts to get on track but soon fell right back off.

Recently, however, I decided that I was no longer satisfied with the way I was doing things. This came about mainly because I started doing more of the things I love. Some of the podcasts I have been listening to – specifically Happier – as well as a book I’ve been reading (10 Time Management Choices That Can Change Your Life by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims) have greatly inspired me to lead a more productive life and have given me practical ways to do so.

What I have learned is that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy for time management. I’ve tried out several strategies, taken some on, discarded some, and tailored others to fit my needs better. Keeping that in mind, I thought I would share some of the strategies that I use:

  • The one-minute rule: if there is a task that will take you less than one minute to do (for example, hanging up your coat or putting a bag of chips back in the cabinet), go ahead and do it. By doing it right away, you are eliminating having to deal with several little things that will have piled up.
  • A categorized to-do list: I break my to-do list into four quadrants: housework, homework, other work (such as going to the bank or going to the gym), and leisure (like reading, writing, Netflix). For me it helps to see my to-do list broken down into specific types of work.
  • Scheduled housework and workouts: knowing what you need to do on any specific day of the week saves a lot of time and energy. My schedule looks like this:

 

Housework Gym
Sunday
Monday Vacuum Exercise bike & arms
Tuesday Clean bedroom & office
Wednesday Cross-training elliptical & core
Thursday Clean kitchen
Friday Clean bathroom Treadmill & legs
Saturday Clean living room

Some tasks like sweeping and laundry vary depending on need (though I do sweep             every-other day to keep up with dog hair), but they still go on the schedule. And, sometimes things just don’t get done because life happens. When this happens, I just stick them on the schedule for the next day!

•••

These are just some time-management techniques that I use to lead a more productive, happy life that utilize wisely the resource of time that God has given me.

What are some time-management strategies that you use?

Photo Credit: Cathryn Lavery

Advertisements

You Don’t Have to Be Superwoman

Before getting married, I already had a finance spreadsheet set up, a housework spreadsheet set up, and specific goals in mind (such as meal prepping). I got married and started implementing my schedule right away. Our apartment was pretty much pristine, breakfast and snacks were prepped the night before, and I was caught up on school work. Then, I think it was the second week, things started taking a downward turn. Schoolwork was piling up, housework was piling up, I didn’t have time to relax let alone meal prep. I also work two days a week. I was getting more and more stressed by the fact that I had a specific goal, a specific image, of what my house – and life – should look like and the fact that my reality did not look like that. One day, I hit breaking point. I was unpacking things I had left at my mom’s and I couldn’t figure out where to put the blender. I just sat on the floor against the cabinet, holding the blender, for I’m not sure how long until my husband found me. He sat down next to me, kissed my head, and didn’t say a word. Finally, after a few moments, I pathetically said, “I don’t know where to put the blender.” He gently took the blender from my hands and set it on the floor. He asked me all that I still had to do and when I told him he said he had no idea I had that much on my plate. He suggested that I go take a bath and read (my go-to relaxation method) and stresslessly do what I was able to do before bed.

I had this idea that I had to be Superwoman: spotless apartment, perfectly cooked meals (trust me, that wasn’t always the case), ahead – or at least caught up – on school work, and still time to relax alone and with my husband. Instead what I had was a clean apartment, a whole lot of homework, and even more stress. By trying to do everything all the time, I was wearing myself out to the point that I didn’t want to do anything (and I am a person that honestly loves doing housework; I am my mother’s daughter), and when I did, I just wanted to cry the whole time because even though I was checking one thing off of my to-do list, I knew that what felt like a hundred more were waiting for me.

After the day that I remember as “The Day I Sat On The Floor Holding a Blender,” I realized that while it is great to have goals and be organized, sometimes, something has to give. I had to let go of my ideals about what my apartment should look like, what my days should look like, and replace it with what I am able to do that given day. Because let’s face it, some days the dishes have to wait. Some days cleaning the kitchen has to wait. Some days I’m too tired to meal prep. And that’s okay. Some days I need extra time with my husband or he with me. Some days, I need extra time to myself. Some days I need to focus on school more. And that’s okay.

We were not meant to zoom from one task to the other 24/7. No wonder we don’t handle it well when we try! We were meant to have rest as a routine part of our lives. God setting aside the seventh day of creation as the Sabbath has a message deeper than not working one day a week. It sends a message that we are to rest.

So, I still have my exact same housework schedule, but it isn’t law. I still try to meal prep, but if I don’t it’s okay. I still like my apartment to look nice, but if it doesn’t always look it’s best, that’s fine (especially now that our family has expanded to include two doggies who leave evidence of themselves everywhere). You don’t have to be Superwoman – or Superman. Sure, certain things in life need attending to, but there is a balance (check out a post from awhile back that I wrote on the topic). I also have an amazing husband who does his fair share of the work and calls me out when I’m overworking myself.

Take a rest from your superhero duties. It’s okay to have dishes in the sink. It’s okay to take an hour or two to yourself. Well, lovelies, it’s time to get back to making dinner. Until next time!