Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Single Thought of the Week: Time

Inspired by a lovely blogger friend I have decided to start a 'Single Thought of the Week' based around why my blog name was chosen in the first place...because I have too many thoughts and opinions!  And also, to get back the very reason I started blogging...a love of writing! 

I don't feel like I often sit down and just 'write' anymore, maybe due to a fear of sounding like I'm rambling, or putting people off reading a long post but not anymore folks!  Once a week, I am going to share my thoughts on a particular topic.  And I hope some of you want to come along on the journey with me :)

So I thought I'd start of with a fairly simple topic, but one that's been buzzing round my head lately and, one I've seen a fair few questions raised about over the past few weeks.

Time!
There never seems to be enough of it, no matter what life stage you're in.  Prior to having children, I always seemed perfectly capable of filling my days.  I didn't spend hours on end, sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs wondering what on earth I was going to do that day.  I would have very definitely described my life as 'busy'.

Now, I'm in the full throes of toddlerdom, balancing a part-time job, two toddlers, running a household semi-successfully, training a puppy (haha), planning weekly menus, cleaning, organising etc etc as well as running three blogs (work that one out!) I do wonder how I manage to fit it all in.

On the rare weekends when we are child-free and not engaged in something else, my Other Half and myself have often mused over how exactly we spent our time before the children happened.  I can't remember to be honest, it feels as though they've always been a part of our lives.

But, I do hope I'm not one of those people who complains about never having enough time.  I would say my life is pretty chaotic, sometimes I feel stressed and anxious about how I will ever tackle my massive 'to do' list and I never do manage to finish all the tasks on there (although, I will confess to being one of those people who writes tasks they've already completed that day just for the satisfaction of crossing something off..hey it's the small things!) but a small part of me does relish the feeling that I've managed to keep all the plates spinning for another day!

Having said all of that - there are a few simple steps that I would advise anyone who has reached the point of wringing their hands to take.  I hope these may be of use to someone in our ever time precious lives:

1. Have a list

Whether that's a computerised one, a hand-written one or a mental one, it's important to know where you're going and what you hope to achieve that day.

2. Separate things into 'Imperative' and 'Important'

This is a key concept I learned on a Time Management course I attended earlier on in the year.  'Imperative' tasks are any that must be completed that day.  'Important' tasks are those which may be beneficial for you to finish as soon as you can but really, it wouldn't be the end of the world if they were put off until another day.  I have to admit that my 'important' list often gets longer and longer as I can sometimes be over-ambitious with my 'imperative' tasks but I'm gradually getting the hang of being brutal with which belong where.  

For example, although that pile of clean clothing might be an eyesore, it certainly doesn't belong on the imperative list as it really isn't hurting anyone and it can wait until tomorrow the day after the end of the week before being put away.  Filling in your child's permission slip for a trip two days hence, would most definitely need to feature on imperative!

3. Be realistic

As above really, don't set the bar too high, especially if you are just starting out on the road to organisation.  There's nothing that sets you back more than having high expectations and failing to meet them.  Small, realistic steps will give you that lovely warm sense of achievement and spur you on to greater things (kind of...)

4. Accept the kind of person you are

If you are not the sort of person who is capable of being organised, don't try to be.  For example, my Other Half is a last minute guy...he just can't do organised.  So it would be entirely irrational to expect him to conform to a strict schedule.  I have had to work with him to come to an happy medium of what he can do versus what I wish he would do.  Likewise, if you can't stick to a schedule, don't make one.  Simples!

5. Leave room for fun!  

I once did a Google search for tips relating to organisation and came across a schedule drawn up by a lady who had literally planned every second of her life out.  My first thought was how fantastic an idea it was, but then as I stared at it and mulled it over I realised it left no space whatsoever for spontaneity.  Now I will hold my hand up and say that I don't particularly enjoy a sudden change in plans but I am learning and I don't hold the reins of my life so tightly that I can't adapt and adjust if I need to, as I suspect this lady could not.  At the very least schedule in some time for a bit of fun!

And finally, it's not really a tip but it's worth considering - if something is causing you more stress and worry than it's worth...cut it out of your life!  I have seen numerous conversations with people going on about how their blogs are causing them grief...why do it then?

I blog for a love of writing and will often take a week or so off if I haven't got anything to write about...and I feel no shame in doing so!  I have been on the other end of the scale, with feeling the pressure to blog or plan or whatever every single day and it's honestly not worth the stress.  Just something to think about!

Do you have any top tips for saving time?  If so, I'd love you to share them with me!

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