Simple Living: Time Management (Lesson 7)
This is lesson seven from the book I am reading through on how to live more simply. I've just gotten to this point where I am either going to get rid of some stuff and downsize my life, or I am going to scream. I have four kids six and under, and I cannot do everything I want to do. That's alright, but I need to learn to have reasonable expectations. If I don't, I will just be frustrated and disappointed all the time.
Because of this, blogging about this chapter has been the hardest one so far. I am not great at managing my time. I confess; there are more nights than I can count, especially this last year, where dinner barely makes it on the table at night. There is always a pile of dishes left over after I've washed dishes twice already during the day, and there is always a chore that *really* needed to be done that gets left by the wayside. I can't decide if I just don't have enough time or if I'm just not doing *that great* of a job. I go back and forth depending on what day it is. If I'm in project mode, I throw everything to the wind and focus on my project. Those days, I really struggle with seeing the mess at the end of the day. I don't know how else to get things done, though.
I won't go through every question presented in the chapter, but I will address a few that I really need to focus on. What is one thing you could do to make the biggest impact on my health? I need to sleep more (though I feel like that's just not an option right now), and I need to find time to exercise. I have to do this, it doesn't matter how busy we are. We will be healthier as a family if we could all commit to exercising more. The second question is: what relationships do you wish you had more time to spend on? This one is a tricky question for me. I have time with my husband, but it is either crazy busy time or exhausted time. I wish I had more *high quality* time with my husband. Time where we weren't so exhausted that we just sit and watch tv and pass out. I have to make this happen. Have to. I need conversation that doesn't just consist of which super hero is the best, and that's hard to come by with the preschool crowd.
My biggest struggle with time management is the sheer volume of things I have to accomplish. I have four kids that need baths, only one is old enough to clip his own nails, and take a bath on his own. They all need to brush their teeth twice a day, be given vitamins, eat three meals and two snacks, one is potty training, and one is nursing (an all day time vortex). The baby just started crawling really well so he has to be watched at all times to make sure he doesn't eat something he is not supposed to or fall into something. I have a first grader, and two preschoolers that need to practice Bible verses, ASL, letters, and numbers. They need supervised play time. I wash dishes at least twice a day and still fall behind, and I wash/dry/fold and put away at least two loads of laundry every day. I do story time and we sing silly songs together. None of this includes anything that I need as a human being. None of this includes my marriage. It gets overwhelming. Time management starts to feel like an impossibility.
The book suggests that you keep a planner; which I keep on my phone. I have a calendar that syncs with my husband's so we both know what is going on all the time. I also keep a to do list on there. I have master meal plans taped to the inside of my kitchen cabinets so I can plan dinners and lunches in a hurry for two weeks at a time. I've simplified my grocery list so I don't go crazy spending at Costco. As long as I can stick to my list, I can stick to my budget.
We are 17 days into the year, and we just put our first chunk of change into our savings account. I am so excited! I have been able to keep my counters cleared, and I even did a clean sweep above my cabinets so they are empty as well. It looks marvelous. I am fighting the temptation to add anything for at least a couple of weeks so I can decide what is important. We took a huge stack of stuff to Goodwill, and I have another stack in the making. So far, so good!
How do you manage your time with your little ones? I want more time to write, play guitar, sew, and draw but I feel like there just isn't enough time ever. Who else has a crew of very young kids?