If you had a day, all to yourself, no responsibilities, no guilt, no demands, what would you want to do?
Really want to do.
It doesn’t have to be lofty or grand. One friend, I had just wanted to go watch a movie at a movie theater in the middle of the day without kids. Maybe you would like to decorate your house, read, or go to the store without having to explain why you can’t buy a giant sized giraffe.
Last post, we talked about figuring out your priorities in life, the really big stuff, this week, we’re covering what to do when your miraculously not fulfilling one of your major responsibilities.
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We all have activities we’d like to fit in our lives, but easily get lost in the shuffle to get out the door or clean up another mess. For so many years, I thought many of these smaller activities had to simply wait for another, less busy day, but the more into motherhood I get, the more I realize that there may never be a slower, less busy day. The sleepless nights of newborns, turn into the endless days of toddlers, which turn into the countless activities of elementary school kids, that become the savoring, guiding days and nights of teenagers.
In every stage of my children’s lives, there has been some small amount of time that was mine, that I could pursue, in some way, the activities I wanted to do. The following are a few tips I’ve figured out for myself in how I can actually fit in some of these extra activities.
Tip #1: Figure out what you want to do.
Laura Vanderkaam is an author, speaker and advocate for thoughtful time management, she wrote in her book; 168 Hours: You have more time than you think:
“We don’t think about how we want to spend our time, and so we spend massive amounts of time on things—television, Web surfing, housework, errands—that give a slight amount of pleasure or feeling of accomplishment, but do little for our careers, our families, or our personal lives. “
I certainly have been guilty of spending massive amounts of my discretionary time on meaningless activities. Usually doing so, leaves me feeling drained, cranky, overwhelmed and underappreciated.
In contrast, when I have thoughtfully considered what I want to do, what really leaves me feeling rejuvenated and rested, I have come away feeling energized, happy, capable and grateful. Having these activities ready to go does take advance planning though, like, reserving a book or movie, buying supplies or researching ways to accomplish my project. That leads me to my second tip for fitting in one of those extra activities you would like to do.
Tip #2: Have a plan.
Easier said than done.
One way I figured out how to fit these smaller activities together with my more major responsibilities was by keeping a time log as advocated by Laura Vanderkaam, the author quoted earlier, you can get access to a free time log and see reasons for doing so by visiting her website here.
For a few weeks, I tried to write down what I did every 30 minutes to an hour. I realized some important lessons at the end of the 2 weeks.
1- I was doing a lot, like spending 6-9 hours solely on taking care of my kids.
2- I had different time blocks in the day when certain activities worked the best.
3- I had a limit to how long I could do most activities.
After realizing these 3 lessons, I was better able to schedule my day and I felt a lot less momguilt when I took a break for a small amount of time to pursue a rejuvenating activity. I now feel much more in control of my schedule, and less frantic about fitting it all together.
How about you,what are some tricks you have used to fit in the smaller activities you’d like to do, but don’t necessarily count as major responsibilities?
Write it down in a journal, talk it over with a friend or leave a comment below or on Facebook.
If you’d like to try the time log activity, Laura is starting a time tracking challenge on her website, sign up here to join.