This post is actually inspired by both of my mothers-in-law. Yes, I have been blessed with two, and they’re both unique and wonderful women. Both of them read my blog and both asked me how I find the time. Since the questions were asked via email and text messages, I wasn’t sure entirely what they meant… Did they mean finding the time to make the stuff I make, or finding the time to spend writing my blog, or both? I don’t know why, but I didn’t bother to ask for clarification. I’m weird like that.
The question of time came up at work last week as well. In one conversation, the discussion centered around after having a child and losing any and all time. No time to clean; no time for making sweet love; no time to work out; no time for anything fun. Then in another conversation, someone said that they didn’t have the time to learn new things or figure out new uses for things they already had (in relation to new crafts). I found myself being more of an observer in both conversations, and not really joining in on the popular theories about time and the lack thereof. I tried to voice my disagreement both times and got shot down both times. It kind of made me mad because I’m the queen of “finding the time.” Hello, I completed my Master’s and had a baby while working full-time–all in the same year. And I’m still alive to tell the tale, but what do I know?
So after this text yesterday from my mother-in-law, I decided to ponder the issue of time a little more. I’ve always been an excellent time manager–no joke. I could probably write a book on it, but that would be boring. On my drive home, I wondered what I could possibly say that would come across as advice that I could share with my readers. In a nutshell, I would say make the time and stay organized. One naturally lends itself to the other. So how can you do that, you ask? Here’s what I came up with:
1. Figure out what makes you happy (if you don’t already know). Pretty simple, right? Not as simple as we think sometimes. For example, I might say that I want to lose weight. My mind starts whirling about what I need to do to get there and then I get intimidated. So, instead, I try to start smaller. Seeing a thinner reflection in the mirror makes me happy. Or, creating things for Ella makes me happy. Or, things made with glitter really make me happy! When I have this mental list, the actual doing becomes easier.
2. Try to recollect the former you–the you that was before you were married or had kids, or the you that was before the you that’s in a rut. Do you remember the days when you just did what you wanted to do and had no one to answer to? I’m not saying be selfish and take off and ignore everyone. But I am saying that wanting to do things for yourself every now and again isn’t selfish. It keeps you intact. Don’t lose yourself in the monotony of the daily grind. It will make you unhappy.
3. Set time aside to do things you enjoy–not just the things that are mandatory.
4. Make a bucket list if you have to. This helps you to keep track of the things you really want to accomplish. If you have ever followed The Secret, they call it a dream board.
5. Make to-do lists–and lots of them! And cross things off the lists as they get done. It brings me so much satisfaction! If you look at my pictures, I have post-its on top of post-its on top of a calendar. I have a list of stuff I have to do at home which sits on my desk. Next to that sits my other lists, which are like bucket lists. They have ideas for blog posts, projects I want to accomplish around the house, etc. I keep a binder for school that houses calendars for each subject I teach–with post-its attached. Then on my desk at school, I have more sticky notes filled with all the administrative stuff I have to do. Additionally, I use Google calendar to keep track of all of my dates and appointments. I know it seems like a lot, but it works for me. The act of writing things down kind of seals it into your brain. Then you actually have a clue as to the time you have left over for fun stuff.
I’m sure that my lists scare you. It’s ok–they scare me a little too. I have one in my car that I neglected to tell you about! I’m a Virgo and it’s what we do, but yours don’t have to be as convoluted as mine. But I can tell you that they help me sneak in time for things like exercise, making whoopie, playing in the park, or knitting.
6. Surround yourself with people who support you. At one point, I was juggling a full-time job, part-time job online, new baby and my graduate studies. It was really challenging, but I couldn’t have done it without my husband and his support. When I need to have some time for myself, he gives it to me–no questions asked. If I’m grumpy and annoying, he tells me to “go do some crafts or something.” That support comes from respect and our relationship would not survive without it.
Life goes by really fast. If you have children, each day is a constant reminder of time speeding by. If you don’t make the time for yourself, no one else will. Make the time to find your bliss. Isn’t happiness part of what life is truly about?
So, to my 2 favorite mothers-in-law, I hope this answers both of your questions (and you get a glimpse into my organized mind)!