Posts Tagged ‘Mommy Time Management’

Creating Morning Rituals

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Today is going to be our last day in the book, “How Did I Get So Busy.” We have had such a great discussion from this book and I feel like I have made a lot of positive changes by sharing through this format and from encouragement from you. It has definitely been a positive transformation for me and I hope that you have gotten as much from it as I have.

For those of you who are just joining in on the series, we began with a busy bee quiz, questioned our reasons for being busy, had a discussion about technology and how it can intrude into our life, talked about self-care (or lack thereof), discussed our exercise routines (or lack thereof), taming our tech habits, and breaking the procrastination habits. There are many more chapters in the book so I hope that you can check this out from your library or can purchase a copy. I have heard from many of you who have gotten the book so I hope it will continue to benefit you.

Today we are going to discuss our morning routines and rituals. I have read other bloggers who have some really great morning routines, but I will admit that I am not a morning person and carving time for rituals has been something I think about, but don’t do. I will say that I have added some workout time to my mornings, after I drop my son off at preschool, and I have also been doing a morning walk with Emily on warmer days.

These are the suggestions from the author on ways that you can incorporate some rituals into your day:

1. Write a vision of your ideal morning. The author actually says she has a list of seven things that she wants to do every morning. She suggests writing a list down of the things you would like out of your own morning and putting this in a place where you will see it each day- on the fridge door, inside a medicine cabinet, next to your alarm clock. This list will help remind you of what your ideal morning would look like. I have seen moms take this a step further and have an ideal day written up for themselves and their children too.

2. Estimate how much time each morning ritual will take you. With all of our goals, we are encouraged to start small and work our way up. Begin with small things that won’t take a lot of time and build your routine up from there.

3. Identify a simple way to connect with loved ones in the morning. It can be a hug and a kiss for your kids, joining your child for breakfast each day so that you have special time together, or exercising with your spouse. Use this time to connect with the people you love most and see if it starts your days out a little better.

4. Choose things you truly want to do, not what you “should” do. Don’t do things you think you have to do, you need to do things, “that will truly nourish you and help you create the kind of life you believe is possible.”

5. Test your habits- and adjust them. If your routine isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to switch it around. Continually tweak the routine until you have something you are really happy with.

In this chapter, the author focuses on ways to end your day as well. I have found that I am better about how I end my day then how I begin it though so this section really stuck with me.

Sound Off: I am interested to hear if you have a morning ritual that works for you? What are your mornings like? Do you struggle with a morning routine too?

MomAdvice Sound Off: Did you enjoy this book series? Would you like to work through another book together? What topics/books are of interest to you right now?

Breaking the Procrastination Habit

Friday, May 9th, 2008

One of my favorite bloggers, Crystal from Biblical Womanhood & Money Saving Mom recently gave her readers a challenge to have an anti-procrastination day. She asked everyone to think of the things that they had been procrastinating on and for them to focus their efforts on those tasks. Isn’t she just brilliant? I have five things in my head that come to mind that I have procrastinated on this week and I am sure everyone else has things that they know they should be doing…but haven’t. In the long run, is it really easier to procrastinate? I will say that if you have procrastinated forever on something, there is certainly a rush when the task finally does get completed, but is your life easier or more difficult when dealing with procrastination? Often my procrastination costs me MORE time and money.

This week’s lesson from the book we have been working through (“How Did I Get So Busy,” by Valorie Burton) actually has a chapter devoted towards breaking the procrastination habits that you have been living with. The author offers these tips to help you accomplish what needs your attention this week:

1. Commit five minutes to the task. Even if the projects are large, start by setting a timer for five minutes and working on the project for that length of time. Don’t you find though that once you start, it is hard to stop. It is the starting in a task that is usually the most difficult part. Go ahead, set that timer…but don’t be surprised if you don’t want to stop!

2. Stop making it a big deal. Often we make these tasks into bigger deals than what the are and it causes us to become paralyzed and not even start them. Maybe the task is just having a conversation with someone you love and you have something to say. You could start with manageable steps- writing it down, scheduling a date to say what you need to say, and then just saying it. Smaller steps are key towards working through procrastination.

3. Give yourself permission to do it imperfectly. My perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand. I have the mentality, “If I can’t do it perfectly, then why do it at all?” Wrong attitude, I know, but sometimes I have to give myself permission to let go of my perfectionism to accomplish something. The author says, “It’s time to let go of your perfectionism. It becomes a stumbling block that keeps you stuck. Be willing to do your best, but be willing to do it imperfectly. It frees you to be human and it frees you to make progress.”

4. Make it fun. I have heard of people throwing painting parties to get their rooms painted, or inviting friends over to help them weed through their clothes. Invite someone to join in with you or look for support among your blogging friends to help you! Sometimes it just helps to have a cheerleader, doesn’t it?

5. Drop the goal. Enjoy the day. If you are never going to do the task, quit adding it to your to-do list so that you can feel like you have failed. Just give yourself permission to let it go so you can enjoy your day without the dread.

Sound Off: What do you find yourself procrastinating on? What are some goals you could make for yourself?

Taming the Tech Habits

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I can tell you one of the reasons that I often feel overwhelmed is because of my tech habits. A quick login to my email account can set my day into a tailspin- a review that needs posting, an article that needs writing, a page that needs editing- I have suddenly lost an hour of my day.

Even if you don’t have a website or blog, reading other people’s websites and blogs can take up a great deal of your time. Reading feeds definitely made things a little easier for me, but I made it harder on myself by subscribing to a gazillion feeds since I was saving so much time. See how your tech habits can spiral out of control? I am trying to follow my own commandments for blogging and not allow my blog to rule my life, but it can be hard.

In our book, “How Did I Get So Busy?” by Valorie Burton, she offers some suggestions for taming your tech habits and getting your life back:

1. Make email unobtrusive. This is something that I had to do in my own house. My computer used to ding at me when email had arrived and I would run into the office to check my account right that very minute. I ended up spending a lot of unnecessary time running in there for junk and spam mail which was time that would have served me better by spending it with my family. The author recommends turning the audible features OFF.

2. Open & respond at specific times. Set specific times that you will check email and give yourself a specific period of time in which to respond. Begin by prioritizing the messages by reading the titles and dealing with those emails first.

3. Set “no email” periods. Create periods of time in your day where you make email off limits- after 8 PM, Sunday afternoons, while on vacation, or when you need to focus on a specific project.

4. Have “no technology” periods. Don’t allow technology to intrude in times where it is not welcome. Keep things like cell phones, email, and television out of your life during certain times where you feel it is important for you to be unplugged. I personally loved this idea from Ohmystinkinheck, where Heather suggests making the family members turn in their cell phones and set them to the off.

5. Respond in the moment. Even if you aren’t addressing your messages right away, it is thoughtful to send a message to let the recipient know that you have received the message and a promise that you will get to it when you can.

6. Delete the message once it has been handled. Know how many messages I have in my inbox right now? You are going to gasp, but that is okay because I can’t hear you. 8,000. No typos, there are 8,000 messages in my account. You can see why this would be tough for me! The author suggests keeping your inbox as clutter free as possible to help free your mind from being bombarded by the sheer volume of your old messages. Maybe this is a reason why I feel stressed when I open my inbox?

7. Tame your Blackberry habit. If people know that you will answer their messages immediately, they will begin to expect it and will take advantage of it. You will attract more requests, demands, and messages than ever.

Sound Off: What do you struggle with on this list? Are there are solutions listed here that could help you tame your own tech habits?

Working Out On a Budget

Monday, May 5th, 2008

(Ring, Ring)

Me: Hello?
Voice: Hi, it’s 1997 calling
Me: 1997? Wow, that was such a great year for me. How is 1997?
Voice: Good, except they want their workout clothes back
Me: What? No, those are perfectly good pants and shirts. I am just working out in them, I don’t understand what the big deal is.
Voice: Yeah, and those pants you wore through your pregnancy? You know, the ones with the bleach stains on the butt?
Me: No. Please. Those pants have been good to me.
Voice: Please throw them away
Me: But I don’t want to spend money…I could still get another ten years out of them.
Voice: (interrupting) NO! They are finished. Throw them away- you are embarrassing yourself.
Me: But…
Voice: And about those socks from junior high…
Me: One thing at a time, dude.

Our discussion last week about exercise really struck a chord with me. My family suffers from many health problems that I hope to not replicate, but if I am sitting on the couch (or in front of the computer), I may suffer from the same ailments.

As always, the budget comes into play and if I was going to work out, I knew that I needed to do it inexpensively. I am not one of those people that is disciplined enough to motivate myself to work out on my own and I know that I am better motivated in a gym-type setting. Let’s face it though, gym memberships aren’t cheap.

In a moment of Divine Intervention, my girlfriend called and said that they had an opening for babysitting at her gym. For one hour a week, I could babysit the other client’s children and get a free membership. This works out to be four hours a month and my membership is paid for. I did think about the value of my time versus the value of the free membership and it would work out to be about $10 per hour of my time. I think that is a good return on investment and the highlight for me is that they offer the childcare in the first place. I can workout and take classes at the gym and Emily can go with me and play with some other kids. It is a total win-win situation for us.

The next dilemma was getting some things that would be appropriate to work out in. Since I was used to working out at home, I needed to update my wardrobe a bit. I decided to purchase two pairs of yoga pants ($19.50 each) and two new sports bras ($15 each) from Old Navy. I also got a stainless steel water bottle ($6.99) from our local Meijer.

My tennis shoes were looking really worn and needed some attention. I slipped the laces off of them and threw them in our washer (a big thanks to my sister for that tip!). I washed them on a warm setting with a little laundry detergent. When I pulled them out, they looked a thousand times better from such a good scrubbing. I took newspaper and stuffed the interior of the shoe (to help hold its shape and also to absorb any lingering odors) and let them dry outside in the sunshine. When they were dry, they looked like brand new shoes, and acceptable enough to wear to the gym.

While I did make an investment in workout gear, I did save on my membership and on new running shoes. I am proud to say that I have already hit the gym three times and am dedicated to getting in back in shape. It is such a treat to workout in such a nice place and to be able to do it for only one hour of my time each week.

Sound Off: Where do you purchase your workout clothes from? How is the progress going for you with your own exercise routine?

You Knew It Was Coming….Exercise & You

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Oh, you just knew that this chapter was upon us after our frank discussion about self-care. I just want you to know that I am not just being Miss Preachy and I promise you that I am making serious changes with the help of this book. The changes I am seeing in myself are making me a much happier mommy.

Here are some things I have been working towards:

1. In the evenings, I am doing something quiet like knitting, reading, or spending time with my husband. I am trying to slow down in the evenings instead of running around for no reason. The same is applying to our daytime routine as well. I am trying to focus on the kids doing more stuff at home with me and less running around. Less running around= less money spent!
2. I replaced some things that needed replacing. Without going into details, I recruited my best girlfriend to go shopping with me and I finally forked over the money and threw out items that needed replacing. It was huge- like, a HUGE deal.
3. I made appointments and kept them. I visited my chiropractor, got my medical massage, kept a follow-up exam with my doctor, and went to my annual. I should be just about perfect after all of that.
4. I am purging a ton of stuff out of our house- three carloads so far! This stuff has been weighing me down and needed to go. It is mostly clothing, but I have been adding items little by little, as I see it, to the trunk and then taking a load over to the Goodwill each day. This is so good for my emotional well-being and it is creating more space in our home too!

Today we are going to talk about exercise or the lack of exercise in our lives. Since I have had Emily, I have not been exercising, and I can give you excuse after excuse for why I have not been engaging in regular exercise. It usually starts with, “I am so busy…” I am petite and people can’t necessarily tell that I don’t exercise regularly, but I am sluggish by midday and my body isn’t toned anymore. I have back problems and regular exercise would really benefit this, but I always have an excuse for why I can’t do it. Really, there are a hundred reasons why I SHOULD exercise and a hundred reasons why I DON’T exercise.

In the book, “How Did I Get So Busy?” the author offers these suggestions for making exercise a regular routine in your life.

1. Give yourself a range of success. Just as the author recommended in the self-care chapter, she reminds us that we don’t have to do everything perfect. Make a goal, but don’t beat yourself up if your goal was six days of exercise and you only managed three. Make three days a minimum goal for yourself and do the best you can and make it something that works for you.

2. Make it quick and convenient. Try aiming for just thirty minute sessions and do what fits best with your schedule. If going to the gym doesn’t work for you right now, stick to a workout DVD. If you can’t manage either, try a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Whatever you do, make it something that is easily doable and can be done in a short period of time.

3. Multi-task when you exercise. No, the author isn’t suggesting we do our bills, but to use this time to meditate or listen to music to make the experience more enjoyable.

4. Take a class, form a group, or get a trainer. If you liked the idea of setting up appointments for self-care, this might be a great idea for you. She suggests making an appointment with a workout buddy or friend to help keep you motivated. Your workout buddy could even by your child, spouse, or another family member- whatever will help too keep you motivated.

5. Make a plan you’ll actually follow. Start small, build your confidence, and be consistent.

6. If you fail, try again. She quotes Winston Churchill who said, “Success is the ability to move from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” Don’t beat yourself up, but be honest with yourself. Keep trying and don’t give up.

7. Start your day with exercise. Stop trying to squeeze it in when you have a full schedule and make it your routine when you wake up. Before you go to bed, put your workout clothes, shoes, and a bottle of water right next to the alarm clock. When you wake up, slip on your workout gear and head out the door for a brisk walk, pop in your favorite workout tape, or find an open area in your house to do a few sets of your favorite exercise. Use this time as your planning time, quiet time, or “me” time and enjoy energy all day long.

Sound Off: Do you make exercise a priority in your life? How have you worked this into your schedule?

Follow-Up Sound Off: Did you do something to care for yourself this week? Report back and let me know if our discussion helped you at all!

My Ultimate Downfall: Self-Care

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Here are some things I need to admit before I begin discussing self-care:

1. I do not keep my appointments when it comes to my own health care- doctor visits, the hairdresser, annual visits, dentist visits, chiropractor care, or vision exams. This has usually been because I don’t want to take both my children to these visits or because I feel like these appointments can wait. It is rare though that I ever reschedule anything for my children. For myself, it is a regular occurrence.

2. I do not regularly engage in things that are just for me other than social commitments. I struggle with making time to do hobbies I enjoy, doing any regular reading, or indulging in time for quiet reflection for myself.

3. I am pretty good about buying clothes for myself, but I struggle with feeling worthy enough to spend money on myself. This is because I feel that oftentimes the money is better allocated to my children, our house, my spouse, or food. It has gotten to the point that items for myself that have needed replacing seem like “spending urges” rather than the simple fact that sometimes I actually have a need to replace it.

4. At times I feel that engaging in self-care and doing things for myself is selfish and indulgent.

Now do you want to take advice from someone like me? As I have plowed my way through the chapters in our book for discussion (“How Did I Get So Busy,” By Valorie Burton), I had to pause for a moment as I approached the chapters on self-care. In some ways, I feel like I do really well. I do things often with my mom’s group and I try to make time with my closest friends and sister, but these times are often filled with busyness and chasing after kids. While sometimes, during these visits, I get a break, I am not doing things to care for myself during these times. I realize that this is something I really and truly need to work on.

Valorie offers these tips for shifting to a self-care lifestyle:

1. Make a decision to change your life. This is the first time in any life-changing process and she encourages you to want to make that change.

2. Clarify what is no longer acceptable. Shifting from a life of self-care might mean shifting away from a life of busyness. Make a list of what is unacceptable to you in your current lifestyle and what must go in order for you to make the shift to this new life.

3. Clarify what makes you feel well cared for. What really makes you feel cared for? Is it being pampered, cared for, and nourished emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Write down what comes to mind.

4. Make self-care easy. The author suggests making self-care easy and scheduling it into your day just as you would anything else. Set up appointments on the same day of each week or each month so that you can incorporate it easily into your schedule. You could also make it easier by making items that help nourish you easier to access. For example, a foot soak is my favorite thing to do so grouping all of these items together in an accessible spot and scheduling it every Friday (which I used to do each Friday and then lapsed on because I was “too busy”) would make it a scheduled and easy task for me to indulge in.

5. Practice until it becomes a way of life. Refuse to compromise on your self-care and practice, practice, practice doing it. It is okay if you don’t do it perfectly, but make an effort to make self-care a priority in your life.

6. Notice how much easier it is to do what needs to be done when you live a self-care lifestyle. Incorporating self-care will help give you the energy and the foundation to better handle challenges that come your way. Self-care prevents those feelings of being burnt-out because you will now have a cushion to soften the blow.

The challenge with this lesson and chapter is to make a decision to adopt a self-care lifestyle. From this lifestyle, you will automatically eliminate a lifestyle of busyness.

My personal commitment:

1. I am going to schedule my chiropractor appointments regularly again and I am going to schedule and KEEP my dentist & eye exam appointments.

2. I am going to try to do (at least) one nice thing for myself each week- spending time reading, knitting, exercising, or something to pamper myself. It will not necessarily be things that I am spending money on, but it will be a special treat that I don’t often engage in.

3. I will work harder on buying things for myself when I need them. If I hear of a person (like a someone-who-shall-remain-nameless type of person) who needs new underwear and she thinks it is a “silly expenditure,” I will encourage her to go and spend some money on herself because that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard. And, yes, it has been that bad and that ridiculous for that person and shame on her.

4. I will not use my personal finances as an excuse to not take care of myself, unless that is really and truly true. We do have money for the things I need to care for myself and I will use those resources if they are needed. This doesn’t mean going to a spa resort for a weekend, but it might mean getting my hair trimmed or having my teeth cleaned.

These might seem like minor commitments, but I want you to know that this is a huge commitment for me. I want to be strong in body and mind, but I can’t be if I don’t take care of myself. This might require me to work less on the site so that I can make time to make this a priority, but I also feel that if I had this time that I might have more energy and even more creativity to draw from.

Sound Off: It is safe to admit it, do you struggle with caring for yourself? What is one commitment you could make towards your self-care? What is one thing that you really miss doing for yourself since you became a mom?

(P.S.- It is not selfish, it is self-care and you deserve it!)

Being Busy Or How Technology Takes Over Our Lives

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Technology is a great thing, but it can also cause a disconnection between ourselves and the people in our lives. I will use my cell phone use as a perfect example for how it has helped my relationships grow and how it can also take away from my relationships.

My entire family is on the Verizon plan so it has been a great way to connect with my family members on a budget. Since everyone in my extended family is considered “long distance” we use our cell phones as a way to communicate with one another. Having those free mobile to mobile minutes has been a Godsend for me and is a way that I can stay in constant contact with the people that I love most. We talk regularly to our family and it keeps us active in one another’s lives.

The cell phone also takes me away from the other things that I should be doing. Opportunities where I can connect with my children can become interrupted with the daily chats with friends and family or the beeping of text messages coming through. I can be mid-sentence with my child, hear the cell phone ring, and I run over to it like Pavlov’s dog. What if I miss out on something? What if someone needs me and I am not available? What if there is an emergency? What happens is that I end up missing out on real human-to-human contact and I ignore the person who needs me the most.

I had a friend once who would completely ignore me when her phone rang. At first I found this amusing, but later I found it be irritating. I couldn’t understand why she needed to have these conversations with others when I was sitting right there wanting to have a “real” converstion with her. I realized later that it made her feel important to have two people vying for her attention. She not only had me captive, but she had someone on the other end captive too. I would later voice my displeasure about it to my husband, but I realize now that sometimes I do this to my very own children. They will be chatting with me about their day and the phone will ring and I will cut them off mid-sentence to answer it. Am I no better than the person who was doing this constantly to me?

Here are some suggestions from the author of, “How Did I Get So Busy?” for ways to disconnect from the technology that can create more busyness in our lives:

1. Engage in stimulating conversations. One of her favorite questions in her house is, “What’s the best thing that happened to you today?” She says, “Stimulating conversations are ones that spark dialogue, meaningful interaction, and even reflection.” This is something that I can be working on with my family members and really sit down and set aside time to build these relationships meaningfully, instead of hurrying them through conversations.

2. Reach out and touch. The author encourages you to give the people you love a touch of affection to build your relationships. This is something I have no trouble with because I am one of those touchy-feely kind of people that make others cringe. I love to give my friends and family hugs or a peck on the cheek. It is the kind of family I was raised in and something that I have carried over into my own family.

3. Help someone in need. Yes, we are all busy and we all can use this excuse to not help other people around us, but the author encourages you to make time to help others in need because we cannot afford not to help those in need.

4. Acknowledge people for who they are more than what they do. Notice their character traits or sacrifices that were required in order for them to do certain things. Build on those things when offering compliments to others, taking care to notice these things instead of a simple, “Good job!”

5. Laugh. When we are too busy, we might forget to do this, but it is an important way to connect with one another. I do this often with my sister in our daily gab-fests. She makes me laugh like no one else can and about things that no one else would understand. Sisters usually know you inside and out and they can laugh about things that happened in the past and stupid things you did when you were a child and they will laugh about things you do now. If I need a laugh, I can always count on her.

6. Journal. The author suggests even carving out just five minutes a day to journal and connect with yourself. I love the idea of keeping a gratitude journal because it can create such a positive start to your day and starts your focus in the right direction- focusing on what you HAVE not what on you don’t have.

7. Meditate. This can go along with your journaling. I am going to try and make a commitment to wake up just a little earlier so that I can have my own quiet time in the morning. This might help my mornings to start out on the right foot and will start my day on a more positive note.

Sound Off: What are some ways that you have found technology interferes with your life? Do you have any tactics for removing those distractions?

I Am Busy, But Why?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

I cracked open this book and was prepared to learn how to manage my time better. In my head, I had envisioned all of the ways that I could manage my day in a more effective way. For example, I could get up by four in the morning, like other bloggers I read, and start my day off with a brisk bit of exercise, breakfast, and some really hard work before my children get up. Then I could reserve their naps for time to catch up on the house, laundry, and bills. Then I could spend the afternoon cooking and catering to everyone’s needs. And then I could collapse into utter oblivion…because I don’t know how people get up at four in the morning. Or five in the morning. Heck, six sounds too early to me. We can see the beginnings of why I don’t manage my time well. I am a late riser and I require oodles of sleep. Sleep has trumped a lot of things in my life and I just can’t picture me being a real go-getter in the morning.

As I begin to read though, one of the first things the book said was that it “was not a book on time-management, it was a book on not being busy.” Did you feel a chill in the air like I did? What? Not be BUSY? But this is my life. No, I want a book that is going to teach me that busyness is good and perfectly acceptable, but that I just need to manage my busyness more effectively.

That is when I realized how deeply rooted my problem had become. The author says, “I valued achievement more highly than joy, which led to speeding toward the finish line of every project, goal, or task without regard for the gift the journey. I had bought into the belief that taking on more work, projects, or activities validated my worth, abilities, and potential. Certainly there is nothing wrong with being industrious, but beware when busyness becomes a self-esteem substitute.”

Yes, I am admitting that feeling busy makes me feel important and I get a high from it. It feels good to be validated by others and to offer my opinions and insights. I think that this really started when I became an at-home mom and it felt good to hear that other grown-ups respected what I had to say and that I had a valuable opinion. Being pooped on and peed on certainly wasn’t making me feel good, but if I had a full calendar…well, I was popular! If my schedule was jam-packed, this proved that I had friends, and lots of them!

But could I possibly build any meaningful friendships if I am only able to pencil my friends in once a month? Did anyone ever get all of me if all I was thinking about was the next engagement or the next thing I had to do? I am realizing how bad this really is.

The author suggests making a new declaration that you can work towards while working through her book.

Declaration of My Personal Lifestyle
1. I only engage in activities that reflect what really matters to me.
2. I take all of my vacation time every year.
3. I make a heart-to-heart connection every day with someone I care about.
4. I honor my body’s need for rest.
5. I have fun at least once a week.
6. I eat at regular intervals and at a slow pace.
7. I find enjoyable ways to exercise at least three times per week.
8. I do not allow technology to consume my time, but use it to maximize my time.
9. I say no to activities that do not pass my “personal priority test.”
10. I listen to my inner voice when making decisions.

Just looking at this list, I can tell you exactly what is going to be a problem for me. #1,6,7,8,9, & 10. I don’t eat like I should, I don’t exercise regularly, I can’t say no, my computer is a major time sucker, and I rethink my inner voice all of the time to please others.

What things on this list would be hard for you? Where do you struggle when it comes to busyness? Here’s a tough one…does busyness boost your self-esteem? (You can sign in anonymously as always!)

“How Did I Get So Busy?” (A Busy Bee Quiz)

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

I can’t begin to tell you how much I have appreciated your feedback on what I should do with this blog and website. I think going away last week, returning to an overwhelming amount to do, and the feeling that I can’t possibly keep up was eating away at me. I always feel I should be a positive example to people, but sometimes I need to show the more human side of myself. I have read all of your comments and emails and they mean so much. Maybe I just needed to hear that it was going to be fine if I didn’t have something fresh and new every single day. I worry about the loss in traffic and readers, when I should worry more about the priorities in my own life.

Here is to a new direction and a new outlook on time management. As encouraged by you, I am going to try and explore better time management and share with you my journey in this. I am struggling with my day and I know other people must struggle with this too. There is just so much to do and we only have so many hours in the day. Where do we start? How do we manage our days better so that we can get things done without the feelings of being tapped out?

I found a book at the library called, “How Did I Get So Busy?” by Valorie Burton. This book is a 28-day plan to “free your time, reclaim your schedule, and reconnect with what matters most.” Ironically, the book caught my eye when I was looking for something else, and I just knew I needed to grab it. I plan to read this and share about reclaiming some of my time and encourage you to pick up the book too! Check and see if you can get it at your local library.

The very first section has a test to see how busy you are. Give yourself 1 point for each statement that you identify with:

Too Busy Test

I feel as though I am constantly trying to catch up at work.
I feel as though I am constantly trying to catch up with personal responsibilities.
My life feels out of balance.
My breathing right now is shallow.
I am regularly late to appointments and scheduled activities.
There’s rarely a break in my schedule.
My shoulders are not relaxed right now.
I eat lunch at my desk at least once per week.
I sometimes work straight through lunch.
I have not had a vacation longer than seven days in the last year.
A seven day vacation? I have never had one of those.
I have not gotten together with friends for fun and conversation in over a month.
Keeping up with household chores is a struggle because of time constraints.
I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my spouse or significant other.
I am dissatisfied with the amount of quality time I am able to spend with my child.
I don’t take time to exercise.
I resent the things I do for family or friends because I have little or no time for myself.
The fuel light in my car has come on at some point in the last two months because I have not had time to fill it up.
My mail is piled up because I haven’t had time to open or sort it.
I have missed paying a bill on time in the last three months because I was too busy to notice the due date had passed.
I sometimes run out of socks, jeans, or other laundry items because I haven’t had time to do the laundry.
I don’t have time to write thank-you notes.
My to-do list rarely gets completely checked off for the day.
I work late more than once per week.
At least once per week, I skip meals because I am too busy.

How Busy Are You?

1-5 Points- Busy
Your schedule is challenging at times, but you are managing to get by. A few small changes will make a big difference towards helping you to take complete control of your time.

6-10 Points- Too Busy
Either life is becoming increasingly too busy for you, or you’ve been managing to get by but are starting to lose control. By taking action over these next 28 days, you can finally take charge of your schedule and decrease the stress that has been building.

11-16 Points- Too Busy & Frustrated
Life has been hectic for awhile and if you don’t slow down soon and become more intentional about where and how you focus your time, you will soon burn out. It is essential that you begin to take steps now so you can get your life back.

17-25 Points- Out of Control
From the author, “I understand. I’ve been there. And it’s possible for you to transform how you live so that your schedule is aligned with what’s most important to you. It may require some big changes, but remember that change is about making choices.”

I am looking forward to diving in on the first chapter of this. Time management is a tough issue for me and not one I have ever mastered. I have little sleep and exist a lot on my coffee addiction. I don’t exercise, I don’t take that great of care for myself, I sometimes feel as though I am “coasting” when it comes to managing the house and housework. I basically do as little as I have to do right now to keep up with this side business and that isn’t what my intentions were in the beginning. It is comforting to know that I am not alone and here I am, exposing myself to you (in a totally G-Rated kind of way!)

My score was a 17 on this quiz. I am wondering if I am alone? Where are you at on this quiz?