Time Management

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Laying back in a field of flowers looking at the skySo yeah, I've talked about not rebelling against ourselves, trusting our own decisions and so on, but what about that rebellious streak that just won't go away?  What about that need to just do whatever we feel like doing at that moment?  What about our creativity and inspiration?

Yeah, I know that's all bollocks, an excuse.  And yet....

I find it necessary to find pockets of time for myself where I can feel free.  I need it.  I need a chance sometimes to just find a flow and go with it, or just sit and think, or not think.

This could lead into me simply saying to set aside time that is free.  But its way too complicated to do just that.  The free time will come up and you'll just rebel against it by doing laundry or something.

There's a fine art, a delicate balance, a tricky manipulation of the psyche involved.  We can't trust ourselves, so we have to have a part of us that steps back and analyses, then gently guides us somewhere constructive, letting us think it was all our own idea.

No, I have no idea how to do that, but I do stumble upon it accidentally sometimes, so I intend to try to pin it down and document the process if I can.  It could take the rest of my life though.

One small way I work with this is to have a list of things to be done that day, with a time estimate for each, knowing all the items can be fitted in.  I then do them in any order I choose, within the allowable limits (like what time the kids need picking up from school). 

Being the compulsive planner and list maker that I am, it's easy for me to see where the bugs are in my routine.  Only one of me, and too much for one human being to do.  I know, I've added it all up. 

Even when I keep to my system of spending the allocated time on a particular activity then making sure I switch (or else I'd clean the floor for 3 hours straight), some things just can't be squeezed in and I'm constantly re-assessing, looking for holes where I can fit my life in.

And I continue to rebel against my own self-designed systems and routines, but knowing myself better as I do these days, there is trickery in play.  If I rebel against housework or administrative tasks one day, I will indulge in them more another day. 
I do believe that learning to switch between activities is the best thing for me - it snaps me out of my introversion and my comfort zone.  I keep telling myself I must keep moving, that I can do anything, as long as it is consistent with my goals and values.  My lists are invaluable for keeping me on track.  A quick glance at the activities I approve of for myself, a quick note to myself that pacing up and down the house feeling lost is not on the list and is not going to help with anything, and a quick kick up the bum and away I go. 

I have some tried and true strategies that work well for me on different days, or for different moods.  If I need to get lots done and I'm feeling motivated, there is the "plan every minute of the day" strategy.  I literally write it down, with a start and finish time for each item, and try to beat the clock if I can so I'm finished early.  Relaxing with a spare half an hour after a day like this makes me feel great, but I can't do it every day.

Other days, it's the old "just keep moving" strategy.  I just ask myself, as I find I'm flitting around not really engaging fully in anything constructive, if I'm doing something useful.  If not, I find something, anything - the dishes, a small administrative task, a little bit of tidying.  As I'm doing it, I think of the next thing to do so I can go straight to it.

A great head clearer when I feel I want to rebel against my own life, is to go for a walk.  My willing companion Lexy the puppy is always happy for us to start the day this way.

There is still the issue of needing to strategically plant "free" time pockets for myself throughout the day and throughout the week, and very little opportunity.  I have found a couple of hidden ones though.

I spend a lot of time driving the kids around, and half that time I am alone in the car after I have dropped them off somewhere or on my way to pick them up.  Thinking and listening to music and singing are all things I can do alone in the car.  Listening to music I can do a lot of even with kids in the car.  So, regularly changing the CDs in the car is well worth doing.  If I'm in the mood to just think and let my mind wander, I can give it some gentle guidance, a problem to solve, an issue to ponder.  If I am not necessarily looking for an answer, just greater understanding of the issue, thinking about it in this way lets me feel like I've made progress, and can also relieve doubts and worries.

Other hidden pockets are when I'm doing anything else which can be done on autopilot.  Things like supermarket shopping (if my list is well prepared enough), and washing dishes are times I can often disappear into my own thoughts. 

Keeping our life moving in a positive direction is all about balance.  Life just keeps going on, whether or not we are noticing it.  Sometimes we find we have stepped off to the side without realising it, but it's still going on.  If it wasn't for my kids, perhaps I would step off a bit too far to one side and refuse to participate.  It's good to be needed!

But as well as needing me to look after them, my kids need me to look after myself, so that they have a real life example to follow to learn how to look after their own inner selves.  So, I will just continue to try to trick, guide, manipulate or coerce myself into keeping my time balanced and spending it positively. 



#3 Victoria Arnold 2010-08-17 16:35
THANK YOU!!! I thought I was the only one that got easily bored, distracted and just wanted, at times, to feel free! And to top it off I clean other people's houses for a living, so when I have a day off that is NOT what I want to do... But like you, I get down when things are a mess. Thank do the encouragement!

#2 Val 2008-08-11 01:26
:-)Thanks for this site. Will be such a help for me, way over in South Africa. Love your organisational newsletter so I am sure this will be awesome. Way to go.
#1 samantha 2008-08-07 01:23
Thank you for the article. It gave me a lot of comfort and strength to try and be more focused.


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