How can I be more strategic with my time management?

meercat96November 15, 2006

Hi all,

I am a new member to the "Organizing the Home" forum, but on the advice of my mom, an avid lurker (hi mom!), I'm coming to you for feedback on a little experiment I did last week.

For seven days, I kept a log of how I'm spending my time. I am a wife, a mom to a 3-yr-old DS, I own my own business (work at home), I am a Flylady follower, and a impulsive list-maker. So, that's a little background about me.

Here's what the log showed:


7 days x 24 hrs = 168 hrs

Sleep = 59 hrs (avg of 8.4 hrs/night)

Cooking/Cleaning = 19 hrs

Time with DH, Time with Friends, on Phone with Friends (includes family mealtimes) = 18 hrs

Playing with DS = 17 hrs

Work/Email = 13.5 hrs

In the Car = 10 hrs

TV Time = 10 hrs

Personal Care (showers, hair/makeup, etc.) = 8 hrs

Volunteer Activities = 6 hrs

Shopping/Errands (groceries, etc.) = 3 hrs

Exercise = 2.5 hrs

Reading = 2 hrs

A few ways this week was atypical:


- This was a slow work week; A more typical week would be 20 hrs/week working.

- I had two friends fly in from out of state this week and stay with me, so this week had more "friends" time than normal (that's partly why I worked less than normal, too). A more typical week would be 7 hrs/week with friends.

- I watched more TV and read less than normal this week b/c I didn't get to the library to check out a novel. I like to "veg" in the evenings and b/c I didn't have a good book to read, I watched more TV than normal. A more typical week would be 6 hrs/week TV and 5 hrs/week reading.

- I spent more time cleaning this week because I was expecting company. A more typical week would be 10 hrs/week cleaning.

Where I'd like to tweak and/or what's missing:


- I did not exercise according to my schedule this week. Ideally, I'd run 4 x week (1 hr/each), I'd lift weights 3 x week (0.5 hr/each), and I'd do yoga 7 x week (0.5 hr/each) for a total of 9 hrs/week.

- I am not making time to journal or have devotional time, which I'd like to do 7 x week (0.5 hr/each) for a total of 3.5 hrs/week.

- I am already grouping errands to try and spend less time (and gas). Some of this time (about 3 hrs/week is for taking my son to preschool, which is tax-deductible travel since I use the 9 hrs/week he's in preschool for my business).

- I could probably function with 6.5 - 7 hrs of sleep/night (in fact, I usually do). For whatever reason, I was more tired this week (all that cleaning!) and went to bed earlier than usual.

Okay, so that's a "snapshot" of my's where I'd like your input...

I feel like I am on a treadmill non-stop! I don't want to go through each day spending 110% of my energy. It's not that there aren't "down-time" activities in my days (time with friends, time with DH and DS, TV/reading, sleep), but there are definitely things I need to get to and never seem to have time or energy to do. I'm just posting to see if you guys see any no-brainer places to cut back, to create routines, to consolidate, to work smarter vs. work harder, etc. Also, I'm looking for tips/strategies that work for you in managing your time and saving your sanity!

Looking forward to a lively discussion!!...and thanks in advance. :)

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- I could probably function with 6.5 - 7 hrs of sleep/night (in fact, I usually do).

Don't do this. Get enough sleep, good sleep--not just enough to "probably function."

there are definitely things I need to get to and never seem to have time or energy to do

Give yourself permission to live with this. Not everything that you think of, must you do. I bet you can make lists and lists of stuff you COULD get to. But MUST you? How crucial is it, honestly?

Journal and devotion time can come out of the TV time. perhaps neither one is as passive a "veg" as reading or watching TV, but it's the same sort of quiet time, away from the obligations. If you can define those as "indulgent" (which they should be, or else why do them? esp. journaling), then you can fit them in there.

Oh, and if at all possible, make a chunk of that "playing w/ DS time" be "cleaning" time--teach him now the importance of getting chores done right away, etc. There are tons of 'academic' stuff you teach him when you have him help do laundry (he can sort), wash bathrooms (ooh, a squirt bottle--he'll love it!), even mop the floor. But learning TO do chores (not just learning how, but learning to actually just go ahead and DO it) is something really valuable for him. Says the woman who now is struggling w/ her 8 and 12 y o's to get them to just DO these things so they're over with.

We get this message, us parents of the current age, that our children should play all the time. And that we should play with them. Well, I've decided that's wrong. They should learn how to be a human being, and that includes sorting socks (kids are good at that--it's like a Highlights magazine game), setting the table, etc.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 2:13PM
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hmmmmmmm, I am not sure what to say. I no longer work from home or hold a paying job but I do sit on 3 local boards and run a large active homeschooling group. I have 5 homeschooled children and we don't do any daycare although there have been times when we have had a nanny, but currently we don't.

My typical day has me getting up at 8am, getting dressed and making the bed and bring down the laundry and starting a load. Then I do my medical routine ( am diabetic) and then make breakfast for everyone ( 5 kids). We have breakfast and then start to lessons. We do lessons till noon and in between a snatch times to clean up and trade out and fold the laundry. The little ones help me with these things. Honestly I don't *play* with my children. We spend tons of time together doing valid and often enjoyable things but to my mind *playing* is for children and they are best left to finding their own amusments. This does not mean I don't read to them, which I do for at least 1+ hours a day, or play games with them since we play gin-rummy as a family most nights. I just don't spend my time on my belly playing legos or whatever. The children learn so much helping me cook, or clean or sort or rake and they consider it fun, so while part of our life style it's also a big time savings.

I don't spend much time on the phone and seeing friends does dobule duty with taking the kids to homeschooling events and seeing and visiting other mom's. So once again I am double dipping. This is about 4-8ish hours per week. While I wait for them at some lessons I use that time for personal portable hobbies such as kniting and reading. I do go out once a month for a moms-night out and that is about 4 hours.

I cook 3 full meals per day and 1 child per day is my helper so this is some special time, and one child per week goes shopping with me and that is more time togehter.

The children play or attend to personal projects in the afternoon and do any work I have for my boards or the group. We also attend to other household issues during the afternoon and try to work in a 1 hour rest time for all of us but that is getting more complicated teh older some of the kids get due to other classes and obligations.

My husband and I go out to dinner once a week on Wed nights and that is quite nice. We spend the weekends doing household projects and my husband takes the boys fishing and my daughter and I go antiquing. I don't watch much tv but maybe once everyother week we rent a movie.

My husband reads to the little ones at night and puts them to bed then we play a round of Rummy with any older kids who are home and then they go about their stuff till they got to bed. Dh and I go up to take and shower or bath togther at about 10:30 and have *private time* till about 12pm.. then sleep and get up and do it all over again.

Such is life. Your life seems pretty average but perhaps tilted a bit high towards friends/tv/playing but each person needs to make that call for themselves. How about your car time?.. how about listening to a book on tape while in the car? would that help? Over all I think you just have an active busy life but it never hurts to examine the little places that might be draining you and looking at better ways you could feel better about it all.
It's all about balance!

Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 10:46AM
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Maddie wrote:

Honestly I don't *play* with my children. We spend tons of time together doing valid and often enjoyable things but to my mind *playing* is for children and they are best left to finding their own amusments.

I wonder if part of this is (perhaps) being a mom to an only child...? I'd be interested to know if moms of onlies spend more time on the floor playing legos, as you say. You have five kids; so haven't they always got a playmate or at least someone to talk to and interact with as they do family chores and responsibilities?

I love being a mom of an only child and don't plan to have more kids, but sometimes I do find it tiring and/or my "responsibility" to be his "playmate," at least for part of the time. Perhaps I am buying into the message, as Talley Sue wrote, that:

...our children should play all the time. And that we should play with them.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 1:36PM
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Perhaps over time you can gently change the balance so that you are *doing* things together and perhaps a bit less playing. If he is in daycare with other kids and assuming he will go to pre-school soon.. he will get a fair amount of play and you can spend you time together doing other things. Alone play is good for children but it will take come time to wean him off of *mommy intensive* play..but by doing other things together it should help.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 4:14PM
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- I could probably function with 6.5 - 7 hrs of sleep/night (in fact, I usually do).

Don't do this. Get enough sleep, good sleep--not just enough to "probably function."


I second what Talley Sue said. I have been getting in 7.5 hours of sleep, on average, for 15 years and it's wearing me down.... and taking its toll in too many ways.

I've been thinking about this lately -- how tired I am even when I wake up -- and decided to try to make good quality sleep a priority. Which means I have to make time-management a priority so as not to cut corners.

Don't neglect your sleep or your health, and the rest will fall into place. (Now if I can only LIVE by that motto!)

Best to you.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 8:50PM
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Some people seem to be able to sift through what's important and organize their schedules so they get most things done, but the rest of us (especially the ones visiting this forum, I suspect) have too long a to-do list to actually accomplish everything on that list. I'm convinced that time management is an acquired skill. I have been trying to acquire this skill for the past 15 years. That's how long I've been married to a man who grew up in a family that owned a bus company. Who is more punctual than a bus driver? Everyone's on time in his family! They learned early on how to have an ongoing awareness of time, and how to be efficient so you can keep to a schedule.

Meercat, do you wear a watch? Do you have mileposts through the day to give the day structure, like having all laundry done by noon, or dinner started by 5:30? Do your days have enough similarity, so that routines give momentum and make you more efficient? Do your days get away from you, or do you simply feel that you're not getting satisfaction from what you finish?

I've learned to look at hours the way I look at money or calories. You get a certain amount to spend, and you have to keep assessing whether you're using them or squandering them. If I were you, I would keep logging in hours to learn where the minutes go, the way you would in the initial stages of planning a budget or a diet.

It might not hurt to look at the deeper causes of your scheduling problems. Does a busy schedule make you feel important, or apply the pressure you require to get things done? When I reflected on the reason I was always a busy person, I realized that my parents were always busy, so my definition of a good person was someone who never relaxed.

DH says to me, when I complain about not having enough time, well, just do less. But I don't want to give up anything. I want my exercise time, reading time, gardening time, socializing time, sewing time, and I want 8 hours sleep, and be able to sit down to eat breakfast, and not feel sloppy about the way I dress or do my job or cook or clean or launder. If I'm gonna have it all, I guess I'd better get efficient. And I am getting better at staying on focus, prioritizing, delegating, keeping lists, setting deadlines, and making routines out of routine stuff.

I don't have The Answer for you. But I think this is an important conversation to be having in mid Novemeber, as we launch ourselves into time-crunching season.

Let us know what you are discovering. I am hoping for all of us that an efficiency expert or time management consultant will post The Secret Teachings here.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 12:25AM
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I think Pink overalls has a good point about keeping an eye on time. I know that my biggest time waster is on this box.. and right now I have a timer on my desk to make sure I use my time better since I can get sucked in otherwise.. I call it *reading about life -vs- having a life!*

None of these choices are easy and for myself I do pretty well given all I have on my plate but love gleening other tips/products and ideas on this forum.

This is one for you... nifty product, just got them and having them put in all my bathrooms. ( see link)


Here is a link that might be useful: bathroom managment

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 9:43AM
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I had an only for 10 years and now I have four. I think it's more a factor of moms personality than the number of kids. Even with an only, I wasn't a playing type mom. We lived in a neighborhood with lots of kids and he found playmates there. When he was preschool aged, he got play time at daycare, so even with the evening with just the two of us, we did things together but I didn't do what I would call playing.

Back to the OP. I also use the Flylady system.

I looked at your time based on percentages.

35% for sleeping. This is appropriate and should not change.
19% for chores (cooking, cleaning, shopping, time in car)
8% for work (but should be 12% in a typical week)
38% is spent on yourself (Exercise, reading, time playing, TV watching, time with dh/friends, volunteer, body care) Even if we take the 4% from self time and add it to work time, that's still 34% of your time is spent doing what you choose.

I don't see a time management problem as much as I see a perception problem. This "being on a treadmill" feeling tells me that time spent on those activities like watching TV are not adding value to your life. Running on a treadmill is running and getting nowhere. I'm running on a road. I'm expending lots of energy, but I'm getting somewhere. It's perception.

Life is divided into four basic areas for most of us. Sleep, job, home care, and OTHER. OTHER looks very different household to household. My other right now is fairly full of kid oriented activities and time. That's my choice and I find value in that. I like to do my hobbies and find value in that. We each fill that time, but our satisfaction levels seem to vary widely. Since you are using Flylady, you are probably already working smart, not hard on housework and chores. That's pretty much built into the system. Of course, this changes constantly according to the needs of your personal situation.

The first and most productive thing you could do is to turn off the TV. Just turn it totally off for a month and see if your perception of your time and energy has changed. You will have immediately put time into your schedule for your exercise. This will result in feeling better and having more energy.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 1:31PM
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I don't watch TV--never have, grew up without one. I don't know how people would have time to watch it. I certainly couldn't add it to my schedule.

(of course, I read in the same way that other people watch TV. And sometimes I don't even get that much out of it, and it's a time and brain wasted)

I always say, "I only watch TV if it has Superman in it." People laugh, but TREKAren can tell you, it's true. "Smallville" is on at the wrong time now, so I don't watch it.

But I did find that, when I set aside the time to watch just that one hour of something I *really* wanted to watch ("Smallville" lately; "Lois & Clark" back when it was one), I was SO refreshed and energized! Even if it was (and I think especially WHEN it was) the only leisure time I had in the entire week, I felt great!

it made me realize that very SMALL doses of CAREFULLY CHOSEN leisure time are really, really enriching. More enriching, in fact, than larger doses of casually chosen stuff.

I've tried to keep that in mind, and make my leisure time be spent only on stuff that I REALLY enjoy. Not just stuff that I think I'll enjoy, but stuff that takes me really far away from life. Superman TV shows, comic books, playing the piano, reading Janet Evanovich's "Stephanie Plum" mystery series.

Years ago, DH and I redid the living room--put in shelves (sanding, painting, cutting), patched plaster, stripped woodwork, painted. It took MONTHS. But we spent a very focused 2.5 hours nearly every single weeknight doing this project. Honestly, I felt better, more in control, etc., than I ever had before, and more than I have since.

And talk about being on a treadmill--I mean, all our discretionary time (when little kids were asleep) was spent on this. But you know what? It was not truly a treadmill, it was a road. Because we were moving forward, and because we were working together on a project in cooperation and helping, and because we could SEE the forward progress (even if it was slow at times--stripping a single side of a window in two nights), it was really energizing and refreshing.

Good luck!

Let us know what you're thinking.

(Oh, someone upstream sort of said this, and I think it's true: this is not a "sit down once and figure it all out" puzzle; you need to keep your eye on your time, and your reactions to how you spend it, etc.)

    Bookmark   November 17, 2006 at 5:11PM
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You actually seem to get a lot done. I think Talley Sues idea of having your son help with chores is a good idea. I always had my kids help with cooking. 3 is not too young to throw premeasured flour into a bowl, etc. By the time they are 5 they can measure, get out ingredients for a salad, etc.
I don't think I played with my kids but I taught them to type, draw, paint, cook, hammer a nail in scraps of wood and garden. I love to prune roses and the kids picked up the twigs and broke or cut them smaller. When it was late summer we went out to orchards in rural California and picked peaches and canned them. We live in the coastal L.A. area so they must have been the only kids in town who did it.
You can get your exercise time in with a child by putting him in a stroller and heading for the beach/park/
Other than that I think you are doing fine with your time.
You are getting lots of things done; your life changes and your time commitments change.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2006 at 12:19AM
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I find the OP's description of feeling like she's on a treadmill to be revealing, especially in the light of what Gloria and Talley sue are saying about running on a road, and moving forward. When I try to describe my own frustration with poor time management I tend to call it spinning my wheels -- same thing. I think the key is in keeping your eye on the prize.

When you're a working-at-home mom to a 3-year old, it can seem like the daily goal might be to just get through the day with your sanity intact. In fact, your real goal is bigger but easy to forget -- shaping a child's mind, body and spirit so he or she will have a life that's healthy and happy, in line with your own values.

Like the others, I don't endorse becoming a playmate for your child, but at the same time, don't underestimate the value of spending time together. Everything you do is setting an example for your son. This forum's discussions often focus on behavior learned from mom, particularly the painful lessons of growing up with moms who couldn't organize time or stuff. Since you use Flylady's system, your son is probably seeing a household that is structured and safe, and he will grow up preferring clean and uncluttered surroundings. That's a major teaching.

If it feels like you have too much on your plate, it might help to review the prizes you have your eye on. Like those windows Talley sue stripped, when the goal is in focus, any baby steps to get there are fulfilling.

My first born was an only child for three and a half years. I had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom without a home-based business. I didn't play with legos or dolls, but I put her on the back of my bicycle every day and we went to the library and the zoo. Maybe it's just coincidence she chose zoology for a college major and then earned a master's in information technology. I was simply enjoying my young daughter and the fresh air and, unknown to me then, building memories for myself and lifelong interests for her. You never really know when you're mothering how profound an effect the simplest gestures can have.

If you underestimate the value of your daily demands, you WILL feel like you're getting nowhere. The trick is to know why you are doing what you're doing. Once you accept that you've chosen a chore or activity, you've freed yourself to appreciate it for what it is -- a means to an end. As Gloria indicated, it's all about perception.

I don't know if these thoughts help, or miss the point of how to juggle a tight schedule.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2006 at 2:14AM
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Great food for thought, ladies. Thank you for the time and thought that went into your responses.

Talley Sue wanted to know what I'm thinking. There's a lot here:

The point made by Gloria about TV time is pretty good: eliminate TV and - presto! - there's your time for exercise.

Also the point that about 34% of my time is discretionary was occurs to me that I need to apply something I learned at a leadership conference recently about knowing what truly "fills you up" and making a point to *make time* for those things, ESPECIALLY when you're busy/stressed/drained.

My list of things that filled me up (in no particular order):

- time with friends/family
- reading books that inspire me
- goal-setting
- running
- being in a group bible study/journaling/quiet time alone
- taking mini vacations (3-4 day weekends to nearby destinations)

What this tells me is that I should be using that 34% more strategically to do ONLY the things (to the extent that I can control my circumstances) that fill me up the most. If reading an inspirating/motivating book is going to "fill me" more than reading a vapid novel or watching an hour of TV, then I need to have the discipline to make that choice. Likewise, in the decision to watch TV vs. go running.

The idea that Gloria, Talley Sue, and Pink Overalls shared re: the mindset shift of treadmill vs. road was also very helpful. I once heard at a marriage conference that a relationship is like being in a canoe on a river...if you're not paddling, you're not sitting still, you're actually moving downstream with the current. That can apply to anything, really; housework, finances, fitness. I hear the peptalk here to keep paddling (baby steps, as Flylady would say) and keep the prize in sight. Yes, Pink Overalls, the "prize" is years, decades even, down the road:

...shaping a child's mind, body and spirit so he or she will have a life that's healthy and happy, in line with your own values.

I am stubborn, I think. At this point, I'm not willing to cut things out. And yet, I know that a major energy drain for me is being overcommitted and feeling behind. I may have to make some tough decisions to cut some stuff out OR go against my frugal sensitivities to pay someone for help. I am not willing at this point to "outsource" childcare any more than I already am (9 hrs of preschool/week), but I might consider paying a housekeeper to come in once a month or dropping off shirts at the cleaners to be ironed. I've heard of these places that help you prepare meals in advance for your freezer, but I love cooking so that's not for me.

So, to open up another can of worms, have any of you found great time-saving services that you'd be willing to pass along?

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 5:20PM
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some of life *is* not "treadmill-like": laundry, cleaning the bathroom. If you can redefine it to mean "achieving order and calm for my familiy" instead of "cleaning the stupid bathroom again!", that sort of mental trick might help.

Also, your child is 3.5, right? Things will change. You might BE on the treadmill now, and if you can hold out, things will get more enriching for you. (and, be sure not to underestimate what he can do, or how much attention he needs; I know that as someone w/ little knowledge of child development, I was always "behind" my kids in development, and I babied them more than I should have)

You know two things: you're stubborn about cutting anything out, and you're tired of feeling overcomitted. Knowing this might actually help you (sort of like alcoholics finally admitting they have a problem, being the first step to recovery, LOL!) Eventually you will find the way you are willing to change your commitments. You will realize what things you only *think* you're stubborn about changing; they're there, once you decide the price you're paying is too high. Only you will recognize them, but perhaps you'll have your radar up and will spot the signs.

I loved having a housekeeper. We cut it out for monetary reasons (down to 1 income, which means someone at home supposedly able to clean--but all he does is vacuum the centers of the rooms). But man, was it a help.

It didn't actually save me TIME, mind you. It just meant that my house was clean. Because I have never given up anything else in order to clean, and I've never felt guilty about it, LOL!

You could *become* the place that would prepare meals in advance for the freezer, w/ Once a Month Cooking or Once a Week Cooking. Even if it wasn't for EVERY meal, just cooking several meals on a weekend here or there, or making 2 meals' worth now and then (my DH is the daily cook, and he never makes just enough; he deliberately plans leftovers, which means dinner is already done for one day later in the week).

that does help us.

I don't iron shirts, so I've never gone there. Lots of my friends have a laundry service do their laundry, but I couldn't do that. I've also seen them nd up w/ ruined sweaters, and I'm having a hard enough time dealing w/ DH doing the laundry. You can ruin clothes by washing them wrong, so I won't farm that out.

Here is a link that might be useful: the Once a Week Cooking forum here at ThatHomeSite/GardenWeb

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 5:52PM
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You were VERY brave to do a time management study. As you discovered, there arent enough hours in a week.

I made a list of things in my life that donÂt change. These total 137 hours:

56 hours sleeping
3.5 hours shower/hair/makeup/dress (30 minutes a day, to the minute)
50 hours at the office
7.5 hours commuting
4 hours at church
2 hours exercising
4 hours volunteer meetings (this is the minimum)
10 hours email (friends & family, volunteer projects)

This leaves me 31 hours a week for everything else (which is why I donÂt like looking at time management by the hour). April-May will be the worstÂlast year I spent 17 hours a week at high school track meets!

I donÂt watch much TV but I spend a lot of that "extra" time with my family. My house isnÂt as clean as it should be but the basics are done. My closest friends are involved with the same volunteer groups that I belong to and since theyÂre just as busy as I am, we call that our weekly "social" time. Email is often better than phone callsÂno getting sidetracked on long phone conversations.

You spend more time on housework and cooking than I do, but perhaps youÂre better at both? I probably did 10 loads of laundry this week but if you asked me how much "time" I spent on laundry I would have guessed 10 minutesÂbut thatÂs obviously not true since it's all folded and put away!

HereÂs how to fit MORE in your life:

1. Put it on your calendar. That really is the secret for me. If youÂre already a list-maker, you just need to schedule a specific day/time on your calendar. For example, my exercise time is definite. ItÂs on the calendar same day/time every week, no exceptions, everyone knows it. ItÂs just like blocking off the 4 hours for church and the Tues/Wed nights for meetings.

2. Make choices. I might enjoy more TV, but it would be at the expense of something else. I'm not ready to give up the "something else" at this time. You spent twice as much time as me in the shower... are you cleaner? LOL

3. Combine activities. As I cook, I clean the kitchen (while doing laundry). When I get out of the shower, I clean the bathroom. When I hang up my coat, I straighten the closet. I have to admit that a lot of my "house cleaning" is done while doing something else, so it would be hard to separate the minutes/hours.

4. Beware of "time saving services" that don't fit your personality. I would rather wash and iron 5 shirts on my own time than have to remember to drop them off and find time to fight traffic and pick them up later. I tried Once A Week Cooking once and HATED it--I gave up half a Sunday to cook (which I hate anyway) and a week later we were out of meals again--and I still had to spend time in the kitchen each night heating them up! It would have been far easier to have just cooked double meals each night and, for example, put half the spaghetti sauce in the freezer for later.

Funny storyÂYES I DID get down on my belly and play legos on the floor with the kids and I would do it all over again I did NOT have kids to send them off to the other room to play! We built lego creations and zoomed matchbox cars and built forts out of blankets on rainy days and made snakes out of playdoh and had tea parties and danced around the house and hammered things out of wood & nails and colored with crayons and used lots of glue & glitter and played sports (who better than ever-patient mama to stand in the hockey net while he learns to lift a puck over a goalieÂs shoulder?) and took bike rides and hiked through the secret passages in the woods and made snowmen and went to museums & the zoo AND learned to play alone AND learned to play with other children AND learned to cook and clean, too (which impressed my oldest son's college roommates--plus he was the only one who could put up a tent in the dark LOL).

DS-15 and I spent 3 of my 31 "extra" weekly hours yesterday reading a book out loud and discussing it (don't tell his friends--he would be embarrassed if they knew!) because even though he COULD read alone, we still enjoy reading together. We'll read more tonight when his homework is finished. In a couple years he'll be away at college and I can use my "extra" hours on a different activity--like organizing the camping equipment that seems to be bursting out of the storage area... it's a low priority and never gets to the top of the to-do list.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 8:09PM
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meercat96 said, "At this point, I'm not willing to cut things out." As Oprah says, you can have it all, just not at the same time. Maybe it just comes with maturity, but there really is a great deal of energy and time spent on a family and many of those hours aren't about US. It's about them. As I've gotten older and had more children, my time looks very different from when my oldest child was three. It will look different this time next year.

It still boils down to choices. You can choose to stay doing just what you are doing now and continue to be tired and frustrated or you can change some things. Like that tree that bends in the wind, being flexible has it's advantages.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 11:25PM
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Hey julie_mi_z5,

Your reply was like a breath of fresh air...and, yes!, I am cleaner. LOL! You had me in tears laughing at a few of your comments. Thank you.

And Talley Sue,

You're right about what *can* get cut. Since my last post, I have been really thinking about whether or not THIS is the "season" of my life when volunteering is reasonable. I think that because I have always been involved in some volunteer work, when I worked full-time and then when I became a mom, and now that I am a small business owner AND mama, that it was perfectly reasonable to just ADD these things to my schedule without editing something else out. I have called two committees I'm on to bow out of my leadership responsibilities. (Yay, me!) I have stayed on with one group, since as Julie said, it is a group my friends are in and it counts double-duty as friendship/volunteer time.

But anyway, all that to say...Good advice and encouragement from all you ladies! I thank you all!

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 6:29PM
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yay, you, is right!!

How smart you are to think harder about assumptions you have always made. And to locate the things you're willing to let go of for now.

As I said, you're the only one who knows what they are, and you'll find them eventually. And you did it sooner, rather than later--yay!

(and I have to tell you--you probably already know this, having had leadership positions--there is tremendous value to your cause in your simply being around as a NONleader. And you'll probably find it less stressful, even if you actually do something. You can say, "oh, sure, I'll do that one small project," and it won't take up so much ENERGY (or time, but mostly energy), bcs you didn't have to be in CHARGE of it. Club presidents should thank God for willing members.)

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 10:17AM
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Here's the BIG question:

When you dropped the committee chair positions, did you immediately re-allocate the time?

Be sure that it gets applied specifically towards something you desired, like more exercise or devotions, and is not swallowed up by added TV time or something else that doesn't fulfill your original purpose. "Time" is sneaky that way!


    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 5:55AM
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