Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Time control

With January coming to an end, it seems like it's high time to make some decisions about what I'm going to do differently this year. I've been thinking about it a lot, but I've just been either too busy or too wrapped up in being sick to really think about it.

The timing for reading this blog post was good.

I have cleared some things off my plate over the last couple of years. Some due to decisions and some due to kids getting older--like becoming adults--and not needing the same kind of time. But I don't feel like I'm making good use of the time that I've gained. I do manage to get things accomplished, but there are also a lot of things that I just never seem to get to.

Until this month, I have done pretty well protecting my Tuesday. It is the day that I have decided that I don't work. In fact, I try to not even go into the church. It has been the day that I know that I can at least get a nice chunk of housework done and catch up a bit on the laundry. But this month because of being sick, going to visit the hubby, and trying to make up for being gone, I have not had a single entire day at home. (Except when I was too sick to do anything.)

But I need that day. And I'm going to start planning one minor major project for each Tuesday. Tasks like cleaning the refrigerator that need to be done regularly, although not weekly. Things that help other aspects of life stay under control. (In the case of the fridge, the current level of disorganization impacts meal preparation and the food budget. We have waste. We have duplication.) I also want to schedule some time each week for house projects, instead of just hoping that there is time available. We still have a long way to go on this house. There are things like painting, curtains, and minor repairs that I can do.

My work time is already on my calendar. But I need to plan some time for my other potential income sources. I need to plan time for eBay & Craigslist listings. I need to plan time to continue the work that I have done toward being certified as a genealogist. And I need to keep trying to figure out how I can contribute more to the family income so that my husband can come home.

I am going to schedule some time for scrapbooking. I don't know if it will be weekly. Maybe I would rather have a longer time less frequently.

And finally, and possibly most importantly, I am going to schedule time for people, starting with my husband. For too long our relationship has been crowded into weekends that are full of house projects and church activities. I spent a week at his apartment in January. We're taking a vacation--our first in several years--together in February. I am going to plan time with him each month outside of the weekends.

I am also going to schedule time for my friends. I do pretty well keeping up with my local friends, although once in a while I realize that I have hardly seen one of them for months. I'm trying to figure out exactly how I want to handle making sure that time happens. The larger task is getting some time planned into my schedule to spend with out-of-town friends. I have been very lucky. Because of events in Fort Wayne I get to see my out-of-town friends more often than I deserve. I am spoiled. But there are several of them that I have wanted to visit. Some for YEARS. None of them live that far away. This year those visits need to happen.

And then, of course, I need to make sure that I allow for time to visit my daughter and enjoy being Grandma.

I am hoping that getting more organized about how I'm spending my time will make my downtime feel more relaxing. Most of the time when I am not actively accomplishing something I'm feeling like I should be. Guilt is not relaxing.

We'll see how this goes. Being organized has never been my strong point. But I do love calendars and lists.


RPW said...

completely relate. I need to make time for my friends (including you, too) I've been coming to these conclusions as well.

Susan said...

I'm so confused about how to handle these dilemmas. On the one hand, yes, I think I need to be more deliberate about planning and organizing and trying.

And yet, there comes a point when you can't. There's only so much efficiency and organization and making-the-most-of-the-minutes that can be accomplished. I noticed that Edie's article said something about how we ought not be stuck with just "doing the next thing." But what if that's where you ARE in life???

A long long time ago, when Elijah Company was still in business, they were selling a book called "Margin" about leaving space in your life, knowing that there will be emergencies, sicknesses, a need for time to think and to recharge, time for intercessory prayer, and time to "waste" on just being with people and supporting them and loving them. I need that. I don't have it. But I don't know how to get it without giving up things we NEED. Can I give up homeschooling? No. Can I give up my job? No. Can I give up church? No. Can I give up healthy food? No.

It so happens that I was lying in bed this morning, pondering some of the things you wrote about this evening, and realized that I have only 48 hours per week that isn't at work, at church, or in bed. No wonder (!!) I can't seem to keep up with housework and schoolwork and relationship and errands and everything else. But if I have only 48 hours, I don't believe that it's humanly possible to efficiency-up myself to make even the basics fit into that time period.

Like I said, I'm not sure that there is a solution to this. Maybe some of us can do some improving. But I think some of us (I'm thinking especially of Karin at the moment) deserve mega-kudos if we can just keep treading water instead of going under.

Jane said...

Susan, I think that you are absolutely right about that. In many ways, "margin" is a luxury item.
I have had those times in my life, too. There was a several year period where I could only "do the next thing." And everything was always urgent, because that's the only way it got done.
When that is where you are, I think that all you can do is you pray for strength and do what you need to do.

Elephantschild said...

Love the idea of your Tuesdays.

I had never heard of the concept of margin until you mentioned it on Facebook the other day. I love the idea. I want to plan better for it.

Even though I'm the least busy of all of my friends, I waste too much time with frivolities, with stupid stuff. I don't get to those little projects around the house like I should, like I want to. And what daily margin I might otherwise have gets eaten in that wasted time.