Tag Archives: time management

New Years Goals

This is the time of year when all of us start evaluating the past and looking toward the future. I have a habit of taking a notebook in hand and going into a quiet spot by myself to sit and write and reflect.

There have been years when I didn’t make goals, but this year I was inspired by a post by Vanessa over at Thrift Core to blog about three goals for the new year, so I thought I’d post a few goals here. If it’s public, I’m more accountable, right?

Here goes:

  1. Get our new house cupboards and closets organized by 2013. We’re already well on our way, but our townhouse’s cupboards and closets were in much better shape. Gotta whip these new ones into shape now that the rooms are all unpacked!
  2. Shift to being a creator more than a consumer. There’s nothing wrong with being a consumer, of course, but I’d love to know I use my creative abilities at least as much as I appreciate those of others. I don’t want to just read, admire art, buy vintage, and enjoy fine dining. I want to write, make art, sell more vintage than I keep for myself (that’s one great thing about having an Etsy shop … I can still do the shopping I enjoy, but I don’t have to feel guilty about it!) and cook more than I eat out at restaurants. I’ve already started on out this process, but I’d love to look back a year from now and see that I had intentionally shifted my focus. That would be lovely!
  3. Work on getting my home routine down pat. I’ve discovered one thing that has helped me focus on the work at hand when working at home is to intentionally set a schedule ahead of time and follow it. I don’t need to follow it to a T, but I do need to use my time wisely, and for some reason if Daniel and I talk about what we need to get done in a day, we are more likely to do those things than if we just wing it.

There’s more, of course, but these are the three I’m most wanting to focus on this year. What are yours?

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Filed under Balance, Organizing

The Magic Hour For Those With Day Jobs

Magic Hour

6:30 a.m. I get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, crash. 10:30 p.m., bed.

Somewhere in between coming home at 5:oo p.m. and crashing at 10:30 p.m., I need to spend quality time with my husband, clean house, do chores, walk the dog, exercise,  grow spiritually, enjoy some entertainment, read a book, catch up on news, organize the few remaining messy drawers and cupboards, keep up with friends and family and a resemblance of a social life, blog, write the book and stories I’m working on, assist my husband with his business, and research ideas for my own.

That’s all.

Read that last paragraph with a hefty dose of sarcasm, a smidge of humor, and more than a pinch or two of exhaustion. Ahh, the 21st century life. And we don’t even have kids yet!

More often than not, my time management skills skew toward one activity or the other. I’ve determined I can’t focus well on more than 1-3 things at a time. Pick three. The rest suffer. Lately, the bit that has suffered is my blogging time. Daniel always gets a spot in my Top 3, and if I’m being honest with myself, God should get the first spot, though He doesn’t always. That leaves only one area of focus left … two if you really stretch it. Lately, those two (and yes, I feel stretched) are writing or enjoying an entrepreneurial dream or two, and exercising.

This is where the magic hour comes in. Right now, my magic hour is spending some shared time with several dreams when it SHOULD be the focus of only one, but after hearing about it several months ago via Michelle Ward’s blog (a.k.a. The When I Grow Up Coach), the concept won’t leave my mind. Sometimes it is shoved to the back when the laundry screams for care or I lose myself in a gratuitous feel-good chick flick on Netflix, but the magic hour keeps coming back to haunt me. Basically, Michelle’s guest blogger, Monica McCarthy, shares how we creatives get one hour–ONE–per day to work our butts off to make our dreams happen. It’s how we use it that counts.

That concept keeps me going. I might only have one hour, or, in this evening’s case, a luxurious TWO hours while he let me be selfish and browse online and do research and blogging while he did the chores for me! (Have I mentioned I love this man?!)

I’m so glad I started this organizational journey this year, because even on the days, weeks, or months when I fall off the wagon, I still get back on and it isn’t nearly as disorganized a life as before I started. Even my time management has seen marked improvement. Every little bit is helping me become the person I want to be, and for that, and the support of friends and family, I am grateful.

It’s an exciting journey, friends. I can’t wait to see where I end up!

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Filed under Balance, Ponderings

Finding Time to Organize, Part 2

Organizing is a slow, agonizing process, but I’m pretty sure even the busiest schedule can allow one 15-20 minute segment of time per week to be designated as “clean out one shelf space” time.

Plan out what you know needs to be addressed and then use free moments (and MAKE the free moments) when you can tackle each project in due course. Box by box, closet by closet, cupboard by cupboard, and drawer by drawer. Before long, you’ll have put a large dent in that list.

Here are some moments in my own life that I think I could probably better use for my organizing time:

  1. Internet activity. Oh, how this one hurts! I adore Pinterest, avidly read many blogs, and enjoy my guilty pleasure of celebrity gossip.  I keep up with friends far and near via Facebook. I obsessively check my Twitter feed. I can easily lose track of time and misuse several hours in my evening when I could be working on a project.
  2. Television shows. Since we don’t have cable, Daniel and I rarely watch the newest shows, but we do have one or two that we stop everything for and watch regularly. Honestly, I could at least be folding laundry when I do this. However we DO have Netflix, and ooooooh boy. You can waste a lot of time with Instant access to entire seasons of shows at the click of the button! I need to cut back a little and focus more on my household chores.
  3. Over-cleaning. Okay, I admit, I don’t do this one often. When I do, however, it manifests as a slightly obsessive-compulsive need to scrub tiny parts of things with old toothbrushes and repeatedly remove microscopic specks of dust from places my house guests will never see (like on top of the door frames). Not to say those things shouldn’t be done, but that sometimes they aren’t the priority. Don’t get lost in the tiny details just because they are easy to do. That is called perfectionism and it can actually be your enemy, not your friend. Keep working on that big plan.

So what task do you let take over your free time? Can you spare a few minutes from that activity to focus on making your life better?

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Filed under Organizing, Ponderings

Finding Time to Organize, Part 1

I’d like to say that every day of my 365 days of organization is a successful venture and that I never waste a moment, but that simply would not be true.

Instead, I have a lot of self-defeating habits and thought processes that get in the way. One of the ideas I have had to dismiss along my journey was this notion that by sheer willpower alone I would become a compelling force of nature, like some kind of rare earth magnet that would pull our scattered clutter into one neat and orderly home. This is just not true. I’m often reluctant to begin new projects because I’d rather be doing other things. So much for willpower.

I’ve begun to understand that it is okay to have days when I think “organize” is a curse word and “clean” is its not-so-distant relative. I just have to ride those days out and gain some perspective while my zeal-o-meter slowly points back to GO FOR IT! again.

Over the past few months, I’ve learned to avoid this all-or-nothing mentality by breaking down larger projects into smaller ones. For instance, when I organized my laundry area, I did one shelf one night, and the other the next. I even just added to that this past weekend when I was able to afford to purchase some attractive containers to replace the hodge-podge of baskets I had used in my last phase of the project.

I can’t stress enough how important pacing is in the battle against clutter. Don’t organize the kitchen. Organize a drawer in the kitchen. Don’t renovate the game room. Sort the games first. Don’t go to the store and buy more bookshelves when your books overflow. Take a few minutes every evening for one week to go through your book collection and remove the ones you don’t want anymore. This will save you time AND money … not to mention your sanity! Don’t give up if you get overwhelmed or sidetracked; just keep on moving forward. You will get to your destination, one step at a time.

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Filed under Organizing, Ponderings