Time. It's the one thing we all have the exact same amount of, and yet, so many people seem to have so much more of it than me! I've learned, through book studies, the TPT conference, and even my pastor, that the difference isn't how much time we have, but how we USE it.
Teaching, blogging, being a mom and wife... It all seems to add up to me being busy all the time, and never feeling like I have enough time to get everything done. This school year, I am committing to maximizing the use of my time so that I feel like I have all the extra time my friends seem to have. Ok, maybe not "extra" time, but I'm hoping I at least have enough time that I can accomplish all I want to and still have time to spend focused on my family at the end of the day.
Disclaimer: The following will be a list of what I *hope* to do, not necessarily what I am actually doing right now! We all need goals, right? And maybe putting them in print will help me stick to them! Here's my plan for increasing the amount of time I have left at the end of each day:
1. Budget your TimeJohn Maxwell says, “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” The same is true of budgeting your time. If we don't plan out our time, at the end of the day, we'll wonder where it all went.
On Sunday afternoons, I've started sitting down, with my husband, and looking at what's going on for our week. (Don't wait until right before bed, or you'll go to bed thinking about your to-do list and your schedule instead of peacefully falling asleep!)
When we figure out what's going on for the week, we start filling things in on our calendar. I schedule out all of our must-do's first, like work and appointments. Then, I start penciling in everything else: dinners, cleaning up, family time, TPT work time, etc. When you write it all out, you might realize you have more free hours than you realized. It's all about being conscious of how you spend your time, rather than letting it slip away.
I made a weekly calendar in Excel to work from every week, and I have my school schedule and some of our "every week" items filled in already. I'm sharing it here as a freebie for you to use to get started! You'll need to install some fonts in order to see it the way I created it (because I'm a KG Fonts addict!): KG Strawberry Limeade, KG All of Me, & KG Drops of Jupiter. Click on the picture to download your freebie & get started budgeting your time!
2. When you're at work, work!We all know THAT girl. Some of us ARE that girl! The one who comes into your room after school or during planning and distracts you from what you were planning to get done. I will readily admit that many days, I am that girl, and I'm the reason neither of us are getting any work done. (I'm sorry!)
This year, I am going to focus my energy during the school day on accomplishing all of the school tasks I can, instead of bringing things home. Truth be told, we have far more planning time at school than most of us are really using. Today, I'm vowing to change that. Here's the plan:
- During planning time, spend the entire time working in your classroom, making copies, etc.
- If you have to, lock your door and turn off the lights. Even if someone knows you're in there, nothing says "I don't want to be interrupted right now" like a dark room and a locked door!
- Before and after school, go straight to your room, without making pit-stops to chat with coworkers and friends. If you're missing those chats with friends, save them for the last 10 minutes of the day, on your way out, after the work is done.
3. Eliminate DistractionsTell me if this thought process is familiar:
"I just need to grade a few papers tonight... And write that one blog post... I'll sit here on the couch and watch a little TV while I work... Ooh! I love this show... Was that a Facebook notification?... Aww! Look at how cute my son is playing with his new toy... I've been working for hours, and I haven't accomplished anything!"
I used to think if I had the TV on, checked my social media
During those scheduled work hours I mentioned earlier, I sit at my desk, where I can't see the TV. I've turned off lots of the social media notifications I used to get on my phone that would distract me. When I am able to focus my energy on the tasks at hand, I get them finished so much faster. Better yet, the time I have left to spend with my family is quality time, not "distracted mama who is working instead of playing with me" time.
Along those lines, I hereby grant you permission to stop feeling guilty taking your child to daycare while you work at home! Here's my rationale for the way I handle daycare over the summer and on holidays:
- I have to pay for daycare every day, all summer, to hold his spot for the school year.
- I have work I need to get done.
- He loves his class, and he will be much happier playing with his friends this morning than playing alone while I work.
- If I pick him up as soon as nap-time is over, we still have several hours of the day left to play together, go on special outings, etc. before dinner.
- I've found that if I get up, take him to daycare, and get straight to work, I can accomplish as much between 9am and 2pm as I would in an entire day trying to work and be the mama at the same time.
- He's not feeling ignored. I'm getting more work done. Our time together in the afternoon is more meaningful because I can focus on him. It's a win-win!
How are you finding more hours in the day? I'd love some more ideas! Share them in the comments below!