Sunday, 15 April 2012

Life challenge - week 15 - time management: priorities

I want to do it all:
  • Work
  • Looking after myself - including eating well, exercise, getting enough sleep, brushing and flossing
  • Scrapbooking
  • Reading - kindle, parenting books I've borrowed from the library
  • TV - oh gosh I watch so much - a bit ashamed to say -  Biggest Loser, Packed to the Rafters, How I met your mother, Offspring, Parenthood, Greys Anatomy, Revenge, Private Practice, Desperate Housewives, Amazing Race, My Kitchen Rules, Master Chef, New Girl (oh gosh there is probably even more)
  • Internet -
    • Facebook (including being a member of 2 private groups)
    • Essential Baby
    • Reading and commenting on blogs (I've subscribe to so many)
    • Blog writing for Little Yoyo Styles
    • Amazon blogs
    • Reading emails
    • Checking daily deals
  • Secretary on school Governing Council
  • Housework - cleaning, tidying, washing/folding etc
  • Catching up with friends - phone, face-to-face catch-ups
  • Catching up with my sister and my parents
  • Spending quality time with my family - Nigel, Hunter, Savannah - family days, Friday family movie
  • Organising the kids - healthy lunches for school for Hunter, clothes and bags ready for the next day
  • Challenges - simplify your life challenge, 52 weeks to an organised home challenge,
  • Organising a holiday to NZ (accommodation booked - but that's it)
  • Menu planning and shopping list
But that's not going to happen - it's not sustainable and makes me feel inadequate when I try to do it all and fail. That's why setting priorities is so important.

I know some things need to change. In trying to do it all - my goals and tasks are conflicting. For example, my wanting to watch that TV show, then read my book, means I'm watching TV until about 10.30pm, then reading until about 11.30pm so going to bed too late - and then am constantly tired. This is at odds in my goal to go to bed by 10.30pm 4 nights a week, and my wanting to look after myself.  It can't go on like this.

My biggest time waster is the Internet. I lose so much time on Facebook, parenting forums, Amazon forums, blogs and so on. I also spend a lot of time on emails. I get so many in a single day. I've subscribed to almost all the daily deal sites so get emails from them daily, along with many other "subscriptions".

My goal over the next few weeks for email is to examine closely each email as it comes in. Do I really need to subscribe to it? Do I need to subscribe to ALL the daily deals?  Can I choose my favourite few? If I'm not really reading it - and the content is not adding to my life I'm going to unsubscribe. I'm also going to set rules and folders - batching my emails - so I can read like emails together - this should save time rather than trudging through them all.

And I will do similar with blogs - I have a whole heap I follow - but realistically I can't read and respond to them all. I'm not making connections by following so many. Over the next few weeks I'm going to have to decide which ones I can unfollow. Which ones do I regularly read and which ones do I put in my blogs email to read later (and then not read).

I gave up blogging at Little Yoyo Styles - wrote my last post tonight - that's one that isn't adding to my life.

I've tried not going on Facebook at all- I feel disconnected. I've made so many friends on my parenting forums which are now on FB - which without chatting to them I miss them. So I'm going to stay on FB - but I need to think about how I can do this smarter.
I need to set certain time for the Internet overall - which includes emails, blog reading and FB.
Work is obviously takes a lot of my time - and something I can't change. I work 4 days per week- 7.5 hours a day. I'm home around 6pm each night. I can't do anything about this time - but I can use it well. I read to and from work on the train! This is my "me time". Problem is I then get into the book and want to read at home too. This is often at the expense of other things such as talking to Nigel or going to sleep. Reading is important to me - but I think I need to acknowledge I get to do it during my commute to work - so consider that enough.
I try to utilise lunchtimes at work. I walk with a colleague one day a week and often catch up with a freind for lunch once a month. I also use this time to fit in jobs such as the dentist, going to the bank and shopping (non-food).

TV is also some me time and time to relax. But would you look at that list!  WOW. I'm obsessed. Thankfully My Kitchen Rules has finished and the Biggest Loser is nearly finished. I'm not really into Amazing Race this season so I think I can ditch it - likewise with Desperate Housewives. And I will try not to start with Master Chef. But the others I'm not ready to give up. I record everything on my Personal Video Recorder so I can watch in my own time and skip the ads. I'm never up to date and will often watch a few episodes back to back - I quite like it like that. I tend to multi-task whilst watching TV - running on the treadmill, folding clothes, menu planning/shopping list/online grocery shopping and I even rolled meatballs the other night whilst watching TV.  I'm currently watching the Biggest Loser whilst writing this post. I'm going to continue recording the shows and fit them in when I can. But not at the expense of more important tasks - such as getting the kids ready and cleaning the house. It will be an activity I do once all my other tasks are complete.

Organising the kids is something that has to be done on a daily basis. I'm getting smarter about it though. I just bought an ebook The Clever Packed Lunch - and it was the best $10 I've spent in a while. I now have 55 serves of savoury food in the freezer and 45 serves of sweets for my son's school lunches.  That's a whole term's worth. All I need to add are the fresh ingredients such as fruit. This is going to save so much time in preparing his school lunches (not to mention increase the health factor - he used to have cheesybite sandwich every day!).

Catching up with family and friends is one of my goals and therefore of high importance to me.

Secretary on school Governing Council I've committed to - and I found interesting (I like to be in the know!). This isn't a too big a commitment (2 meetings a term- plus writing the minutes), and if I can spend less time on the Internet - I can do this instead!
I've tried to do the matrix - but found that was too hard and I therefore felt like it wasn't a good use of my time! I feel if I can get my Internet use under control, batching tasks and so on, I will feel like I have more time!


  1. The internet is my biggest time waster as well. My conflict though is that I enjoy it! I also sell things that I make so use Facebook for that and am always searching for new patterns and things. I need to cut things down like you have too, why do I need more patterns when I haven't used half of the ones I have now!! I think you're spot on with your ideas on sorting your time better to fit more in and getting rid of things that don't add to your life :)

    I'm definitely going to look up that book! Anything that makes school lunches, even toddler lunches, easier is definitely worth looking at!

    1. I've also just found the veggie smugglers website has 4 ebooks for $5 each too - one for each term. These look worth having a look at!

  2. I also want to do it all! Wish I could, but I'm pleased that it's been brought to my attention that things have to change... I LOVE Offspring, Parenthood, Packed to the Rafters and Revenge as well and can not give those up - and i think I have just got addicted to 'The Voice' - I have, however, stopped using FB so much and only doing a 10 minute check once a day and have also unsubscribed to emails so a step in the right direction... Lucky for me I don't blog (except for my updates for the SYL52) and tend to read blogs on the couch during add breaks as my down time... and I must admit, I am learning/enjoying the blogs so much more than FB anyway... I've already put a time limit on how long I am going to spend reading blogs/writing my updates etc so I don't end up online too much...

    1. Gosh I've been unsubscribing from email mailings for days, and still more come in - it's amazing the amount of crap I've subscribed to over the years. I don't blog except for these posts either (and my other challenge that I'm doing).

  3. Wow Bec, I'm both in awe & a little exhausted as I read this! I relate to the TV issue, it's usually a fight for me between sewing which fulfils me or watching the shows I love, which I feel a bit guilty about & like I'm veging out for no real purpose. Interestingly, at the moment I'm watching next to no TV as I'm going to bed ridiculously early, and I have to say I don't really miss it. I'm sure when I can stay up longer again I'll be lured in once more though.

    1. oh how I love a good TV show - problem is I love a good book too - so spend too much time on both!

  4. there is absolutely WAY too much GREAT tv on at the moment, it is definitely such a time sucker!!! I think you have some absolutely fantastic strategies in place to streamline and prioritise things, such as your internet time which hopefully helps!

    1. Thanks Lyndaal. I usually watch masterchef and I've told hubby I'm not even going to start this year...fingers crossed I can do that!

  5. LOL about masterchef - i swore this year no more tv that i son multiple days (ie have not even looked at the voice or anything like that, gave up biggest loser etc) but i will watch master chef (recording it though).

    you are doing great cutting back on things, prioritising and managing it - tv combined with stuff is a great way to do it - some people only let themselves watch their shows while doing something else (ie to get themselves to exercise they may say "you can watch when you are on the treadmill" and suddenly they are exercising 7 days a week LOL)

    Deb @ home life simplified