The wash was still running as I took my tenth pee break of the day and contemplated how much time does all that I do really take. I hardly ever have a seat except in this situation. So what percentage of my life do I spend doing what? I would be surprised and flummoxed by what I guessed was my truth.
There’s the general household and familial obligation work including, but not limited to:
cooking, meal planning, and feeding
cleaning the house ie floors, surfaces, bathrooms, windows, and linens
laundry washing, folding, and putting away
physically attending to the children ie diapering, dressing, brushing and bathing, and disciplining
paying the bills and balancing the checkbook
grocery shopping and putting away the groceries
chauffeuring and errand running
snuggling with children,watching movies on Friday night, and fun activities
And then there’s the ‘me stuff’ which would include:
showering and beautifying myself
reading blogs and emails
arting and creating
chatting with people, emails, and social media
picture taking and photo editing
sprucing and styling and decorating
When I tried to guess how much I did weekly in every category, I discovered that apparently I’ve been squandering three whole days every week doing nothing. Either that or I don’t realize how much time I actually spend doing all of these things. Then I went back in and adjusted the times and I only ended up with 8 untethered unspoken-for hours. Truly, I think I didn’t account for the fun times.
How do you budget your time, manage your time squandering, and delegate stuff so you can get the better stuff done more? My friend Jane Barry says she does her creative work first no matter what. She says all the housework will get done eventually anyway and the rest of the day will be more happy because she know she spent time creating just for herself. I quite agree.
In her newsletter, my friend Sandra quoted singer Paul Simon in an interview with Alec Baldwin on his podcast as giving the same advice. You need to do your thing first. Do your work at the get go of the day and then, as time allows, check in on others, do your piddly stuff, and be distracted. But if you don’t do your work, when does it get done?
Trick for me is that there are some tasks that need uninterrupted out time. Like bigger writing and projects. And those most definitely can only happen on childcare days. What if I’m uninspired when those days come? Too bad because that’s all I get.
And from recent experience, even the boy (and the husband) can’t be present when I’m trying to work because he also just doesn’t know how to stop talking or thinking of himself. I found myself so irritated with him as I was trying to jam out some blog posts for this week that I had to banish him to his room or somewhere so that he couldn’t keep interrupting me.
What I’ve learned? That I’ve been desperately in need of this back to school time to get some of these bigger projects started. That apparently I really have no idea how much time I spend doing what I do. And I should really prioritize my art more than I do. Because when I create, my soul soars and I’m a way better and more creative parent as well. This time inventory was an interesting practice in self awareness.
Do you suspect you misuse your time? September is here now and there’s some big Fall cleaning in need of doing. What about y’all?
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