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Finding Time in the New Year

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself an organized person.  At least not in the sense that I keep a day planner handy, nor do I keep all my belongings neatly labeled and boxed up (though Santa did give me a label maker for Christmas.  Hint, hint?).  Somehow though I’d always managed to be on top of things–school assignments were turned in, bills were paid, work deadlines were met.

Enter motherhood, and my system, or lack of, just hasn’t been working. 

I find myself forgetting what I was supposed to be doing or constantly interrupted and side-tracked. This sounding familiar?  I didn’t realize that becoming a mother would mean that time would slip through my fingers all too quickly.  I am constantly looking for more hours in my day.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions, but these past couple of months, I’ve been thinking that I want to be more deliberate in the new year.  Deliberate in the time I spend with my daughter, husband and friends, deliberate in my homemaking, and deliberate with my free time.

In order to accomplish this, I’ve come up with a few things that I hope will help me with this goal . . .

1.  Use a calendar.  In our house, we use a big wall calendar so we can see quickly see everyone’s activities.  I also keep a personal one for myself to remind myself of play dates, projects I’m currently working on, and a to-do list.

clock2.  Set a timer.  This has really helped me in my productivity, especially when I’m online.  It’s so easy to hop from Facebook to email to an interesting article to read, and oh, look at this recipe on Pinterest…Before I know it, I’ve spent way too much time online.  I’ll give myself 20 minutes to check email, 15 to browse Pinterest and 10 to hop on Facebook.  You can also use a timer for housework or tv.

3.  Create a chore chart.  Really.  This has made a huge difference in my stress levels about maintaining my house.  I start with Monday and list chores through Friday, keeping weekends open and Sundays to relax.  I have daily chores (make beds, clean kitchen counters), weekly chores (laundry, mopping) and monthly chores (clean the oven).  Also, if something doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done.  It’s important to give yourself a pass now and then.

4.  Plan for the unexpected and leave room for spontaneity.  I like planning our weeks, but I also know I need to leave 1 or 2 days open in order to be flexible for doctor’s appointments, illness or last minute errands.  Sometimes I like to have no plans so my daughter and I can go for a last minute walk or work on a fun craft.  Also, I’m a big believer in learning to spend time at home and being entertained there instead of always feeling like we need to be “doing” something all the time.

5.  Say no.  It’s fun to participate in activities, but I have learned there are certain times in my day that need to be protected.  For us this the time after my toddler’s nap.  It’s just too chaotic for us to be out and about during that time.  Dinner needs to be made, traffic starts building up, daddy’s on his way home.  I prefer to schedule things in the morning and leave the afternoons open just for our family.

6.  Find me time.  Since becoming a mom, me time is scarce.  I think it’s important to find time to yourself.  I like to use nap time to drink a cup of tea, read, even nap.  I also signed my daughter up for Mother’s Day Out one day per week and those 4 hours away make a huge difference for the both of us.  I never realized how refreshed I would feel after having just a little bit of downtime.

What are some ways you’ve found it easier to make better use of your time? 

I’m looking forward to the new year and a new start and I hope to finally find those missing hours in my day.  I wish you all the best in your New Year’s plans and hopes!

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Rach Black Bio PictureRach is a former CPA turned stay-at-home home to her almost 2 year old little girl.  She’s married to another CPA who likes to take on home remodel projects and indulge in woodworking.  When she’s not vacuuming up sawdust, she blogs at Life Ever Since, about the ups and downs of navigating motherhood, marriage and other things she’s clueless about.

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3 Responses to Finding Time in the New Year

  1. Christa January 3, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    All of these are excellent ideas! I’ve had to incorporate most of these also in the last few years. With all of the technology available to me I really thought I could keep up with everything on my iPhone but I’m learning more and more the value of a written list, paper calendar, mom’s notebook, etc. I’m incorporating more of that into my life and I’m feeling a bit more on top of things. Wonderful post Rach!

  2. Susan January 3, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    I love all these ideas. I’m struggling to stay organized and keep trying different systems but nothing has stuck yet. ::sigh::

  3. Laura January 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    Perfect list, Rach! When I do these things, I definitely appreciate my days more. But I often avoid them too, because I find I fill myself up too much and then I am just staying up too late at night trying to get all the things done on my calendar and chore list.

    I guess a timer would work well for me.

    And also saying no more often.

    Happy New Year!

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