8 Ways to Reclaim Your Time
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Over the past few months,
I’ve made some changes to my life for the better.
Looking back at it now I’m embarrassed to admit how reluctant I was to admit I needed help! I’m sure you are like me. Mom-ing 24/7, tired, keeping a tidy house, trying to be more fit, and trying to do all the things for all the people all the time. At the end of 2017, it finally occurred to me, and not for the first time but for real this time, that I need take care of me so I can better take care of everyone and everything else.
So I took a good hard look at what wasn’t working for me in these 5 areas. It seemed like all of my have-to were getting in the way of my want-to.
I’m sure you may be thinking that family isn’t on this list. Your right. It’s because my family life is pretty smooth right now, plus you’ll see how taking care of these other categories is helping me gain more time with my family.
To start I made a list off all the things I have to do for each of these categories and about how much time it takes, or how much I’m currently spending on each of these every week. Did you know there are only 168 hours every week?
Creativity = 10hrs
Creativity is a central part of who I am as a person. I need to make something every day or I get grumpy, and everyone will say so. It also is part of what I do for work, but making the time for the inspirational side of my life feeds my business.
paint 30 minutes a day minimum 3.5hrs
sew for fun 1 hr
sketch 30 minutes a day minimum 3.5hrs
take pictures 2 hrs
adventure 0 hrs
Work = 38hrs
The daily tasks of keeping my business running can suck all of the creative time away from me if I let it.
answer emails = 9+ hrs
pack and ship orders = 6+ hrs
Scan new work = 2+ hrs
submit new work = 2 hrs
Social media = 7hrs
accounting = 2 hrs
New patterns / illustration in the computer = 10hr
Home = 28hrs
I love a clean house. It helps me focus, keeps ants at bay, and it's also important to me that my kids learn how to care for our home too.
grocery + driving there + putting away = 3.5hr
clean bathrooms 1hr
dinner making 7hr
Self Care = 83hrs
This may seem like a lot, but sleep happens every night. Some of these; like a haircut and chiropractor doesn't happen every week so I took an average over a month and divided it by 4 to keep everything in the same math.
exercise 5hr + driving to/from gym 2hrs = 7hr
skin care 2hrs
getting ready 6hrs
Haircut or chiropractor + driving = 1hr
rest 56hrs (8hr a night, I don't do well with less)
meals = 10.5 hr
date with Mr = 1.5 hr
Service = 9hrs
weekly emails 1hr
meeting notes 2hr
church meetings 3hr + driving .5hr
scouting + driving .5hr
All of this equals 168 hrs which generally accounts for every minute in 1 week! Looking at it charted...I’m spending WAY too much time on the things I don’t really want to be doing.
Green = Self Care, Red = Work, Yellow = Home, Blue = Creativity, Orange = Service
Self-care appears very heavy, but I’m asleep for 56 of those 83 hours, which really makes the chart look more like this:
Red = Work, Yellow = Home, Green = Self Care, Blue = Creativity, Orange = Service
All good things, but didn’t feel like it was in line with my priorities. I felt like I was spending too much time in the transition phases, like driving or waiting or slogging through email. So like any good OCD individual, I started looking at what I could take out, delegate, or let go of completely. Here is what
1. Gave my 11 and almost 9-year-old more weight in the household job category.
They’ve been helping out all along, but I could step it up for them, and step back myself. They only have 1 daily major job + 1 daily job a day. Totally manageable. Dishes loading and unloading, making beds, and picking up after themselves are a daily “because you live here” jobs. The major jobs include:
Monday - picking up the floor for vacuum prep
Tuesday - take out the trash
Wednesday - sorting laundry, moving laundry around, folding and putting away their own laundry
Thursday - bathrooms
Friday, Sat, Sun - only dishes and sometimes car washing with Mr.
Hours saved = 5
2. The small fee for grocery delivery was worth my time.
I use Instacart. Yes, I know there is a delivery fee, but it’s been so great that I upgraded to the $150 yearly membership which makes unlimited weekly deliveries less than $5 a week. Totally worth it. Currently, my area will deliver Safeway, Smart & Final, CVS, and Costco... just waiting for Whole Foods.
Hours saved = 3.5
3. Deliver all the things
For years I've been hesitant to buy too much on Amazon or online in general. I think I was dilutional about how much time it takes to just pop into Target or "swing by" the pharmacy. It takes a lot longer than I would have guessed, it also encourages me to go over budget by just tossing things I need into my cart. So I've really been more diligent about shopping online. This helps me only buy what I need, not take the extra 30 minutes staring at lipgloss at the pharmacy and driving all over the place. I do still like a good stroll through Target, who doesn't?! But I'm going less frequently.
Hours saved = 4
4. I bought a robot.
My sister and brother-in-law bought a Roomba and I totally balked at the idea of spending that much money on a vacuum. Something I could totally do myself. But after realizing that I sweep or vacuum nearly every day...I caved. I bought a Shark robot vacuum and it is fantastic, programmable from my phone, and saves me time. Plus it had better reviews and price than a Roomba. We named it Alice and I love her.
Hours saved = 7
5. I hired some local freelance help on heavy shipping days.
Ok, so she doesn’t even come every week, but occasionally I have mountains of patterns to fold, package, and purchase orders to fulfill. Having an extra pair of speedy focused hands cut my workload in half that day and I’m sold.
Hours saved = 6
6. I’m blocking my time
I’ve been reading about this concept for a while. Blocking or batching time for better efficiency. The idea has worked really well for me just for emails. I’ve committed to only checking my email 3 times a day and for 15 minutes. So I check it, then close it (not just minimize it) on my desktop. I’ve also turned off all notifications on my phone. People can wait. I’m not a doctor and sewing is not an emergency. This has really helped me to focus on the task at hand and not all the things, important or not. I figure there is something actually urgent, people will call me. There are some great lessons in this Business Boutique podcast interview with Laura Vanderkam.
I’ve also been trying to be better at going back to my routine of blocking days. Monday I make, Tuesday I sew, Wednesday I compute, etc. This is still a work in progress and has completely been blown out of the water by Quilt Market prep, but the concept is there. I also use apps like to keep me focused.
7. I quit my too far away gym.
For the past 2 years, I’ve been Jazzercising. Yup, not just for legwarmer wearing old ladies. I love it, but I drive 20 minutes three times a week each way... without traffic and pass by several other gyms to get there. At the end of May I’ll be moving to a much closer gym and even though the classes will still be an hour long, I can get home in 5 minutes.
Hours saved = 2
8. Permission to care about me.
This actually doesn’t save me any time whatsoever, but I feel better. Getting older isn’t the greatest and at 36 I still have bouts of acne, food sensitivities, and a general lackluster attitude about my body. Even though I dance 3 days a week and speed walk 2-3 miles the other 4 I wasn’t feeling great about myself. I know for a fact I am my hardest critic, but something had to change. My husband has some food issues too, so we voted to cut out grains and refined sugars.
I’ve been adding in some HIIT to my workouts. These are still killer hard, but getting easier.
Here is my verdict a month in. I feel amazing. I’m not bloated, my skin has cleared up dramatically, and I’m sleeping better. I also bought a new swimsuit for the first time in forever and, dang babe! I look pretty good.
Hours saved = 0
Total hours reclaimed: 27.5 hours a week!
This might be a bit generous, but even if I rounded up a little the peace of mind and the plans for those extra hours I've gained gives me energy just thinking about it. Also now I can add more hours to the categories that mean the most to me.
How are you saving time?