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Friday, July 30, 2010

Budgeting Time and the SAHM

Okay, maybe this post isn't sahm-specific, but I struggle a lot with budgeting my time and I wonder how other people do it.  It's harder without work to give more structure and shape to your day, I think.

To start with, there's the never-ending to-do list.  I keep my to-do list on a blank 3 x 5 card.  I have about a gazillion of them that I bought when Tank was learning sight words.  There are a half dozen things that have to be done every day and then there's everything else.

Also, on the reverse side of my card I keep a list of needful things to buy.  As part of the Happiness Project, one thing I learned was the balance between buying a lot of junk you don't need and not buying things that would make your life easier.  That balance is called buying "needful things".  For example, night-light bulbs...I will need them for a few more years in Big Red's room, so why would I buy one when I will need them and I have room to store four of them.  You get the idea.  I always have my 3 x 5 card with me.

I have always considered exercise to be a bottom of the list thing...when I have done my chores, when I have finished everything else that needs to be done, if I have time, I will get to it.  That doesn't work.  Since I started running in the mornings when I fall out of bed, I don't have to worry about that anymore.  The time for my health is a top priority and since I do it first thing, it doesn't even make it onto the list!

When I worked, I was very good at spending fifteen minutes lots of little things, like the evening tidy up.  A messy house is depressing to me but I didn't have the energy for a full blown cleaning, so I would set the timer for 15 minutes and do what I could in that time.  It didn't exhaust me and I felt better about things being picked up.

I used to do that with my sewing as well.  I would give myself 15 or 20 minutes each day to make some progress on a project, but lately that too has fallen to the bottom of the list and I am making no progress.

Ditto for playing with my kids.  If I don't consciously make time for it, I won't do it.  They usually entertain themselves or each other.  I'm always much happier when I make the time to play with them though.  It's important.  If I don't make it a priority, frankly, I probably won't do it.  Playing is not my strong suit.

August 1st is going to be a re-calibration for me of how I spend my time and how I align my time with my priorities.  We all have the same 24 hours a day and what you spend your time on shows you what your priorities are.  What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.

What are your time management strategies?  How do you struggle or succeed with it?

1 comment:

  1. I don't really have a plan, except that if it isn't done by 9pm, then it gets held over to the next day. I have most of my groceries delivered, which I've found to be a great time saver and I try to spend upto an hour in my office/craft space each day ~ DS still has an afternoon nap. Not a very helpful reply, I know, but I seem to be able to get by on it!