Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time (Or Lack Thereof)

After reading everyone's desired super powers in the comments of this post, I was struck by how many of us said we wished we could snap our fingers & have chores finished (most mentioned was laundry), have more time to get everything done, be cloned because there's too much to do, and even grow extra arms to help with all of the work around the house!    I do think that some people came up with the perfect solution of BEING MARY POPPINS.  She can do shores in a snap and fly. 

But really, is this where we've come to?  Are we SO slammed with chores & work & short for time that we will pass up magical, incredible, unreal possibilities (C'mon!  Starting fire with a glance- controlling the weather- super strength- moving objects with our minds- flying- breathing underwater- talking to people through their dreams- etc ) for help with our house work??

I loved reading everyone's "super powers" but in a way I was a little bummed by the truth of how insanely busy we all are.  I didn't pick a chore-related power as my super power, but truth-be-told, I sort of wanted to...  I mean, the laundry situation in our house is insane.  And we only have two kids.

I'm not complaining about the chores,  (Ok, maybe a little) because it is just life, but it did get me thinking of what I could to to make it a little easier.  And I'm not sure I came up with any real solutions, but I do believe that even attempting to come up with solutions at least gets you thinking & makes you more aware of how precious your time is. 

We're all pressed for time.  There's never enough of it.  We have so much to do and so many people rely on us to get things done.  Laundry is endless (yes, I hate laundry) and it seems that just when you finish vacuuming one room, another one's dirty.  Can you even count the number of times you clean crumbs off of the counter a day?  Or do dishes or dust a surface (ok, I never really dust! ;) or pick & put away something that's not yours?   (And honestly, I'm so messy myself!) 

Look how happy she is:

 I'm not her.  I hate to clean.   But I do it because if I didn't, I'd eventually become a cat lady and my house would try to eat me & my neighbors would call the authories on me because of the smell and the trash pileup.  (Ok, and I love a pretty house & all the designing/ decorating would be wasted.)  ...  So all of these chores just have to happen. But is there any way to do these things more efficiently? 

Enlisting our kind friends from the forest?? 

How do we want to spend our time?  Most of us seem to want to spend it with the people we love.  To spend time working on what we love to do...  our passions....  Reading, writing, creating, designing, being good sisters, daighters, friends, girlfriends, wives, moms, granparents...  Doing fun things, making memories...  So how can we spend more time doing the things we want to do and less time with chores & house work? 

--On a sidenote, I believe time is money & money is time.  My idea of success is not based upon money, but rather on happiness.  A happy person is a successful one to me.  (Now a happy, rich person?  Well hot damn! ;)    ---

Anyway, the first thing that comes to mind is that anyone who can afford a cleaning service & doesn't already have one, should hire one asap.   That time that you would have spent cleaning, you can now spend in better ways.  So maybe you don't have as much money in the bank at the end of the month, but you do have more time at the end of the month.  And if you spent that time wisely, you have more memories, more bonding with the people you love, and a less harried life. 

Now what about those of us who can't afford a cleaning service?  (above)  Or those of us who already have one and are still pressed to the max??  (Laundry NEVER stops!!!)  Well, there HAS to be something we can do.  Something to make it more efficient.  A system perhaps?  Can we really possibly doing it the best possible way already?  I don't really know the answer. 

There are probably things all of us can cut out a little.  TV?  Chatting on the phone for too long? And dare I say it, blogging?   (oh that hurt to type.)  We could probably move faster too.  Some of us wanted lightning speed to get chores done quickly...  so maybe we should try going as fast as we physically can?  I know some people like to set the timer for a short period of time (my Grandmother!) and get as much as they can accomplish finished before the buzzer goes off.   I also love getting my toddler involved in chores and trying to have fun so it's less painful... 

And when I get REALLY pressed for time, the first thing I do is create a schedule.  I plan out my entire day. 

When I had my first baby, I was unprepared for life with a newborn.  I knew I'd be exhausted & slammed, but I didn't know what it would really be like.  After going through a few weeks or months (it's a haze) barely sleeping, eating, hanging out, never really relaxing and completely fawning over our new sweetie pie, my husband & I realized that we needed a solution.  We needed "us" time and it seemed like there was always something- laundry, cleaning, working, etc.- that kept us from enjoying each other & doing the things we really wanted to do and feel like good parents.  (Him- work out, me- work on a new business.)  SO, we created a weekly schedule.  On the back we both wrote what we wanted to do weekly and daily.  We had a date night on there (that could be as simple as making a great dinner at home & watching a movie), We had work-outs on there, a daily walk as a family, I had a couple of hours a day of business I needed to get done, and I even wrote "shower before 3:00" on there because as that point I was having trouble putting the baby down because the poor little guy would wail his head off if I did.  Anyway, once we wrote down the things that needed to happen, we put them into time slots on the schedule.  We didn't put chores on there.  Just the good things.  We did the chores in the unscheduled time. 

We basically reversed out priorities.   (In effect, the chores were still on there, but not written down, so the good things became the bigger priority.)  We weren't perfect at sticking to it, but it was something to strive for.  And it made a huge difference.  We still had piles of laundry and were behind on chores (like we'd always been) but we were happier, more satisfied.  We realized that a walk with each other around the lake was going to do us a lot more good than cleaning the house.

And the good thing was, that I knew when I was hanging out, bonding with Christian, that I didn't have to feel any guilt over not working, because it was scheduled in for later in the day and I would get it done.  (Working from home/ running your own business is often hard to balance:  when you're working you often feel guilty about not spending enough time with your family, and when you're with your family, it's easy to think about how much work is waiting for you in the other room.)  Anyway, I know it's not rocket science, but at the time it felt like it.  Life had completely changed for us & we needed a new way to handle it.

Well, life has changed for us yet again.  Add in another baby (Justin Alexander, above) and a business that's now full-time AND BLOGGING...  and, well, let's just say the laundry room floor is waist-high in clothes.  (And I haven't even gone "back to work yet!")  So it's time to break out a new schedule. 

And my new plan is to race through the chores...  To move like lightning!!  I think music & a timer will help... I'll let you know how it goes.  Could you share your ideas?  Life is short, so let's live it. 


ps-  Don't forget to vote for Eddie's Bloomingdales window today!!  (at the top right of the sidebar)  THANK YOU!!!!

We've also got a giveaway winner!!  (see previous post)


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