Okay, to add hours to your day might be a slight exaggeration.
But maybe not.
Just today, I had a do to list that looked a mile long. Most of the items I needed to start and finish during nap time. Guess how many I accomplished. Go on, guess.
What started as a, “Oh, I’ll just check my email really fast.” Turned into, “and then I’ll check my Facebook notifications.” Which by the time nap time was over, had morphed into, “I’ll just sit on the couch for two hours hopping from one social media outlet to another to another until I’ve read everything, watched my Facebook followers come and go, see who pinned what, and made sure I’ve read all my emails (although I have 1,000’s just sitting in my inbox).” Talk about wasted time.
Sure, I emailed the eBooks to the winners from the other night. But I could have accomplished so much more in addition to that if I had just stopped and turned off my computer. And if your honest, you’ve probably fallen into the same trap.
Now don’t think this post is all about staying off social media. Relax. It’s not. While I think keeping our time on social media in check is great and helps in our productivity, it’s not an end all. So let’s look at some ways we can streamline our day and get back some of our precious time that we could be spending with our families.
1. Make a list of goals. Sit down with your husband and write out some family goals and then some personal goals. This is what you will use to determine if new activities or opportunities are worth the time and energy or if you should just say no. You’d be surprised at how often we say yes to new things that don’t help us achieve anything. Then we’re left with just being busy.
2. Use a program like FocalFilter to keep you focused while on the computer. You knew it was coming. Social media is my biggest time waster. It’s a necessary evil for a blogger though. But with FocalFilter, I can limit what sites I can go to and for how long. Plus it’s free! That means I could actually sit down to write a blog post and not be distracted with all the notifications that keep popping up from Facebook.
3. Set a timer. I like to start tasks and finish them before I start another one. That sounds great and all, but when I’m putting away laundry or cleaning the upstairs, um, that usually means that the meal I’m supposed to be fixing if put off until later. Meanwhile I’m getting rather frustrated with my children who are whining and complaining because they are hungry. And while I try to explain that Mommy just needs to finish putting this laundry away, they don’t get it. Their whines just get louder. I really can’t blame them. When I hungry and tired because I didn’t take a nap, I’m whiney too. When I set a timer, I stop when the timer goes off, and start up again either after I put the kids in bed, or the next day (I’m being completely honest here. Haha!).
4. Let them help. My oldest son’s newest phrase is, “I help you.” It’s so sweet and yet so frustrating at the same time. I’m usually so behind on life that it’s all I can do to keep everything in some kind of working order. And the thought of how much longer everything takes when I let the kids help, makes my eye twitch and gives me the shakes. But you know what? It’s worth it. Those are the moments they will remember. The moments we’ll look back on fondly. It might not be easy to give up that control. There might be a few broken dishes as they help empty the dishwasher. Dinner prep might take an hour when it would usually take 30 minutes. But you’re making memories. And those are priceless.
5. Turn off the television. Sometimes I have the television on in the background while I’m working or trying to check things off my to-do list, and the next thing I know, the television show has drawn me in. Instead of being productive, I’m vegging on the couch. While I sometimes crave quiet, other times it drives me crazy. For those crazy times, it would be far better for me to turn on Pandora, or listen to songs I have on iTunes, or a CD that I own than to turn on the television and waste another 30 minutes to an hour watching a show that does nothing for me.
6. Take time to rest. This kind of seems counter-productive, but I promise, it’s not. Carve out some time for in the morning for your time in the Word, some coffee/tea/smoothie, prayer, and writing out for goals for the day. With the ages my children are, it is so hard for me to get up before them. But when I do, the day goes so much smoother. A lot of that has to do with the fact that my mind and heart are centered around God and His Word first, but it also allows me to see just what exactly needs to happen that day so I can plan accordingly. You know, like if I should take a shower or put on something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt.
7. Reset the house before you go to bed. Make sure the sink is empty of dirty dishes. Run the dishwasher if need be. Put all the toys away. If you have a pile of laundry on your bed, put it all away before you go to bed. Do not pile it on the dresser or on the chair on the corner. Ladies, our bedrooms should not become a catch all for everything that doesn’t have a place in the house. But that’s a another post for another day. And I’m guilty of it too. No fingers are being pointed. Go ahead and get the coffee pot ready so all you have to do is turn it on when you get up. Tonight, I brought three sippy cups, three bananas, three bowls, and some cereal upstairs just in case the kids get up early and I still need to shower. I wanted to be prepared, not flying by the seat of my pants. That’s no way to start the day. It’s not fun.