We all know finding and sticking to a schedule is hard.
Let’s face it, life gets in the way. I used to hate being called efficient. There were some off-collar jokes always mingled in with the meaning of being efficient. Now I pride myself on these attributes. Yes, I still struggle at times but good time management, and finding the best way to complete the task has led me to peace in my home and work. It’s a step process that slowly builds, much like a debt snowball. If you can institute a few of these in your life it may even help you set a schedule in place, aiding you in having more free time, with family, friends, and all manner of loved ones.
- What is it? Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities.
- Why it is vital to efficiency? Well, efficiency is the ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in producing the desired result. So basically having proper time management skills means you save a lot in your life. Not a lot of sacrifice in truly connecting with loved ones.
- How to change your outlook on time? My husband has poor personal time management. Here are some ways I helped him change his time management…
- I stopped trying to force him. Sounds crazy right? Wrong. He fought and dug in his heels if I tried to force him. So when I stopped forcing him to wake up in time for church or stopped trying to get him to get a shower before we went out at night; he’d begin to see me not communicating with him but getting myself ready and it made him start to pay attention to the clock.
- I laid out my plans for getting myself ready. I broke it down into what I needed to do and what amount of time I had to do it in. When he’d hear this, at first I just got a shrug or weird looks but as time went on he started to pay attention and see how I was always waiting on him.
- His job helped a ton! He works mainly with technology as a project manager. So when he doesn’t have a clear timeline, set expectations, good communication, implicit deadlines, the whole system crashes and he is left at the center. Jobs can help set great boundaries, but if you work for yourself, don’t have specific deadlines you are left in a sort of limbo and need to begin to challenge yourself.
- We placed responsibility on our shoulders. We began to help in the children’s ministry at our church. Our new Children’s Ministry Coordinator set specific times for us to be there to help out. We don’t want to let the kids down, we don’t want to let our church down, so every other Sunday at 10 A.M. I am tapping my foot holding my tea, my husbands coffee, and some water for us at the door. Just the acknowledgment that you are going to let a child down is a huge motivating factor for my husband. That responsibility drives my husband better than any nagging ever did.
Finding Your “Mountain” & Making It A “Mole Hill”
- What is it in your life that takes the most out of you? Do you do something that just leaves you exhausted when you are finished? Each person has something that they just want to ignore until it builds to the point that it’s a do or die feeling. Mine used to be the dishes and laundry. Those have been my mountains. For others maybe making the bed seems pointless. Maybe for some, it’s overscheduling. Or even the dreaded trash.
- As I said above my current mountain is laundry (I think I have a family hiding in our home that I do not know about). I’m getting better at it. The issue in our house is there is only two of us. At least for another two months. Yes, I still feel like we have a secret family I am somehow doing laundry for but even then I do not have enough laundry for a single load each day. I should have enough for five loads a week. You think I would be smart enough to do a load each day of the work week and keep my weekend clear. I’m really not that good though. My husband needs all of his work clothes for the week. Yeah, there went my weekend.
- Tackling my mountain with the one a day system… As I hit on above, easier said than done. The weekend is when my husband is home and I get him all to myself. I hate to have to split this precious time between family and laundry. However, I am finding I can do a load of dark clothing on Saturday, and a load of lights on Sunday. This gives me Monday morning to iron anything that is needing to be ironed before the week begins. I’ve begun to make Friday my sheets day. Since I change the sheets on the beds on Friday why not just go ahead and tackle that laundry so it isn’t sitting in our kitchen (small apartment, the laundry room is connected to the kitchen so all laundry baskets are piled in the kitchen). Monday, I can tackle the towels. Making Tuesday’s our white’s day. It’s still a system I am learning to use but so far it is working out nicely.
- Chipping away versus avalanche. So many want to get it all done instead of something sitting for a while. I don’t blame them. I’m completely against clutter and currently looking into ways and working on decluttering, and downsizing our amount of ‘stuff’. However, the rush to get it all done right away will drain you! If you spend a whole day focusing on laundry, then you will leave something in the dryer for a whole week (guilty), feel upset when in two days you have enough clothing for another load, have to cram in the folding, hanging, and ironing all in the next day or avoid it and your clothing just look sloppy. Also once you get a good system in place and begin to follow that system, you will discover ways to keep it looking clean without sacrificing time to have it.
Lining Up Your Efficiency Team
The best place to start your efficiency and time management is to write out everything you do in a day. If you work your list will look different than mine. Here is a rundown of my day to day life…
Make coffee, tea, and breakfast for my husband & me. Layout protein for dinner
My husband calls on his way to work and we do a bible study during his morning commute
Unload dishwasher from the night before to rinse and put all dishes in as they are being used throughout the day
I will straighten up our apartment
Make the bed
Check emails/social media
Work on my blog
Laundry- wash, dry, fold, and hang as soon as they are able
Blog again marketing, writing, or making a recipe
Clean my dad’s house if it’s Thursday, check the post office
Clean if it’s Friday
Grocery shop with hubby on the weekend
My hubby calls on his way home and I begin to make dinner on the phone with him
Clean countertops in the kitchen as soon as all dishes are in the dishwasher
Wash out French Press and let dry overnight
Now my list is already in a very set order. It’s what works best for me throughout my day. I can focus directly after eating, so for me placing my blog right after meals is key. For other things, it comes down to when is it best to begin to tackle things. My husband leaves for work at 8 A.M. every morning so I get up with him at 7, and make us breakfast. We both love our Bible study in the morning because it gets our hearts in the right place for the rest of the day. That might not be the case for everyone, and you may not even believe as we do so your commute could be 100% of your time. Pumping yourself up for the day, whatever you choose.
While being pregnant I can’t sit for too long without fidgeting. So once our study is done I need to get up and move around. Making our bed and straightening up our apartment, if I didn’t do it before bed the night before, is a good way to get the fidget out before sitting down and getting to work.
While I cook my lunch I’ll throw a load of laundry in to wash. It works perfectly because of my fidgeting and my laundry as I said is right next to the kitchen. I’ll need to get up and move while I work on my blog, so it fits well.
This is a great example of knowing my schedule and making the most out of the time I have. Your schedule may not flow so easily. It took me a while to figure out why I was fidgeting or getting so sleepy while I blogged after lunch. Once I noticed that if I got up and moved I’d be fine, I changed my schedule accordingly. Being rigid can and will only restrict you and you will find you are never saving time doing anything; everything will always take the exact same amount of time as it did when you first began.
I’m not suggesting that you are always looking for elaborate ways to shorten your work time, or buying something meant to shave off minutes from your schedule. I’m suggesting keep it simple, move things around until you find the most efficient use of your time then time yourself!
Try this for me. Time yourself doing a task on your schedule. Let’s say you strip and remake your bed in 15 minutes. Why that long?
- You pull the comforter off your bed
- Next the pillows and their cases
- Then the sheets.
- Then you go get your replacement sheets
- Put them on the bed
- Add your blankets/comforter you pulled off and arrange it how you like it
- Then you cover your pillows and arrange them
- Pick up your used sheets and put them in the hamper for the wash.
You can cut so much time out by folding your comforter instead of just pulling it off, pulling it off seems faster but the reassembly increases your time spent. I bring my replacement sheets in the room before I start. Everything is orderly when I take things off the bed. My pillows are uncovered and then stacked in the order I’ll place them back on the bed so I don’t toss a decorative pillow aside to place the pillow that was supposed to be behind it there after the fact. This is just an example though. I hope no one takes that long on their bed but as I said it was an example.
I’ll be very frank with you. I had a decent system in place before I became pregnant, and I know my schedule will dramatically change once again once our bundle of joy arrives. During the first trimester, I was so tired and felt terrible.
My home looked like and smelled like a teenage boys’ bedroom.
My husband tried to help; but being the type of guy he is, he didn’t see half the issues I did, that is until I reached my second trimester and began to get our home back in my kind of order. He was certainly thankful to have me back in commission.
To you men out there who DO mind the mess, THANK YOU! Really, you are a rare and precious resource, please train all men you meet to be like you.
This list may be daunting for some and that is fine. Just reading this means you are wanting to step out of that lifestyle of always being late, or just want to be able to relax without your mind whirling from the 60 things you know need to be done before you can truly relax. Life gets in the way and that’s fine, but you can take some of life and figure out how to best it. After all, it looks like I have my life scheduled to a science. That isn’t the case. I will find ways to fill my days when they aren’t so crowded. When my day is packed though it’s nice to have the schedule to help me not lose my mind and not sacrifice my time with my husband and fur baby.
Good Luck moving forward in your desire to create an efficient home and please let me know any tips and tricks you have at being more efficient in your home!