Wednesday, July 25, 2012

#musesofamom: Too Busy? 2 Questions to Ask Yourself (and your Calendar!)

There is a small, unassuming book I discovered at our local library called "The One Minute Organizer, Plain and Simple," by Donna Smallin.  It is a quick read, full of easy, uncomplicated ways to implement better home management. 

There was one statement from the author that was so profound, yet so simple:  

"Next time you hear yourself complaining about not having TIME
to get organized, stop.  All we have is time. 
How we chose to use it is up to us."  

Good, right?  Immediately you know that this statement doesn't apply to just organization, but also to every other area of life.  

How we choose to use our time is important; yet every day, we feel as though the option of choosing how we spend our time is overruled by the other demands keeping us busy instead. 

When people ask me how I am, I will admit my first response has been, "Oh, I'm staying busy!" It's a common reply for many of us.  But I wonder:  Why are we so busy?  Are there really that many real demands on our time?  Or are we choosing to be busy?

Maybe it’s time to evaluate just what is making us oh-so busy.

First, determine what is making demands of your time. Look at what you were doing this past week and how much time each area of your life is taking.  (Use a percentage if this helps you visualize this.)  I assume your calendar is similar to mine and includes activities and things to do for these areas:
·       Job (outside of the home as well as in the home)
·       Kids’ school activities and events
·       Volunteer work
·       Home management (which is pretty much everything else!)

Let’s take a closer look.

Ask yourself:  Are activities and appointments on my calendar the result of something else dictating how I spend my time?  Or am I the one choosing how to manage my family’s schedule? 

Do you see the difference?

We can either: (1) allow outside pressures (or people) to create our schedule, or (2) we can opt to keep the power in our hands when managing time.  Keeping the power in our hands means that our family members are the first to benefit, and not always someone else.  It may mean that we plan appointments farther in advance to get a better time, instead of first available.  We may need to limit the number of activities our children can do outside of school so they will have enough down time at home.  Or we can offer only a specific day of the week when we know we will have the ability to give more time and effort on a project or service.

Here’s an example:  Your 9 year old son has been begging you to take karate lessons, and the closest karate school has just one available opening left – Thursdays at 6:00 p.m.  The other option is 30 minutes away.  Thursday evening is when you know your husband is always home.  What do you do?

You may say, “Of course, I would talk it through with my husband first. He may even decide to take our son to karate.”  Yes, discussing family activities should be shared with your spouse, but in this case, you wouldn’t even need to bring it to your husband’s attention. Why? Because the best answer won’t let something or someone else make your decision. Why allow that to dictate your schedule and possibly your husband’s schedule.  Maybe the other option won’t take away important family time. 

This is just a simple illustration, but the principle is the same:  We make the hard decisions of what goes on our family's schedule, because family comes

first.  In the example above, the other karate school is a much longer drive, but there are more openings.  Now it is you who has power of your schedule by choosing a class on a better day and a better time.  Family priorities are still in line, your son will benefit, your husband still has his night off, and in the end, it will be less stress for you! 

Of course there will always be things that have its ways of creeping in when we least expect it. By using this principle, it should alleviate some stress, because you will have more time to take care of the unexpected. 

And your dentist appointment isn’t until next month anyway.