2017 was a whirlwind. I don’t think there was a single day where I was able to just stop and breath for longer than 5 minutes. My usual unwinding time was a mess of laundry, school activities, cleaning, work, more work at my other job, play dates, doctors visits… the works. I spent a better part of last year in a haze of craziness that left me gasping for air at the end. I remember when the Christmas break finally hit and I sat down on my couch and cried. At least with A at school, I had time to myself to burn through a to-do list, but now that I had an extra person vying for my attention each day, how was I going to manage this all?
It was in that moment, tears streaming down my face that I knew this wasn’t working. I was stretching myself too thin and an unhealthy mom isn’t any good to anyone. There was no point in having a clean house and everything looking “perfect” from the outside if I was crumbling and exhausted inside.
So, I made a choice. In that moment, I made a choice that I was taking back MY time. Those moments that keep me sane. I wanted them back.
I started by making a list. What was important to me. Time with my family, time to connect with my daughter, time to connect with my business, and time to decompress and be joyful myself.
Next came figuring out how much time I needed for that, there’s no set amount of time that I made for any of this, but I needed to know what was eating up the time I already had. What was I spending the most time around my house doing that was stealing the time I was so desperately seeking.
Everyone’s time is different, what happens in your home, work and life is different. So while some of my list may work for you, some of it won’t. But I can guarantee that when you sit down and make a choice to make YOUR time valuable, everything changes.
5 Ways I Took Back My Time
1. I bought a planner.
Now you’re probably wondering why this made #1 on the list. I used to exist only on the fridge mom calendar, juggling family activities, doctors appointments, school functions and everything in between. If it wasn’t on the calendar it wasn’t happening. Although as life got busier… I found myself in a frantic state of catch up, forgetting to write things ON the calendar, or forgetting to look at it.
Now, everything goes into my planner first and is transferred to the fridge on Sunday night. No risk of double booking myself, no panic of having forgotten something and not able to see the calendar. The bonus perk to this is, I picked up a Happy Planner that makes me well, happy. With lots of space for note taking, goal tracking, positive affirmations and the like, it helps keep me mentally organized and ready to go. This has drastically cut down the time I’m juggling everything. I have everything I need right at my fingertips.
2. I stopped cleaning.
I can see you cringing right now, rest assured I haven’t totally stopped cleaning. I’ve changed the way I clean. I don’t put away toys anymore. Everyone in my house now has a “bucket”. If I find anything around the house, it’s tossed into those buckets and at the end of the night if it’s not put away before bedtime, a magical garbage fairy appears and makes it disappear (that’s me by the way). This may seem cut-throat and mean to some, but I firmly believe that if other people don’t respect their items, they don’t need them. Our daughter caught on pretty quickly and knows that her bucket needs to be cleaned out daily. Though I still pick stuff up around the house, I’m saving a ton of time by not having to wander room to room to put everything away.
To add to the cleaning time saver. We also hired a cleaning lady. Though not something that generally falls into the frugal living mindset – hear me out on this one – it’s saved me time AND money. We pay someone a modest amount every 2 weeks to come in and deep clean the house. Think, bathroom deep cleaning, sweeping and mopping the laminate in all the nooks and crannies, dusting off surfaces you’ve long forgotten about and everything in between. By not having to spend an entire day doing anymore deep cleaning whilst praying my family would disappear for awhile while I do it, I’m able to focus my time on work, and making money.
3. No more shaving
We’ve touched on this before on the blog, but last month was my 1 year sugar-aversary! I haven’t picked up a razor in a YEAR. Shower time is super quick each morning as I don’t need to worry about stubble under my arms or on my legs, or a major razor burn outbreak when I’m in a rush. This has been one of the best decisions I’ve made to take back my time and one that is adopted as a life-time change for me. Once a month, I head to Sugar’d Cloverdale for an hour with my fave lady Tamara – who doubles as a therapist, comedian, life coach and everything in between. She takes care of every bit of hair I want gone and not only does it stay gone for 3-4 weeks, it grows back less and less. Not only has this saved me a ton of time, it’s given me a chance to connect with some amazing body positive women, it’s saved me a ton of money on razors and creams and ultimately, it’s something that brings me some joy.
4. Just Say No
Probably the hardest thing for anyone to do is just say no. I found myself stretched thin saying YES to everything. Yes to every birthday party, yes to every request for help, yes to everything at work and so on. Once I took a moment to make each decision purposeful and within what I was able to give without depleting my own sanity, it made a huge change in what time I had left! I am not saying say NO to everything, but make sure that you are not saying yes out of expectation, that you are saying yes because that event or activity brings you joy, or that request for help is from someone that truly appreciates your time.
5. Cut the stuff
This was by far the biggest change I’ve made in 2018, and it has ultimately impacted my time management the most. As a society many of us are surrounded in STUFF, junk drawers have overflowed into junk counters, junk kitchen tables, entry ways of utter madness. We are drowning in things. Our family made a commitment after the holidays to downsize the stuff and it’s made a huge HUGE difference. Once spaces are clear and less cluttered, I am able to focus more on other tasks. I took this one step further and moved my cuts online, I spent an evening going through all of my social channels and making some huge cuts. I am surrounding myself with things, people and information that encourages and lifts me up.
Though relatively small changes in the long run, I find I have much more time now to enjoy life! I am less stressed, feeling less buried by stuff and less intimidated by my to-do lists. I encourage you to do an audit of where your time is going and find ways that work for you to take back your time, and your joy!
Have you made a change in 2018 that’s given you more free time? I’d love to hear your suggestions!