Saturday, September 15, 2007

Time Management: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Where do I find the time to do it all? Well, it can be safe to say that not everything gets done all the time. If I really concerned myself with the proper way to accomplish everything that SHOULD be done, then when would I have the time to do things I enjoy?

My mother once said something to me that influenced my home life greatly. After the birth of my second son, she came and spent a week helping me out. She cooked meals and entertained my oldest son and her parting words to me were, " I didn't wash your kitchen floor, but played with your son, the floor can wait. Remember that."
In managing my time at home, my family come first and the house comes second. My house will never make it into any magazine spread due to the shoes, books and projects cluttered on the surfaces. However, the house is kept clean, meals are made most of the time and we are on the sidelines, audience or finish line for all of our sons.

Presently I work 24 -32 hours a week in a sales/marketing position for a hospital laboratory. To manage my time at work, I use my computer at home to read my emails. If there are simple questions that I can answer from home, I take care of those emails. The time it takes to respond from home, gives me more time at work to handle complex problems/projects that need to be taken care of at the lab.

To manage the search for phone numbers and contacts, at work, I print off my day schedules in the beginning of the week and use these papers to keep track of phone calls and contacts. At the end of the week, I file the information in a notebook by date. These sheets also have my to do list printed on it automatically so I have those tasks in my view until they are done. I am also getting better about adding all the contact information in my on line address for non-hospital contacts.

Then there is the food shopping that needs to take place weekly which isn't on my top list of favorite activities. Yet my husband and I have managed to work the shopping around other trips we have to take. On my husband's commute home, he goes right by BJs where he picks up the items that we go through quickly with boys in the house, like gatorade, milk, bread and snacks. He buys hamburgers in bulk and we individually wrap and freeze them. Owning a freezer is huge when it comes to time management and teenagers in the house! To manage the time involved in shopping and meal preparation, I also have an idea of what the meals will be for the week. The night before, I will take out what I need from the freezer.

For me to go food shopping it's a 15 minute drive to the nearest grocery store and if we have to go to "town" to get anything, my husband and I always check with each other to find out what we may need. There is nothing I hate more than to come home from food shopping to find out that I forgot something. When I am really ambitious I will have a running list in the kitchen for me to jot items down when I have to go out.

When I was teaching and had three boys living at home, my
Palm PDA kept me sane. I had to have something to keep all my telephone numbers and appointments with me. Even now I use it to sync with my work calendar to have a handy reference to where I need to be. Seriously, without it, I would be wasting time looking for account numbers, telephone numbers and appointment cards.

Basically for me to manage time, it takes communication with my husband, a freezer, my Palm and a laid back attitude. I don't sweat the small stuff and I make time for my family.

Submitted to the Group Writing Project on Time Management at Inspiration Bit


  1. My time management skills aren't so great at home. I would rather do something with the boys than clean. My house isn't a pig sty, but we do live here, and mine will never be in a magazine either.

  2. May I give the single woman's perspective? I do it all, because I have to. There's no one else. I work hard Monday through Friday (or Saturday or Sunday, depending on deadlines). I'm not ploughing the back 40, so my work is not physically taxing, but because my job is so deadline-driven, there's almost always a certain amount of stress involved. Sometimes when I get home, the only domestic chores I have energy for are sorting the mail and washing my dishes. Because I don't have a husband, or a teenager with a driver's license (I have two friends whose sons have suddenly become eager to go to the grocery shopping or take a trip to Target if it means more time behind the wheel), it all falls on me. Post office, bank, dry cleaner, vet, grocery store, housecleaning, laundry ... That's the bad part of living alone. The good part is that me, myself and I all agree when it comes to which heinous chores will be set aside for the movies, or blogging, or reading ... the stuff that feeds my soul is more important than vacuuming under the sofa. (Plus I bet it's scary down there.)

    Which is all my verbose way of saying I salute you and Toni (above) for not sweating the small stuff. In the scheme of things, it's better to do what rejuvenates you.

  3. Jenny, thanks for your entry. You and the two gals above me made me feel a bit better about the fact that my house is not going to be featured in any magazine either. I do feel guilty sometimes and tell myself that next weekend, I'll clean this entire apt. But the weekend comes and I'm out with my daughter, and then too tired and have too many of other things to take care of, and the house cleaning promise shifts to yet another week.

  4. My time management is okay right now, I think. My girl get taken care of and the housework doesn't fall down too much. Usually on the weekends I clean my house a little more carefully. During the week, I do as much as I can every day before I go to work. The house stays in pretty good shape but by Friday, it is needing the big cleaning for the weekend again.

  5. One Gal- I bet some envy you and then others realize that there is a price to pay for being the only one responsible. At least when my husband traveled, he was home on the weekend and I started getting the kids involved more.

    Toni- I think it has something to do with the energy of boys living in a house!

    Pearl- Thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to reading other posts.

    Cinderella- I bet the Princess will be able to do more to help around the house to make it easier for you. I used to make it a game of choices for my kids when they were younger.

  6. My house is never spotless either - we may try before company comes over but with 2 teens it never lasts long.

    I've getting to the point where I need to make a list before I go to the store - I seem to draw a blank as soon as I enter the store and I look at the DH and ask 'what are we here for again?' how sad is that?

    Do you do meal planning? I try some but just so that we have the right groceries in the house as we get paid monthly and shop for the big stuff once a month.


Any thoughts or musings of your own to add?