But I am not discouraged. There’s got to be a way to seamlessly integrate my two lives: writer/editor and mommy/wife. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 12 years, you’d think I’d have the hang of it by now. Reminds me of when I had my third child, Jack, and I thought, “Man, this is going to be a cinch!” Boy, was I wrong…
Laura Vanderkam, a New York-based writer and the author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, May 27, 2010), offered the following 5 tips to get me started on my road to a better time-managed me.
- “Log your time for a week,” Laura says. “Most of us have absolutely no idea where the time goes. A week has 168 hours. Do you know how many you’re working? sleeping? playing with your kids? watching TV?” I’ll tell you now… Watching TV and puttering around on Facebook are my biggest time sucks. And I don’t even have a farm!
- “Spend as many hours as possible focused on the three things you probably do best (and which other people can’t do as well): nurturing your career, nurturing your family, nurturing yourself,” Laura says. “That last one means things like getting enough sleep, exercising, and engaging in passions such as volunteering, religious activities, etc.” I’m okay there.
- “Spend as few hours as possible on anything else: housework, TV, errands, puttering, pointless email checking,” Laura says, adding that these are “low value” activities that will expand to fill available space if you’re not careful. Love it! As it says on my fridge, “A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.” However, I am definitely a slave to my email. Bordering on OCD.
- “Don’t try to do too much. Better to aim to finish 3 important things, and do it, than to aim for 10 and give up.” Guilty, as charged. Must… focus…
- “Train yourself to figure out exactly how long things take. That way you can put them into your schedule realistically,” she says. “For instance, exactly how long does it take you to shower? To get to work? To prepare dinner?” Oh, please, let me have my showers! I don’t take 3-minute, Jennifer Aniston showers. Al Gore would be banging down my door if I divulged the truth.
I think Laura’s right. There’s a lot of time that I can use more wisely. There’s 168 hours in a week, after all! Tomorrow, I am going to start logging my time and see what I uncover.