My last post talked about technology & taking the time to learn it. Time is always a hot topic in our culture. We’re always busy doing this or that.
At some point it was ingrained in us that being busy constantly is a good thing. I hear people all the time say, “I just don’t have time for that.” Especially when it comes to learning something new (like technology!).
I’m guilty of it too. I’m going to help you reduce time suckers so you can focus on more important things like ‘you’ time, or professional development, or whatever it is you want.
One of my strengths is I am extremely efficient when shit needs to get done. I will focus in & just do it, & I will do it well. Sounds cocky right? But seriously…if we don’t recognize & acknowledge our strengths, who will?
I wasn’t born an efficient little being. It took years to get this way. I can still squirrel out like no one’s business, but essentially, I’m on it. I actively practice efficiency because I want to take time for myself, which as a mom, is typically seen as selfish or lazy in our twisted little society.
Let’s cut the crap…why should we always put ourselves last? We shouldn’t. If I don’t get ‘me’ time to do the things I want to do, I’m kind of miserable. And who wants a miserable cranky mom? Not I, said the children. But I digress.
We all have the same amount of time in a day. Yes, we all have different obligations & a lot of us have other little humans that require us to keep them alive. I’m not downplaying our responsibilities or commitments.
But there are a lot of little things throughout our day that can be time suckers & they can add up quite quickly without us even knowing it. So we’re all going to actively work on efficiency.
If we listed out our daily duties, we’d be here all day. We’re going to do an exercise. I want you to think about your major day-to-day responsibilities that absolutely must get accomplished, or shit will fall apart. I mean truly fall to pieces. I’ll go first…
Kids, animals, work.
Looks like a short list, right? Let’s break it down.
Kids: My kids are 7 & 9. They need to be fed, watered, loved, & shipped off to school every day. If I don’t feed & water them, well, they’ll fall apart.
They also have extracurriculars. My kids are both in chess club & piano. One does coding classes, the other does gymnastics. They obviously can’t drive so they need to be shuttled around to all this stuff.
Animals: We have a dog & a fish. They too, like my little humans, need to be fed & watered & loved. Luckily, they don’t have any hobbies.
Work: I’m an entrepreneur. I own 2 companies & have a podcast. As such, a regular 9-5 doesn’t exist. If I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done & my businesses will fall apart.
These lists are quite summed up. We all know that in each of my categories, there are a million other little things that need to get done.
Some things I didn’t list: dishes, laundry, house cleaning, outside chores, making meals, helping/checking homework, family time, spouse time. The list could go on & on.
Now that you’ve made a list & given yourself anxiety, I want you to sit back, take a deep breath, & let it simmer for a minute. Do you feel that you do most of it? If so, why? Why are you doing all of this, especially if you have a partner?
I’m lucky to have a partner in all this. Do I do more than him when it comes to household chores & the kids? I’m not keeping track. It’s not a competition. When shit needs to get done I either DO it or I delegate it.
Of course, there are plenty of things that get done that I don’t ever touch & vice versa. Nothing is ever equal. Over the years I’ve learned to pick my battles. I don’t fuss over how the dishwasher is loaded. Did dishes get cleared & cleaned? Yup? Great.
DELEGATE THAT SHIT. Sometimes we assume our partner knows what needs to be done. Sometimes we want them to just do stuff & not have to ask. If you’ve never talked about it, or let them know it exists because you’ve just taken care of it every single time, why would they know? YOU decide where your energy goes, and frankly, resentment can be a huge energy taker.
Split up the extra curriculars if you can. Have a shared calendar. There is no skill involved in dropping a kid off somewhere. They will work it out.
Split up meals. Maybe you alternate every other week for dinners & grocery shopping. Not your week? Don’t worry about it. Take it off your plate (no pun intended).
Split up homework. Each of you take a kid, divide & conquer.
I’m making this sound simple. I know it’s not & takes practice. Easier said than done, right? If you truly want to free up some time & stress, you can make it happen. It’s a conversation to have. Be open to discussions about household duties. Don’t guilt. Don’t be a dick. Pretend you’re divvying up projects at work.
Who else can you delegate to? I’ll tell you what…most kids are capable of a lot. They can fold their own clothes & put them away. They can put dishes in the sink/dishwasher. They can feed the animals. They can clean up their toys. They can help cook. They can get their own damn snacks. They. Can. Do. It. We have to be on them for awhile until they do it automatically, but we’re repeating ourselves all day anyway, we might as well make it productive.
Just remember, don’t sweat the small stuff. My house isn’t tidy all the time. I gave up years ago. I don’t apologize when people come by & my kid’s toys are on the stairs where they play, or on the floor in their playroom. My house is lived in. It’s sanitary, but it’s definitely lived in.
And lastly, can you afford a housecleaner? If you can, HIRE ONE NOW. It’s worth every penny. If you can’t, can you trade services with one?
I’ll say it again, ladies & gentlemen…DELEGATE THAT SHIT.
Moving on to unimportant time suckers in our lives. One of the major ones is social media. Facebook & Instagram & Reddit & TikTok & Twitter & good god, there are a lot. I’m not judging. I’m on half of these. We all know how easy it is to get sucked into videos & things in our newsfeed.
I had a conversation with someone a while ago about online professional development workshops & she told me she had no time. This gave me much thought (and prompted this blog subject) because she is all over the place on social media, not just for work, all day long. If we added up all these distractions, I bet she could squeeze in a workshop or two.
It’s so easy to get distracted with all our fun phone pings. They make us feel important. Plain & simple, they are distractions.
So how do we cut this down?
Facebook has this handy little daily reminder that you can set. You can see how much time you spend on there a day. I urge you to look at this. Take that daily number & do the math. How much time do you spend on FB a week? A month? A year? It might shock you. (See below for directions to this handy tool!)
I use Facebook a ton for my businesses. It’s easy to get distracted by people’s posts. I have my daily reminder set to 30 minutes. When I hit that, I get a pop up on my screen. I figure 30 minutes is more than enough time to do what needs to be done for my businesses & check my newsfeed real quick. I rarely get that pop up but when I do, I get off. We must make sure to follow our own rules though.
I don’t know if the other socials have this option. But again, make some rules for yourself. I love some TikTok nonsense; it makes me laugh. I only go on it when I’m waiting for the kids to get out of school (so maybe 10 minutes) while in the parking lot. Sometimes at night I’ll go on it with my daughter to watch some fun dances, but again, I keep it to 10 minutes.
Create some rules & stick to them. Also, maybe turn notifications OFF. GASP! Listen, the world won’t fall apart if you don’t respond to someone’s comment right away. Pick a time during the day where you check & answer these things & be done with it.
Another huge time sucker is phone games. I’m totally down with mind exercises to stay sharp & to take a break. But are they sucking your time? I asked the three most efficient people I know in my life, without any explanation as to why I was asking, “how many games do you have on your phone & how often do you play them?” Two of them had none. The third person said they have one game but play it rarely. Food for thought, my friends.
There is a big difference between doing something to take a break & doing something that is continually sucking away your time. If you pop on the socials for 10 minutes during your lunch, you’re taking a break. If you pop on your socials every time you get a notification or staying on it for longer than 10-15 minutes, it’s SUCKING your time.
It’s ultimately up to you what you want and need to do with your time. What we focus on grows. Do you have something that you really want to dedicate the time to? Look for those time suckers in your day & kick them to the curb.
Another helpful tool is time blocking. Those of us that are easily distracted (squirrel!) need a little extra help staying focused, and that’s okay. Get yourself a time blocking planner and commit yourself to using it.
I remember a few years ago seeing a post somewhere about time & excuses. It was a picture of a very fit woman surrounded by, I think, 3 or 4 kids. It had the caption, “What’s your excuse?” I loved her message. But, phew, the comments. She was getting ripped to shreds by other women saying things like, “It must be nice to have a personal trainer & nanny to raise your kids.” They were relentless. But they were validating her point. She had no personal trainer. She had no nanny. She just found the time. Her message was clear. If she, an everyday woman like the rest of us could do it, then so can we.
It takes 21 days to start a habit, 3 months to find your groove, 6 months to lock it in, 1 year to crave it, and 2 years for it to be a part of your identity.
You can put time into YOU! I know you can. You kickass every day.
Facebook Timer Tool:
Click on your profile at the top menu, next to notifications symbol.
Scroll down to the bottom where you will see Community resources, Help & support, Settings & privacy, & Also from Meta.
Click Settings & privacy.
Click Your Time on Facebook.
Here you can See Your Time, Manage Your Time, etc.
Set a Daily Time Reminder!
You can even get a weekly update telling you how you’re managing your time on FB.
Okay, now GET OFF.