I‘ve had a number of people write me from this blog lately, asking me how I get things done. I’m guessing the subtle message to their questions is that it seems like I get a lot done.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons
I’m happy to say that being very intentional about how I manage time has increased my productivity ten-fold. However, life is life, and I still don’t get everything done on my list. I’ve got two very small children, and as you all know, no two days are the same with preschoolers! I also live in a very event-oriented culture (as opposed to time-oriented, like the U.S.), so in some ways, that makes getting things done an uphill battle.
However, just to ease some curiosity, I’ll explain a typical day for me. Keep in mind, though, that I very rarely have typical days, and this seems to change month-by-month, since there’s a baby in the house.
• 6:00-6:30 – Wake up (if I get to bed on time the night before)
• 6:30-8:00ish – Alone time. This is when I have my coffee, read my Bible, pray, check e-mail, moderate blog comments, and possibly write posts for my blogs. I’m also trying to incorporate working out here, as this really is my best time of day for it.
• 8:00-9:00 – Kids and hubby wake up, I make breakfast, we get ready for the day.
• 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. – I’m on the full-time Mommy and homemaker clock. I clean, cook, take kids to the park, make lunch, read stories, put the baby down for a nap, go to the grocery store, put out fires. Much like most of you, I assume. A few days a week, a university student comes to the house and helps me learn language. (At this time, my husband takes the kids, and I get house stuff done in the afternoon or evening.)
• 2:00ish – Both kids are down for naps or quiet times (please Lord!). I get on the computer and e-mail, blog, manage accounts, work on graphic design projects, study language using Rosetta Stone – whatever I need to do on the computer. I also might start working out here, if it just isn’t happening in the morning.
• 6:00 – Dinner time, family time, down time. We try to make this relaxing and leisurely – these days we’ve been eating outside on our balcony to enjoy the spring weather.
• 7:00-8:30ish – Get the kids bathed and in bed.
• 8:30-10:30 – Clean, sew, e-mail, watch a movie with my hubby, whatever needs to get done.
• 10:30 – bed!
Keep in mind that this is ideal for me, and this doesn’t explain those days where we have appointments, meetings, or get-togethers with friends. And more often than not, the baby doesn’t exactly take a nap at 2, or the 3-year-old isn’t cooperating for her bed time. A neighbor knocks on the door at 4 p.m. Life happens, in other words.
And because this is such a people and event-oriented culture, it’s customary to throw your to-do list out the window for the sake of relationships. That means you stay up until midnight with your neighbors, or you plan to stay three hours for tea at your friend’s house. Believe you me, that’s taken a lot of dying to self and practice for us Americans.
It’s also a late-night culture, so it’s a struggle for me as an Early Bird to flow with this. I do, though. It’s typical to go to someone’s house for tea at 9 p.m. When we visit with our neighbors over dinner, we can sometimes be there for five hours.
However, I still plan my day around getting most of my energy-spending tasks done in the morning, because that’s when I have most of my energy. I purposely spend time on the computer in the afternoons, when my energy is lowest. I’d rather sit than move around the house. Then my energy picks up a bit around dinner time, and stays higher until bedtime (hence my struggle with going to bed on time!). My best time of day, however, is the morning.
I’m blessed that my husband works from home. This means that while he’s working on the computer, I can have him hold the baby when the three-year-old is flooding the bath. I do my best to leave him to his work, but he’s flexible and willing when I need another set of hands for a few minutes. What a blessing is that, huh?
So there you have it. Right now I’m truly enjoying finding new, practical ways to maximize time and figuring out how the whole Getting Things Done concept could apply to a home manager. I’ll try an idea out, and if it’s working for the better in my life, I’ll share it here.
Does this look at all like your day? I’m curious.