February 1, 2018 ~ So when I saw this picture I was totally shaking my head yes! I mean seriously, is it just me or has the past 32 days literally flown by?? I have been saying that I am going to slow down and enjoy every single day while not letting them fly past me but somehow I have failed. Brandon and I have been flying by the seat of our pants for years and it's been a blast, great memories were made and I wouldn't change any of it for the world but frankly I'm ready to chill out! I know y'all are like blah blah blah.... you will never slow down - but I really am trying to figure out how to put the brakes on a little more than in the past and set a few goals along the way.
They say the older you get the faster time flies....
It's crazy but it's so true! I remember being a kid and it seemed like summer lasted forever and as you get older it seemed like the weeks drug on yet the weekend went by quickly. Now I feel like the weeks go by so quickly and the weekends go by at the speed of light! I find myself looking at how quickly these past 32 days have went and yet try to remember where the past couple of years went.
So how in the world do you slow it down?
Great question... I don't have the perfect answer to this but for me it's about figuring out what is most important and then where your passions are. In some sort I guess you could call this "Time Management" and for me it's the following 4 items:
1. Family! Your family should come first and if they don't you need to change that. They are the ones that support you, love you and are there to listen when you need them. I respect people when they say they can't attend something because that is during a family event. I wish more people would say that because typically at the end of the day we are only spending a handful of hours with those that mean so much to us. Trying to find balance is certainly challenging but can be very rewarding when you find a routine that works for you. My family has decided that we will have one family meal each week and rotate houses between Mom and Dads, my Sister and her husband (and nephew) and our home. Sometimes we will figure out how to squeeze another night in at someone's house but it's something we look forward to each week!
2. Friends! Your friends are the next in line and I would say that you choose quality over quantity. Wouldn't you rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies? (My point is that we all have friends - many are business friends or friends we have made while being involved in organizations or met at your kids school but to have a core group of friends that that you can count on for anything at anytime - those are the ones you need to cherish and appreciate because they are rare) Friendships change over the years and while you often times don't get to see someone near as much as you would like you know that they are special and unique and you won't ever let them go but make time for those people.
3. Jobs! Our jobs would be third in line. For majority of us we have to work to support our households and to do the things we love and enjoy. Other than sleep our jobs might be the next biggest thing we spend our time doing. It can be rewarding yet frustrating at times and even owning your own business takes time to do daily tasks that keep things on track. When you are working you really need to give 100% daily and if you aren't happy then find something that will make you happy so you can give 100%. No job is ever perfect and even owning a business comes with it's own challenges but never just do the bare minimum - you have a stronger work ethic than that!
4. Organizations / Volunteer! The final item for me is organizations and volunteering - We all are passionate about something - Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Veterans, Senior Citizens, Children, etc. yet we only have so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. You can't run yourself into the ground trying to "do it all" so instead think about where you can make the most impact. Also, factor in how much of your time will be needed when getting involved in an organization. At one point I was too involved and the hard headed person that I am wasn't willing to say that I simply couldn't do it all. I finally made the choice to step away from certain organizations. Not because I didn't like them but rather because I wasn't able to give 100% to them and I now realize that it's OK to say "No". Now when I am asked to do something I will ask key questions then take a couple days to give them an answer. It's my way to be real with myself and not over commit my time or time with my family.
I am a visual person and for me it makes it easier to see what my week looks like. I am old school and use a Day Planner that I physically write in every day - I know y'all are like "Michele, we do live in a technologically savvy world full of smart devices that will keep a calendar and keep track of things for you". I'm over here like "Y'all just won't understand!" For me I like to turn the pages (like using my fingers) and seeing that I have 4 events coming up next week or 2 events in September that is like 7 months from now without worrying that something get erased or moved on accident. I just like simple things and for me this is simple and easy to use! Before I commit to anything I get to the office (I never take it from my office so I am not tied to it) and see what I already have planned then I can make a decision on if I want to make time to add it to my calendar or not. Remember that you are in charge of doing what makes you happy!
I would encourage you to print out something like this (or for you tech savvy people do a spreadsheet on the computer) and block off the time that you are busy getting kids ready for school or yourself ready for work, the hours that you are working, other activities like dance lessons or ball practice for your kiddos and dinner with the family/friends. Once you have all of that filled in then look at the spaces that don't have something filled in. It's eye opening when you figure out that there may only be an hour or two that isn't spoken for but before you fill it in with volunteer time think about filling it in for some much needed "Me" time or one-on-one time with your spouse/partner or your child. The biggest thing for me, is finding where I can add an extra hour or two to focus on being at home and spending time with family. It's hard and when you see what your life looks like from a visual standpoint then you start changing things. We only have one life to live and we have to take care of ourselves to help others - While you figure out where you have spare time in the course of a month think about penciling in some time for yourself say maybe 6 months down the road then you can look at getting involved in a volunteer activity that you have wanted to get involved in.
One other thing I do daily is write down the things I need to do each day in a small binder that stays open on the side of my desk so I always see it. Nothing big and something with lined pages. I do this Monday through Friday and it helps me to knock out my to-do list each day without fear of forgetting something. (I will be completely honest and tell you that my memory isn't what it used to be however I would write things on a post it note and forget where I put the dang thing) This way if there is something I need to remember to do on Thursday and it's Monday I can just add it to Thursday's to-do list and forget it! It feels so good to come to work knowing what my tasks are for the day and feels even better to cross them off as I get them done! Occasionally I don't get something done that day so I will highlight the item and transfer it to the next day and continue this process until I can cross it off! (Truth time... I had one project that I tried to push off for almost 2 weeks but finally just jumped in to get it done and cranked it out in no time at all - should have just done it when I originally put it on my to-do list!) I would highly recommend this for anyone who needs help staying on task and making sure you get things done in a timely manner!
Maybe you are already doing something like this and that's awesome! Maybe you want to start doing something like this and don't know where to start. Regardless just keep focusing on your goals and maybe something from this blog post will inspire you to change what you are doing or perhaps offer advice to help others. Whatever it is never give up and I hope you find a little extra time for you!