Managing the time
I was in town yesterday and thought I would drop off some fabric to a friend. Last week I was sorting through and putting away some and saved out some I knew she would like. We worked together for almost 8 years in the graphic design department. Well she was the main designer, I was the office manager who filled in designing when things were swamped. This was almost daily at the local printing company. Any way I got to know her very well and know she is as laid back as I am, nothing ruffles her feathers.
So I called to be sure she was home, she was and I told her my plans. Her answer was to me let me check my schedule…WHAT? when did that happen but more importantly WHY? I know she works from home and I also know she never did have a schedule. Now I was curious about the change and how she did it.
We had tea on her front porch and it was killing me to find out the details, so I finally had to ask. It turns out she was beginning to miss quite a few deadlines for some very important clients. Ah-ha that explains it. She had started letting her care free life take over her work life. Sometimes being able to shuffle your scheduleso freely can get you into trouble. It’s all about balance and things being given equal and just the right amount of time.
Now knowing her I thought it had to be some high-tech gadget…NOPE it is so simple it made me laugh out loud. It is brilliant! Post-it notes in several colors all in 7 neat little rows covered her work room wall. Every thing color coded, bits of work pinned up here and there and amongst all this are pressed flowers between sheets of wax paper pinned up too. I had to ask her what those were, she told me her “free or me time”. She told me to notice just after every large work deadline there was a flower and that is keeping her motivated. Way to go I just love the idea! We have had the hobby of pressing flowers and swapping for years. Sort of like ball card swapping only homemaker style.
I thought about my own life on the ride home and wondered what I was doing about schedules, I have a simple date book that all appointments go in and they are color coded, everyone has their own color. But what about my job as house keeper, cook, dish washer, barn manager, home schooler, record keeper and bill payer. Oh’ the list goes on…well actually there is no list.
I have a ring binder, it’s nothing fancy like some of the ones I see with beautiful pictures. Mine is old and has been around since I was a child in form or another. Oh the binder is newer but the inside is old and ever evolving. I’m sure you have read about them, there are many great posts about it. It helps me remember what is in our cupboards, pantry, freezer. What the seasonal chores will be, notes about gardening, cooking, preserving, recipes I want to try. Same old stuff.
What I don’t have written down but is stuck in my head is mostly the daily tasks I do each and every day. Things like making the bed, laundry, cooking, cleaning, ironing, gardening. These seem to fall into routine, they are the rhythm of my life. A beautiful routine I am so happy to be doing every day I don’t give them a second thought. I always make the beds first thing in the morning and take something out for dinner and lunch. But what about the laundry? What if it’s raining the day I want to hang it out? Well I just don’t do it and change that time to do inside work, doesn’t matter what, just something I have been wanting to do.
I seem to make mental notes to myself and make a plan of action. On the way to putting the school work away for the night I notice the seedlings will need replanting soon. Putting laundry in the dressers I notice they are getting a bit full and need sorting through. On my way to bring scraps to the compost I notice that fence is a bit loose and needs tending to. And so this is how things go for me. So when I have a chance I will go back and work on all the little things I noticed through out my day. That is my daily schedule, and should a friend want to stop for tea, I don’t have to check anything I know I’m home and have time because there are always pressed flowers handy to cash in at any given moment.
Bigger projects do take planning but I am thinking about them way before it’s time. I know that this Friday I will need to deliver 24 whoopie pies to the local church for their bake sale I said I would help with. Oh’ but wait Friday is the second to last Friday of the month, the day I pay bills. No problem I will do bills first then cooking. I know that come September I want to plant garlic, so I will be thinking and looking how and where to purchase these. I know this fall will also be the time to do a big cleaning of the barn and when I see something it will go into a box for give away or replace. I know in my mind that one on the horses is down to only 3 halters and 2 need replacing. I will look for new ones in my travels.
So my plan of action (action is the key word here) Usually my day starts around 5am and I am in bed by 9pm.
- Make the beds, wash up and get dressed. (Dick is already gone by 4am this time of year.)
- Get Daisy up, washed up and dressed for the day.
- Stock up her back pack with fresh change of clothes, her pull ups, her lunch and schedule.
- Check the fridge for leftovers, and produce that needs using and decide on something for lunch and tonight’s dinner.
- Put the lunches in their bags for those taking a lunch today.
- Make and eat breakfast.
- Put a load of laundry in the machine.
- Check the incubator temp. water and turn eggs.
- Barn chores (horses and chickens) feed & water, let out and clean barn.
- Take Daisy to pre-school.
- Stop at store just down the road for Dick’s newspaper he asked for today.
- Hang the laundry.
- Clean kitchen and sweep floors.
- Check day’s e-mail and work on post while lunch is cooking.
- Clean kitchen.
- Check on chickens and horses, refill water buckets and feed.
- Re-pot seedlings and water the rest.
- Check incubator.
- Clean bathrooms.
- Take laundry down, fold and put away.
- Pick Daisy up from school.
- Play in sandbox and ride bike.
- Work on school work. Today is setting up chart to care for the new eggs in incubator.
- Clean up.
- Fix Dinner and set the table. Eat Dinner. While Dinner is cooking I make lunches for the next day.
- Bath time for Daisy and ready for bed. Her nightly routine also includes a story and rocking in the rocking chair. Daisy to bed.
- Clean up kitchen.
- Quiet time with husband and talk about the day and plans for tomorrow.
- Put away the horses and chickens. Horses in barn, fed and watered, brushed down, hooves picked out and mane and tail combed. A kiss on the nose. Chickens fed and watered and brought inside for the night. A scratch under their wing. No I’m not kissing a chicken….:)
- Check on garden (most are just seedling at the moment so not much work there just yet.)
- Check incubator, turn eggs.
- One final check on animals. Gates and stall doors closed and locked, light all out, smoke alarm working. Give Mumma kitty some more hugs and kisses.
- Quick clean up of day’s messes. Trip to the compost pile and newspaper into recycle bin.
- Get ready for bed.
- Tea and quiet time/craft time.
Can you see that something is being done most of the day. That blocks of time are just for doing my routines yet there is time in there for unexpected activities.
Working and living from home can be a challenge many times, it sure is for me. Don’t get uptight about it, just keep moving things around until they all fit comfortable and you can do each task with care and thought and do each task the best you can. It makes no sense to spend time weeding the garden and only pulling out a few, you will be right back there sooner than if you take the time to pull them all and do something about them growing back. A big part of this lifestyle is enjoying what you are doing, each and every task right down to taking out the trash. Just remember on the way back you can stop and pick the flowers too.
You have to do what works for you and I bet you won’t find the perfect way the very first time. Just keep trying new ideas and watching to see what works for others. This journey can get pretty interesting if you take the time to see it.
Tomorrow will be much the same only I will switch out laundry for bread/dessert baking. I’ll switch out bathroom cleaning for sorting through clothes and bringing the usable ones to the second hand shop next time I go to town. Put some in the rag basket, save the buttons and zippers. Save some for the material for sewing projects.
Occasionally I don’t schedule anything for the day and take time off, to do only things that are absolutely necessary like caring for the animals or fixing meals. These are also family days to do fun things.
Hope you all have your schedules full of good things this week and you take time to enjoy things you like. I love to hear about such things, take the time to leave a comment and share how your day went. I hope it was a good one.