I was going to start this post with a quick run down of my routine, but then I realised how ironic it would be to speak about how busy we all are and take up your time with information that does nothing to help you.
So instead, let’s cut to the chase. We all need to find an extra hour in the day and this is what I do to find mine –
- Get a calendar. At the start of each year, I find a printable A3 calendar (one month to a page) online. I like to have control over the size, layout and paper and I find the variety online is better than in store. Although this probably provides an insight into my slightly obsessive nature, I just can’t stand paper that doesn’t hold ink well or isn’t appropriately sized. Use whatever calendar you’re comfortable with and stick it somewhere that is in view. There’s no point filling out a calendar if you never reference it.
Midway through each month, I begin to turn my eye to the next. I start to populate the month with standard items, bills, pay days etc. By the time the month begins, the only things to put in are last minute plans.
- Use colour. I colour code important events or general whereabouts of key people in my life. I highlight when Bella is away from home (parenting arrangements or sleepovers at the grandparents), I highlight public holidays, study-relevant information, when the boyfriend has his kids and when key people are away. The idea of a comprehensive calendar is to clear space in my mind.
- Transfer this information to something portable. As I begin to populate my calendar, I transfer the information to my planner. It may seem repetitive to some, but I need to have this information on me too. Keeping my planner in my hand bag means I can reference it should I need to throughout the day. I’m very much a paper person and absolutely hate relying on my phone but if using the calendar on your phone suits you, go for it. I am a big fan of the Kikki K financial year planners – I will be moving to this one from June 30 – I just love its layout.
- Create a ‘light’ routine for each week. Everyone knows what days they work (casual workers excluded, of course). Try to fit your tasks around that and keep them pretty standard day-by-day. Have a washing day, a day to do your ironing, a day for groceries, gym days etc. Remove the need to think. This doesn’t mean you should live your life on autopilot but it does mean that you can be comfortable knowing that you will get around to things but it doesn’t have to be right now. You can include fun things in your routine too – we keep Saturday as Bella’s day. We go to her dance class in the morning and I let her decide what we do after. Whether its a day at the zoo with friends, spending time at the park, an ice cream date, baking cupcakes or a day of rest – I leave it up to her and keep all of ‘mummy’s errands’ for the other 6 days.
- Never underestimate the use of GPS. Whenever I’m going somewhere new, or even somewhere old, I put it into my GPS. Even if you know the way, it’s good to check if you can cut time wasted in the car.
- Use what is given to you. I was just saying how I’m much more of a paper person, however there are times when I definitely prefer using my phone. Download and use apps that are designed to help make your life easier. One of my most used apps is my grocery store’s. They filter through the weekly specials and provide you a list based on previous purchases. As I often repurchase things, I can select what I’ve just used up and add it to my shopping list so it’s ready to go whenever I plan to shop. I am also an avid user of the Reminders and Notepad apps.
- Carry around a notebook. Use the notebook to write down whatever you need to (if you prefer your phone, you can type things in there if you wish). Use it to jot down random thoughts or ideas to clear space in your mind. For me, I can become consumed with thoughts or bright ideas so writing them down helps remove distractions or unhelpful emotions that interfere with living in that moment. I then revisit them when I have time.
- Don’t be afraid to outsource and delegate. Something has to be said about spreading the load that is life. Don’t be afraid to utilise online shopping as a way to cut back on errands, choose click and collect if you don’t want to spend money on delivery, hire a cleaner to clean your house or get to those tasks you just can’t find time to do, find ways to lessen your load so you have more time to enjoy your life.
We do have time to get everything done that we need to, you just have to try hard enough but the real question is – do you want to? I am extremely aware of bathroom chemicals and Bella being around breathing them in when I use them so I try to do things when she’s out of the house. However, the reality is, when she is out of the house, there are a million other things that I actually want to do and my bathroom is neglected. So for me, it’s okay to delegate that task and hire someone to take care of it for me.
- Finish a task before starting a new one. One of my worst habits is half doing a job around the house (half folding the washing, only emptying the dishwasher instead of cleaning the whole kitchen etc.) this causes a build up and mess everywhere. I’ve been trying to focus on completing one task at a time and notice the difference – both in my space and also with the less time it takes.
- Prioritise your focus. As I write this blog post I see that my kitchen needs a tidy and the floors need a vacuum but rather than spreading my focus on blogging and cleaning, I am ignoring the kitchen and floors for now and allowing my focus to stay here with me and this post. As much as I love posting content to help you, this blog is still very much for me. It’s a way to reach out and connect with people that I wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to. So, while it easy to acknowledge a clean house is a priority of mine, it doesn’t have to take precedence over things that bring me joy. You don’t have to either.
Tell me what your tips and tricks are for finding extra time in the day.