You’re singing that song in your head right now, aren’t you?
I do love me some Steve Miller Band. It takes me back to my younger, skinnier, bigger-hair days when everything seemed to move a lot more slowly–before I ever heard of time management.
I was a teacher for 29 years. My schedule was so regimented all those years that I had no choice but to manage my time well. Now that I’m retired…not so much.
Many days I feel like a chicken with its head cut off. I start one thing, move to something else, get distracted, go back to the first thing, get distracted again, forget what I was doing…and then realize the day is gone and I haven’t accomplished squat.
For years I was a slave to my day planner. I couldn’t function without it and made lists each night for the following day. I got a lot of satisfaction out of checking off each item as I got it done, but I also felt some guilt if I wasn’t able to make that check mark next to each item.
So I don’t do that anymore. I still make lists sometimes, but in my old age I have realized what works best for me is to ask God every morning before I get up to help me to get accomplished what I need to for the day. Some days I get a lot done; some days I don’t. I try not to worry too much about it.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t acknowledge I could still manage my time better. This is what I’ve discovered helps me with that.
I have a morning routine. I’ll never go back to the rigid minute-by-minute schedule of my teaching days but I do need a little structure, especially at the start of my day.
For starters, I get dressed before I ever leave my bedroom each morning. I’d like to say I do my hair and make-up immediately because when I do, I always feel better. But that doesn’t typically happen. Sometimes I wonder how I managed all those years to get myself ready and out the door for school forty-five minutes after I woke up. It’s a mystery.
I also try to make my bed right after I get dressed. I would never have dreamed of leaving my bed unmade back when I was teaching. Actually, it did happen a few times and it bothered me all day knowing I hadn’t done it.
Yes, I know the bed will only get messed up again, but if you follow that logic then what’s the point of shaving your legs? Or taking a bath? A made bed just makes the room look better and gives me a small sense of accomplishment at the start of the day.
After I feed my dogs, I fill my Scentsy warmers every morning with–believe it or not–Fabuloso. It’s way cheaper than the Scentsy wax and it works great. Plus it makes me feel like I have a clean house even if I don’t.
Speaking of a clean house…I like to clean. Always have. But with so much going on (who knew I could be so busy once I retired?), I tend to let things go longer because I don’t follow a regular cleaning schedule like I used to. Now I do things a little differently.
I clean to clear my mind. When I’m feeling frustrated because I can’t seem to finish something or see the end product, I will stop and clean something. It takes almost no time to scour the kitchen sink or wipe down a bathroom counter top. Those are quick tasks with tangible results.
Vacuuming a room is also almost instant gratification and the results last at least a day or two, even with my three dogs who shed like crazy sometimes. Mowing the yard is even more gratifying. It takes longer than vacuuming but lasts longer too.
I utilize the timer on my phone. If I’m having one of those what-the-heck-did-I even-do-today days, I will sometimes set the timer and as fast as I can do as much as I can.
The last time I tried this, I was amazed. In thirty minutes, I vacuumed and dusted three rooms, put up two loads of laundry, started another, wiped down both bathrooms, emptied all the trashcans, and unloaded the dishwasher. In thirty minutes. I was basically sprinting through the house, but that just meant I got in a little exercise at the same time.
I recognize that technology is a real time sucker. I can walk through the living room on my way to do something constructive and end up channel surfing and getting pulled into something completely stupid on tv.
That fifteen minutes spent watching some spoiled rotten, foul-mouthed Real Housewives of Somewhere fight with each other is time I’ll never get back. That episode of Property Brothers that I have seen three times already is also a waste of time. What I think will be five minutes scrolling through Instagram turns into twenty. You get the picture.
I drop everything and re-focus. That usually means some time in the war room I made from an empty closet in my house. What happens is there is more important than anything else I could be doing anyway.
If you read Jesus Calling, have you ever wondered if the pages get switched around while you’re sleeping? This is for June 21, the day I’m finalized this blog post. I’d call that ironic–except that I know it isn’t.
Managing my time is a constant battle, but I’ll keep on trying because time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’…into the future.