When I first realised that I needed to make changes in my life I had no idea where to start. My days were so so crowded that I was paralysed by the enormity of finding time to look after myself, let alone to make time for a creative outlet. I got out my coloured niko pens (of course I did, I’m the stationery queen) and my big brainstorming sketchpad (sadly, this was quickly confiscated by my kids) and jotted down ideas to save time on various household tasks. The exercise gave me a few small steps in the right direction.
This year, I did an end of year review , which reminded me of areas in my life that could use some tweaking. This exercise can be done any time really, but I was planning for 2017 so it was timely to review where I enjoyed spending my time and to reflect on my personal growth this year. Keep reading, to find how you can use the workbook to help you find more time for the things you love.
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Here’s what I did after my review:
- I looked at the things that weren’t working for me or I wanted to spend less time on – spending endless periods of time scrolling through Facebook “researching” for my blog (procrastinating!), my procrastination problem, the cluttered state of my home (this is something I’ve written about a lot – if you relate to this, here’s a few other posts that might interest you…)
- brainstormed some solutions to spend less time on those things.
- I looked at the things I want to spend more time on, using the timesaving from step 2.
I will need to stick to my new rules if I want to create the space to spend more time on those things. That in itself SHOULD be good motivation (disclaimer: I’m EXCELLENT at making plans. Unfortunately I have a history of not following through on said excellent plans…)
Let’s work through a few examples.
- Social media: I’m easily distracted as a general rule, so social media is a major time suck for me. Before I started my blog, I cut social media right out of my life, but if I want anyone to read what I’m writing I have to be on social media. So I’ve come up with a few systems around social media. I only use pinterest while the kids are watching their night-time TV. If I want the kids to go to bed on time (believe me – I ALWAYS want that!) I bid a sad farewell Pinterest and organise toothbrushes, nag about going to the toilet, get drink bottles of cold water (that never get drunk but are apparently very important to have at bedtime according to my kids) and so on. For Facebook – set a timer, I can schedule sharing my blog posts to Facebook and pop in for a set period but I I need to set a time limit before entering the Facebook world. (If you are a blogger and you want my tips about being strategic with social media, read this post)
- I procrastinate on making decisions: I have my lovely big Kikki K family calendar so I will set a date that action needs to be taken by and put it in the family calendar. The benefit of putting it in the family calendar is Mr Busy Bee will see it and my guilt will spur me into action when he says, “do we need to organise that Bee?” (You can read about how my Kikki K calendar is used to keep my papers in order in this post.)
- Housework and clutter: the bane of my existence. This year I decluttered like a mad woman and I’m happy to say there are a couple of cupboards in the house now that are systematised and some even have a spare shelf. This is big progress from last year. What still remains to be done is organising toys and bedrooms, I really want some good systems there. Have you got tips for me? Honestly, I really want your tips because this is not my strong point.
- Getting up early: I realised that I’m much nicer if I have half an hour or so to myself before the kids get up. I find it really difficult to start my day with arguments about how to make a bowl of rice bubbles (answer: the orange bowl, rice bubbles then milk then honey. Honey must be a skinny snake, not a blob. The spoon must be the free spongebob square pants spoon that came in a box of rice bubbles – clearly it was intended to be a rice bubble spoon). Unfortunately, Captain Destroyer is an early bird of the highest order, he often gets up at 5.30 so if I want any chance of time to myself I need to get up around 5.15. I also know that I’m much nicer if I get enough sleep. You can see that the late night Facebook scrolling issue causes a problem here! Now that I have my fitbit, I have an alarm set for 9.00pm that reminds me to step away from the computer and get ready for bed.
Things that work for me, that I want to spend more time on:
- Hanging out with Mr Busy Bee: I love the nights that Mr Busy Bee and I hang out together watching TV and gossiping about the characters (we have examined the characters of walking dead, game of thrones and many others in great details if you need our thoughts in order to feel that your life is complete). I work on my blog in the narrow window window time between the kids going to bed, getting the jobs down, having a shower and my early bedtime, so our TV and gossip session don’t happen often enough now. New plan: Set periods of time for blogging and a night off each week with no computer every week. To do this I will need to get very clear about where I want to spend my time with my blog – this probably doesn’t include spending an hour scrolling through Facebook every night!
- Seeing my friends: I haven’t spent a lot of time with my friends this year, but some of my best days this year were hanging out with friends. I love having friends over for dinner and watching the kids play, but I need to organise these things ahead of time. I recently heard someone say that If you keep doing things the way you did before you had kids, it won’t work. This is definitely true for me in terms of my social life. I don’t tend to plan my weekend in advance so here’s what happens:
*Saturday rolls around and I decide it would be nice to have a friend around to share that lasagne I’m making
*phone a friend and invite them over for lasagne
*friend misses the phone call because the kids are screaming or they are having dinner with parents
*Delicious lasagne consumed with my own screaming children and no friends to commiserate 🙁
I need to plan it in advance – call a friend and ask when they are free to come around. How do you manage your social life? Once again, this an area that I need some help with, so give me your tips.
Read more about the importance of your friends and community in this post.
I won’t bore you with every detail of my life, but I think you can see where I’m going with this. I hope you will try it and it gives you some small steps to help you start making the changes you want to see in your life. Hopefully it will help you to be BETTER THAN BUSY.
Let me know how you go with this exercise, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you want to see the workbook in use? Australian author and podcaster Kelly Exeter used this workbook to do her end of review. You can read her end of hear review on A Life Less Frantic here.
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