This week, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make the most of my time. I’ve been told again and again that I impress people with how much I am able to pack into my days. I do feel like I’m generally good about using my time well. I work. I train. I write. I’m in book clubs and breakfast clubs. As of last month, I host a writing group in my home. I keep up with people I love all across the country. I’m proud of all of these things, and I love doing them.
I’ve made some decisions recently to cut back on commitments, and I think that’s really helped me focus myself more. But there is always room for improvement. So how can I better use my time?
- No more new TV: I already watch General Hospital (do not judge me), Smash, Nashville, The Good Wife and The Voice. I record these shows and rarely get behind on them. I also often watch Glee and Ellen, but sometimes I’m watching them weeks after they happen, unlike my “A” list of shows that must be watched, more often than not, the very night I record them. I’d love to watch Downton Abby, especially given all the Facebook drama I see about it, but I simply can’t. I’d love to go back and watch Mad Men, Lost, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock or a host of other shows, but no. I am maxed out on television. Maybe I’ll catch these shows in recorded form seasons or years from now. But for now, no more new television for me.
- Spend More Time on Housecleaning: I find that I’m more productive at home if my space is well kept. If it’s cluttered, then I tend to want to sit on the bed and watch television. But if I can see my dining table, I can see the things I can be doing at that table – things like writing for me, writing for clients, keeping up with my financial records and bills, or writing letters or cards. Also, if my house is clean, I tend to want to spend time there, which often ends up more productive than time spent out.
- Read More: Reading inspires me to write. When I read something I love, it makes me want to write something someone else will love just as much. When I read something I don’t love, I think, “If this got published, I could be published too.” The best is when I read something written by a friend. Like this past weekend, I read Saving Gracie, which was written by a friend from my old church. I know Kristen. She is a real person with a real talent who found her way to a real publishing contract. The reality of all of that and the beauty of her work make me think that being published isn’t just some illusive dream. It is Kristen’s reality. It can be my reality too.
- Recommit to Toastmasters: I’ve been a member of Capital City Toastmasters since 2007. The club gives me an opportunity to develop my ability to speak to an audience. It also challenges me to write because, when I am active, I have to deliver prepared speeches. Lately though, I have not been a regular participant at Toastmasters. I have pulled away some out of insecurity and being a little down, but I’m ready to recommit. Toastmasters helps me be more productive and more creative, both of which are important to me. Somehow, I find hours within my week to get ready for my speeches because I want them to go well. I want people to enjoy them, and I want my presentations to be fun for me. I find all kinds of time when my pride is on the line!
- Go to Bed Earlier. I have been making a conscious effort to get to bed earlier. I like to wake up early to run with friends, take a spin class or swim. It’s hard to wake up at 4:40 a.m. or 5:00 a.m. if I don’t go to bed by 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 at the latest. When I sleep well and wake up on time, I get my workout in and the entire day is off to a good start. That starts up my productivity in a way that sleeping until 7:00 a.m. or 8:00 a.m. never has.
I will continue to think on this subject as I continue to make the most of every moment. I have considered reducing my time on Facebook or setting windows of time where I will check and respond to emails or read blogs. I have also considered getting rid of my television altogether. I know I can continue to improve in this area.
How do you find time?
You are making me feel like a huge slacker. Can I ask what your commute and work hours are? Are you working full time at your firm, or do you work less than that these days? I find that between showing up at work, where I have to arrive whether I am productive or not, and commuting with daycare pickups and dropoffs, I have a solid, minimum, 10 hour time commitment each day.I need to get to bed earlier, as well. But all these people have these interesting blogs, darn them!
You are not a huge slacker. You are a working mom! My commute is actually only about 25 minutes since I usually drive in super early before there's any kind of traffic. I'm working full time. I usually get in between 9 and 10 and leave about 6:30 or 7. If I sleep through my alarm, I can still go to the gym at 8 and get to work at 10:30 or 11 and that's okay. It's a wonderfully flexible position, so I think that helps in getting to do the things I want to do.