My Time - Time Management

The other day I had one of these usual review 'one to ones' at work and we were talking about this and that – well, mostly I talked as usual – and in particular about a little timer I crafted from a folder upside down, to let my people know about my daily leave time. I used to work from 8 to 1 PM, but since I am running the Incredible Ladies I need longer slots in the afternoons to concentrate on what I want to write. So I changed my working hours to long afternoons on two days of the week and the rest of the week I leave at noon and Fridays even at 11 AM.

This doesn’t seem to gain a lot but for me the change is dramatic. However, I explained that these odd working hours need to be broadcasted to everybody and hence I have this weird thing hanging from my desk now. 

It's the Attitude

When I came home I still was thinking about all that and why this little change works so well for me. Only when I looked back further in time I realised that with the new timing I had adopted a different attitude towards my work as well. Previously my biggest advantage was to be available all the time. Whenever somebody shouted – I was there. Only: It’s impossible to plan ahead when living like that. It turns out that for me to perform well it is hugely important to have my tasks planned through for the day. I still have degrees of freedom and I will re-prioritise if needed, but to get me going into the day I need to know that the task ahead is doable - and if the day goes entirely differently? Well, then I will plan the next day accordingly.

Individual Tasks vs. Pile of Duties

As soon as I only have a list of stuff that needs to be done – let’s say within the next few days – then I only see the huge workload as one big mountain to climb. I feel like having to put too much on my plate. At work that is not that a big problems because I have to re-prioritise all the time so tasks are moving up and down the list and the list stays the same length anyway.

At home that is different. Already slightly knackered from work I am free to decide. Of course the housework needs been done, but what if… Sometimes I just couldn’t decide what to do first and left it altogether. OK, one soap on the telly for break – one needs a break, right? And some food – oh, look ‘Neighbours’ is on again, and there is a ‘Miss Marple’ and it’s good for my English, ooof getting tired now, need another cappuccino. Hmm?!

Only an hour to go until hubby comes home – sh… what can I achieve in one hour, not a lot really, load the cappuccino machine again, change the dishwasher, feed the cat, gosh day over already, oh can do my stuff tomorrow – only: Tomorrow it’ll be the same!

It’s weird. Since I started writing for the site, although extremely time consuming I have more time than before. I’m so keen to getting on the computer that I quickly do the things I scheduled for the day.

Monday is working until 3PM – day is lost for writing anyway – hence going food shopping. Getting stuff into the shelves and probably cooking some veg, potatoes, eggs or pasta to keep in the fridge for the week. 6PM Cappuccino, 7:30 Gym

Tuesday – leaving at 12 o’clock. Review what I wrote at the weekend. It has been sitting there nicely for ripening. Now after two days I can read it with fresh eyes. When I need a break I water the plants, Iron some shirts and get the washed clothes into the wardrobes. That way everything is in a state that the cleaner can do her work on Wednesday. 6 PM Cappuccino, 7:30 Gym.

Wednesday – brilliant! Leaving at 12, in the morning the cleaner was there and I have all afternoon to file down the articles and link everything nicely together. All I do for housework is the washing and hanging it. I take the cappuccino break with hubby and then go back to the computer again. No housework, no nothing, then having nice dinner with hubby.

Realise something? Things are allocated! I still have certain flexibility, it’s as determined as I want it to, but as I can see the benefits I like to stick with it. AND: It gives me the opportunity to say ‘No’ if asked for doing things which I don’t actually want to do. I so much liked the feeling of being needed: Makes one feel so important! I still help out when I can afford it, but working part time one all too easily gives the impression of being available all the time. Now it’s: Sorry no, I’m busy! And as I actually am I don’t feel bad about it.

Realise something else? I have a wonderful day in the middle of the week. Usually I started to go downhill from Wednesdays on, getting worried about the workload that already had accumulated and now lurking there to be done at the weekend.

Thursday – Long hours: Getting home at 5:30PM. Having all day at work makes it easier to achieve certain tasks which need a bit more concentration and persistence. So usually the Thursdays are good workdays. Cappuccino at 6 PM, sometimes a bit of writing – like now – and off to the gym at 730.

Realise something more? I’m not talking a lot about food. Only on Mondays I prepare a few quick things and on Wednesday night I have an enjoyable dinner with hubby. The rest of the workweek I’m grazing along. I’m explaining the reason for that in Nutrition – let’s get started. This approach takes the focus off food and saves a lot of time. There are no meals which usually make me tired, and as I’m swapping tasks, I need fewer breaks in terms of hanging in front of the telly or having a nap. For me ‘Taking a Break’ now has the literal sense of the word: Stop one thing and do another.

I try to mix tasks which I like and which I don’t like. It’s a sort of reward system I invented for myself. Looking back at the end of the day it feels as if I only did stuff I that like and I’m delighted that most of the rubbishy things are done as well.

Friday – leaving at 11: Long weekend. That is brilliant. Normally I would be rather grumpy because I still would have a big pile of stuff to be done. Now on Fridays I enjoy cleaning the fish tanks – little girl playing with water,YAY! – I have a chat with mum on the phone, do my emails or meet with friends. It’s the time for gardening and writing a bit more. If I feel like it I take care of the dried clothes, but if not - well there is the Tuesdays where I usually do that anyway. 6 PM Cappuccino and 7:30 off to the gym.

Going Uphill vs Downhill

What else to realise?

My week gets better the further it gets. It used to be the other way round. Eventually I have weekends for gardening, writing, going out. No gym – except on Saturdays morning for some cardio if I like to and a steam room visit with a friend. So it’s more for socialising.

Sometimes I run a bit on Sunday morning with a friend and her kids. But again, that’s more for socialising. After weekends like those I can start into the new week refreshed.

What is Called 'Exciting'?

It is not a horribly exciting life, is it?

On the other hand people take notice that I’m full of energy and I can’t help but feel that I become contagious to some of them. That is an even better feeling than being oh so important due to constant availability. I have to say: I never before achieved as much as I do at the moment – What makes life pretty exciting!

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Author: Rika