My best friend asked me to write a post on time management. She thinks I can give lessons. I had to laugh. Ask my mom and siblings, is what I wanted to say. They really know me well but, then again… I do manage to do a lot more than an average mum to three.
I am Attention Deficit and I have Obsessive Compulsion Disorder. For those of you don’t know what that is, let me explain. In simple terms, I keep jumping from one thing to another and often forget what I was working on. I can get crazily obsessed with something and you’d think I will be doing it for the rest of my life but the next day, I will forget about it. I am passionately writing or speaking on a topic by day and a few hours later or by evening, I would have forgotten and cannot recall even a word. That is called ADD with OCD.
I find it very surprising that I was never diagnosed as a child. I don’t think many people knew about the condition then, but I was always labelled as ‘highly charged’. The consequences to that was that sometimes I suffered and sometimes I succeeded. Everyone thought I was ‘moody’ or ‘driven’. Over the years, I have taught myself to deal with my moods. When my friend asked me to write about time management or more precisely how to work with three kids, I thought I’d share with you one trick that has saved me a lot of mess.
I never head EAST! EAST is abbreviation for Everything At the Same Time. I read a lot of books on organisation. I didn’t know why I did that until I was diagnosed and somewhere years ago I had read about not heading EAST. It has stayed with me ever since. In fact, it has become a Life Skill.
Why should you never head EAST, you ask?
Well, the answer is because when you do everything at the same time, you accomplish nothing. It is like opening a closet with the intention of decluttering and pulling out everything on to the floor. You just sit there in the middle, find nothing and you have no choice but to put it all back where it belongs. There will be confusion too. Instead, if you took things out one at a time, you’d atleast know whether to keep or throw what you are holding in your hand. If you have to leave the job half way, atleast half the things have been discarded and you can pick up where you left off the next time.
How can this apply to managing my time, you ask?
Get your priorities set right, I say. Understand what your needs are first. Next, identify what your limitations are. Then put it all together. You will then know what really matters and what doesn’t.
Yes, that is all nice but I still don’t understand what I should be doing, you say?
I can’t tell you what to do because I myself don’t have a to-do (or rather a how-to-do) list. What I do have, is a ‘what not to do list.’
Here is a list of things that I think you should never do.
Never do everything at the same time: The compulsion to get it done is always very high but remember, it is the least successful. Nobody ever got anything done by trying to do it all at once.
Never hobby/craft when kids/you/spouse/family is sick or in crisis. Health and family first.
Never post/create more than thrice a week. I always make sure that whatever hobby I am doing, I am concentrating on only one per week. I am either writing or I am making or whatever. That is one of the reasons why when I am crafting my posts take longer to be published.
Never work on weekends. I don’t follow that anymore because I blog now and weekends are when my posts get scheduled. Previously, I didn’t work on weekends. It was like I saved my hobbies and busy-ness for the week days when I needed something to ward off boredom. Isn’t that what hobbies are?
Never do chores all the time: House work will always be there. You will always have errands to run, cleaning to do and all. Priorities and manage. If you can outsource… all the more better! You can hire help, get the kids and family involved. Remember somethings are more important for your sanity than for anything else.
Never ignore your kids when they want to talk. Sometimes we are so busy running with the clock or trying to find that me-time that the little ones never voice out their needs or we ignore them. You have to be a mother first. There is an advantage to talking to your kids. You make allies out of them and they help you eliminate the stress factor associated with time management.
Never miss eating a meal together. Say it with me ‘a family that eats together stays together!!’
Never do laundry all the time. Oh please. Don’t ever do laundry all the time! It is viscious circle of wash, iron, fold, put away, wash iron fold, put away. Just three days. Never ever more!
Never cook all the time. When I first got married, I was beginning to think that married life meant he got a cleaner, a cook and an entertainer all in one. Then I got some sense kicked into me when my son was born. Plan your meals, freeze some, prepare in advance, get creative!
Never clean all the time. You are not the vacuum cleaner. Nobody hired you either. It is your home. Homes should be lived in.
Never be a perfectionist. It will kill you. I am serious. I have my example to share here. I wasn’t always this smart and I am seeing the results now.
Never give up on sleep. You need that me time but not at the expense lf your health.
Never forget to drink water, snack healthy and excercise. Think about including this as number one on your me-time list.
Never forget to charge your batteries: yourself and your camera. Apart from eating and sleeping we need time to be ourselves. That isn’t me-time, it is nothing time. And… Oh pictures! More pictures. Memories. Go making, taking and collecting memories.
Never forget the love of your life. I am talking about your significant other not your mobile phone. We often get so busy with kids, our hobbies, social networking, our jobs… that we forget that we all started with love and vows.
Never forget God. Never forget God. Not just to thank but to ask… For blessings, for health, for love and for life. You wouldn’t want Him to forget you, would you? Never forget His love either because we all need more of God’s love then of anyone else’s.
Never forget vacations. We go years after years thinking ‘as soon as—‘. We get older, our’s gets older, life changes, health changes, then we just cannot. Go now and then go again next year and every year after that.
Never underestimate the power of a routine! No, no not for you. The kids. Put kids on a routine. They will make your life easier and they will stay in order. It is a win-win solution for everyone. I know what most people think about routines but trust me, you have no idea unless you try it. More on routines coming soon.
That’s how I manage my time: I never head EAST. What say? What direction do you go?