Thursday, February 9, 2012


I have trouble with the phrase "saving time."  I don't think we can actually save time.  We can spend less time doing things, but time just keeps ticking away.  It's not like we have a time account we can make deposits in when we have too much time and then make withdrawals from when we need more time.  I have tried to live that delusion before, and it is not fun or productive.

I also get tickled at the phrase "making time."  This always conjures up a Rumpelstiltskin type character in my mind, feverishly spinning straw into minutes.  In my imagination these minutes look like a bluish, sparkling smoke wafting through the air.  Wouldn't it be great if there was a recipe for time.  A pinch of this, a cup of that, stir until moistened, throw into the air and watch time fly!  But, alas, that is not possible.

However, I do think we can find time.  Time exists.  We just have to find the time to do the things we need and want to do.  And we have to do them now, before the time slips away.  I can think of three primary ways to find time...prioritize, strategize, and organize.

We can't do everything we want to do in life.  How boring would life be if we could! Imagine waking up one day and saying, I have done everything there is to do in this world.  What would you do?

Since we can't do everything we want to do, we must chose the things we will do.  We must prioritize our life's ambitions, responsibilities, and joys.  We will not be as likely to chafe against our time constraints if we have spent our time on the most important items.  We must also recognize that these priorities will change as time marches.  For example, I want to be a children's writer.  Before I had children, I was pursuing this and felt to be on the verge of success.  But when I had my daughter, a four year, medicine and stress filled endeavor, I stopped.  Not because I didn't want to write anymore, but because that use of my time was not a priority to me. I still want to write children's stories.  In fact, I have a notebook full of stories, in very rough form, I had to write down to get them out of my brain.  One day, when my children are older, getting those stories published will become a priority, and I will spend time cuddled up with that notebook.  For now, home schooling my nine year old, corralling my three year old, and cuddling with both when those rare moments present themselves take up the majority of my time.  That is okay...they are my priority.

How do we prioritize?  By asking and answering a few questions.  Will this opportunity be available later?  Is there a moral obligation involved?  Will this help or hurt others?  Must this be accomplished today?  What if I didn't do this?  By this time, you should have an idea of an item's importance and can prioritize it appropriately.

Now we know what we want to focus on, we must determine the best method of attack.  We must find time to accomplish our prioritized goals.  This could involve re-purposing time or setting up a pm schedule as discussed in earlier posts.  This could involve enlisting help, if we just can't get things done by ourselves.  For example, company is coming, the kids just got over Hungarian body rot, the dog needs to go to the vet, the bills have to be paid, the stove just blew up, and the mountain of laundry would make Mt. Ranier look like a hill.  You could sit in the middle of the floor crying,  or perhaps Bradying,  or you could come up with an amazing strategy.  Call your girlfriends, explain the problem, and promise to help them one day soon if they will come resuce you today.  Ask the husband to burn half a day of vacation to come sit with the kids,waiting for the stove repair man while you take the bills and the laundry to the laundry mat.  It might cost a little, but to get all that laundry done in two hours, while paying all the bills could be worth the expense.   Stratgize like a general.  Access the problem, access your resources, and come up with the best plan of attack.  Then implement that strategy as if it will work.  After all, if the general doesn't think the mission will succeed, the troops will not be inspired.

I must admit to this being my greatest weekness, and I have no doubt it accounts for a great potion of my wasted time.  When we are constantly searching for items, time is lost.  When we are in the middle of projects  and discover we don't have the supplies we need, time is lost.  When we buy items we already have but couldn't find, time AND money is lost.  All of this could be solved with organization.

I recently organized my pantry.  I wish I had a before picture I could show you.  It was AWFUL!!  Food in the very back that I had bought years ago.  Spills, dry and sticky, abounded.  And opening the pantry door was a test of reflexes and coordination to see if your toes could miss and your hands could catch all of the items that tumbled out.

But this is my pantry today.

I have saved sooooo much time since doing this.  I know where my groceries are, and what I have available.  I know what I need when I go to the store.  I have not hunted for anything, lost anything, or spilled anything since this was done.  If I do spill something, it will take little time to wipe it off of the vinaljuast put the bowl in the dishwasher.  A little organization has made cooking, putting away groceries, and making grocery list a MUCH easier tasks.  I am determined to continue organizing, and see just how much time I can find.

Prioritize, Stratagize, Organize.  These are time finders.  Try it out, and let me know what happens.

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