Take Back Your Time

Have you every been in one of those soul sucking routines where you are so busy you barely have time to think?  I know since for the last several weeks my life has been a blur.

My life has been reduced to a Groundhog Day existence which looks like: day job, eat supper quick, evening event (typically soccer game with kids or school board related), get a few things done once kids are in bed, then fall into bed myself and repeat.  Over and over again. So when on Monday I finally had a free evening I looked back and realized it had been my first one in about three weeks.  I realized that something was very wrong with my life.

It was time to take back my time.  While it is possible to push yourself hard for a while, the payment for doing so will accumulate fairly damn quick.  So for the summer I’ve lined up a very light schedule: every Friday off and no school board work for most of July and Aug.  I need to balance myself out again.

What is sort of sad about my tale isn’t that fact this happened, but rather the fact that most people don’t have the ability to put their lives back into balance by taking some time off.  Even if they take the time off from their job their other obligations eat up the extra time like a vulture finding some road kill.  How how do you break this sad state of affairs?

  1. Less Kid Stuff – I’m always floored by tales of other parents that have two kids in three activities all at the same time.  They live my Groundhog Day existence for months at a time.  Stop the insanity and keep it to one activity at a time for each kid (even that can be nuts as soccer for our boys meant at least three games a week for a six week season).   Ok, some overlap is allowed if it is only a week or two.  Otherwise just say NO.
  2. Less Sainthood – Looking after everyone else is considered at the expense of yourself is noble for some people, to me they are idiots.  You are not any good to everyone in your life if you are acting like a zombie.  Take back some time and relax once in a while let some things wait like laundry, cleaning, and skip helping others for a while.
  3. Hire Help – Ok, here is the deal.  You can cheat.  Yes I give you permission to cheat.  Exchange some of your hard earned cash back to time once in a while.  Hire a cleaner for one week or the summer if you want.  Buy cupcakes instead of making them for the school event.  Hire someone else to cut the lawn for the summer.  Hire a babysitter for date night. This isn’t a cheap thing to do (heck I gave up 10% of my salary for more time off), but if you really need to break you need to get serious about making one.  Accept you can’t do it all yourself and book some time for you.   Just keep it reasonable.

So how do you take back your time?  What do you stop doing or how do you buy back some time?

3 thoughts on “Take Back Your Time”

  1. I often find myself in this kind of mind numbing routine. Having to exercise makes it worse because I’m not one of the people who likes but know that I need to do it. It takes a major chunk out of my “me” time 3 times a week and by the time I’m done with that and the shower it is almost time for bed.

    I couldn’t agree more that trading money for time is one of the best things you can do for yourself. You need to be smart about it though because it can be really expensive! That said, hiring a house cleaner to come every two weeks is probably the best decision I’ve ever made!! I’m the only organized/clean freak in my house and it is impossible to keep the place how I like because others will just mess it up faster than I can clean it up. I’ve learned to let go and live in mess but unfortunately that really affects my mood negatively because it truly is ingrained in my personality like competitiveness is in some people. Yesterday the house cleaner came and I had the rare opportunity to spend 4-5 straight hours getting stuff done, wiping my plate clean, and getting the house organized while having it stay that way at least for a day or two.

    I only got 6 hours of sleep and normally that would be the end of me (I depend on sleep WAY more than most people) but I feel fantastic! I don’t feel burdened like I usually do and looking around the clean organized house just sends my mood through the roof; it totally overpowers the lack of sleep.

  2. IMO realizing a reasonable amount of selfishness is core to well-being. Of course, this is easier to see after dealing very intimately with pretty prominent cases of others’ borderline personality disorder …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001931/

    “I often find myself in this kind of mind numbing routine. Having to exercise makes it worse because I’m not one of the people who likes but know that I need to do it. It takes a major chunk out of my “me” time 3 times a week”

    If you don’t count this as “me” time and enjoy the challenge and benefits … I can’t help but work out at least 5 days a week even when on vacation; it’s definitely *my* time =P

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