Thursday, 18 February 2010

Organising Time

When I was at work, my time was pretty much organized for me: everything had to fit in around going to work. If you work away from home, I would imagine your situation is much the same, but I’m retired now. I think occasionally about looking for a very part time job, just to have another outside interest and a bit a money trickling in, but nothing comes of it.

One would think that, given all my free time and energy, I would accomplish major feats, but no. I have a long list
of things I would or might like to do. This is 21 pages long, thanks to Getting Things Done which proposes you write down every passing thought onto a list. It probably says more, but I’ve not actually bought the book. The list doesn’t seem to shrink much because new and urgent things pop up daily. I’m not getting to all the things I’d like to. I will freely admit that this is in part due to laziness and the only cure for that of which I am aware is enthusiasm.

I’ve looked for role models in my life, but I’m different to them. Mom could cook for Heaven and she had creativity in every fibre, but the house was a tip. Grandmother kept a large busy household running and ran her own business, but I never saw her crack a book. My Aunt Rita was the queen of sewing and DIY, but frugal was a foreign language. Grandma ran a house where there was a place for everything and that was where it could be found, but she was senile by the time I was 12 so I don’t know what else she could do, other than knit wash cloths.

There are any number ideas about how to organise one's time on the internet. There are the Flylady routines, where one makes the bed upon getting out of it, wipes the bathroom down before leaving it, wears lace up shoes, spends 15 minutes a day uncluttering, some other amount of time finding 27 things to throw away, dresses in PJs after dinner and keeps the sink shining. Some of this is excellent and the ideas are copied widely. The ‘How to Unclutter’ principles are platinum, but I dunno, I’m hoping there is more to retirement than housework. If you really did all those routines to the letter I’m not sure there is.

Pleasantview Schoolhouse has a day for this or that: laundry, baking, kitchen cleaning, etc, etc. She sews a lot and has a great Etsy shop with good turnover, she’s a sometime lawyer, has regular church functions and social events. She’s also got 2 teenaged daughters who are home-schooled and I’m thinking fairly helpful.

The time honoured routine would fall down for me from the first, as we need to do a load of laundry most days to take advantage of our clothes drying rack; we nearly never use the tumble dryer. Home Ec-101 and many other sites have allocated tasks for each day and presumably these are also aimed at women who work full time; we can’t all be lounging around the house all day!

I had a routine before Christmas that sort of worked, except that I tend to run out of steam after Wednesday. In addition to an hour of housework each day, which just kept things picked up, washed and laundered, I aimed to spend at least an hour taking care of other matters:

Mon: Finances, correspondence & office tasks, run 1 hour
Tues: Sewing/crafting, do errands
Wed: Write for blog, ironing, run 1 hour
Thu: Etsy, Amazon, genealogy
Fri: Ebay, work in kitchen, special cooking, run 1.5-2.5 hours
Sat: Work in garden & house, visit museum, etc. with Bill
Sun: Rest, putter, hang out with Bill

Each day has a long list of things under each category. In my former job, I could manage a lot of diverse tasks by just inching each project forward a little each day. Ebay and Etsy don’t inch forward very well, though. They eat time like the dinosaurs in the old movies ate towns and there isn’t much to show for it. Then Christmas crafting took over and I hardly moved from the chair that was surrounded by fabric and sewing tools. The floor looked like an abstract painting and my fingers stayed sore. That was familiar territory again: making lists and chasing deadlines.

I noticed that I didn’t get much dressmaking type sewing done last year and this is something I’ve wanted to learn for a very long time. If I don’t acquire those skills now, when will I? And if I don’t perhaps I should just accept that it’s not my thing and get rid of all that stuff I’ve been collecting for years until I had this time. I decided that I would try to make it a priority to do my sewing for an hour each day, whether I ‘felt like it’ or not. Aiming for every day, I get there maybe 3-4 days a week. A friend remarked that this was ‘terribly disciplined’ but I know she has loads more discipline in her life than I do; it’s just so routine to her now she doesn’t notice it.

That’s what I need: a routine. What’s yours?


FB @ said...

The best way for me to stick to any kind of schedule or routine, is to take up all of the time with something that MUST be done -- like work.

Then the rest falls into place, because I kick into organized gear mode.

Frugal Scholar said...

This is my weak spot and I've read all the books. Every little bit helps. My favorite remains Sidetracked Home Executives, which Flylady bases her system on. It's not that I follow the system, but that I learned that there are other people with the same issues. Probably ADD or something. But I cope, sort of.

Heather Solos said...

I organized the chore schedule to try to make it as easy as possible for anyone, whether at home or not. I work from home and my kids are here all the time destroying (ha!) the place.
Between homeschooling my oldest and working, I don't have time for an involved cleaning process. So that's the long answer to who I had in mind when I designed the system. :)
Thank you for the shout out.

Mary Q Contrarie said...

I think you should not worry so much about having a routine. I find that my style is very free flow. I do laundry almost every day since like you we dry everything on our clothes drying rack. I find that when it really needs picked up. I pick it up and when it really needs cleaned I clean it.

So maybe having a routine is not who you are but if you are happy and you can live with your house as it is then you probably really do not need to worry about changing.

Shelley said...

Very interesting comments. Sounds like I'm not so odd after all. However, I definitely need to get me an "organised gear mode". I think I used to have one for work but I must have left it there...