Monday, January 24, 2011

An apology, a repost, and a break.

Wow, I am so behind on life! I’ve been writing a little, critiquing a lot, and volunteering even more. I've learned to really admire you who work full time, raise kids, and still manage to write and beta read. You're all amazing!

Right now my life doesn’t seem any where close to slowing down. One of things I feel the worst about getting behind on is visiting my blogging friends. If I haven’t been to see you in awhile, I’m sorry! I am working on that and promise I'll be around. And in the meantime, I’m going to take a posting break here at Winded Words.


But for your reading pleasure (or torture, depending on who you are), I’m including a repost from Dec 2nd, 2009 on time management and balancing life (since this one is timely for me obviously):
Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years for making the time in your day balanced. Now a huge caveat, these are things I’ve LEARNED from other people, not necessarily things I PRACTICE:

1. Get up early.
Try for a decent amount of sleep, but get up for those people-free, productive hours of the morning. My mother is a pro at this. (Then again, I think she's half-robot and doesn't need as much sleep as the rest of us. Even while fighting cancer.) I get more done in the wee hours of the morning rather than those sleepy afternoons after lunch. If you're a night owl reverse this routine and use the time when everyone else is in bed to get some things done. Don't be tempted to turn on those great late night shows and waste valuable productive time.

And if you have trouble getting up in the morning at your established time, try these suggestions:

Don't lay around in bed and smash the alarm for awhile. One trick is to set an alarm on a coffee pot. Since I don't drink coffee, I learned from someone (forget who) to first thing when you wake up, think about something (anything!) you are excited about that day. It perks you right up. I often think about where I am in a story I'm writing. I get so excited that my brain wakes up. If all else fails, hide your alarm. Or ask your bedmate to kick you out. With a metal bat. (Kidding!)

2. Get ready for the day all at once.
Shower and dress all the way down to your shoes. You are ready for anything then and that is an energizing feeling. (Plus it really does save time not having to make several trips to the bathroom mirror or your dresser.)


3. Take projects with you everywhere.
We spend a lot of time in our lives waiting. Take your work with you—the hairdresser, the bus stop, the Doctor’s office, etc. Having said that though, don’t neglect others with you at the expense of reading/writing just one more scene. Whatever you are doing, be in the moment. If you are reading to your child, enjoy the moment, don’t think about the dishes. It’s one of the many things I love about yoga—it teaches you to be "present". (Unfortunately, I'm still working at this one, though. I automatically go down my mental to-do list at the expense of the now.)

4. Make dinners easy on yourself.
I’m an admitted food snob, so I’ll not tell you order McDonald’s every night. Instead, pull out that crockpot or roaster and modify your favorite recipes. Great meals can be set in a slow cooker earlier in the day. Not only do you have a meal ready when you’re ready, but the clean up is easier. One pot! You can also make extra and freeze half for really busy days.


5. Exercise and Eat Right
Anyone who exercises will tell you that they have more energy, get more done, and feel better when they squeeze in exercise. It’s not easy to do, most days I fail, but even 20 minutes every other day can make a difference. Also eating right helps. We’re only beginning to understand how much diet affects us, regarding how we feel. Listen to your body, it will help you make wise choices in eating. (And no, I didn’t say listen to your CHOCOLATE voice. That one always talks.)

6. Don’t be afraid to throw out the time wasters.
Track your activities for a week and see what you spend most of your time doing. Be prepared to trim the fat in your life and take out what is not important to you (say, too much Facebook/blogging time. Hee, hee!) and put in what is, like writing or playing checkers with your child. Time is more precious than money and oddly enough, we are all given the same amount in a day. Make the most of yours.

7. Think about tomorrow today.
It helps me to sleep better when I’ve written down the game plan for the next day. That way I’m not up at night trying to remember what it was that was too important to forget. Keep a notebook by your bed. Make your list (I’m a HUGE lister!), write it down, and then let it go.

8. Along with letting go, let go of the day while you are at it.
Take a moment each night before bed to breathe, relax, and let go. Yoga and Tai Chi are great for this, but there are other ways. I use this time to recharge my spiritual battery. Again, I don’t always have time to do this extensively, but I DO have 60 seconds to breathe. I make the most of those 60 seconds.


9. Set achievable goals and work towards them.
Challenge yourself, but be realistic. Then once you reach your goal, reward yourself fittingly. You know the saying, let the punishment fit the crime? Well also let the reward fit the achievement. An added benefit of goal-setting is that your children see you doing this and nothing teaches better than example.


10. Take baby steps.
Sometimes you can’t clean the house, write a chapter, go to the gym, paint the house, work at a job, help with the homework, make a gourmet meal, and whatever-else-I-forgot-to-mention all in a day. But you can do a little of a lot of them. Pick and choose what you can and save the rest for another day.


What I haven't said here is that what should impact balance more than anything is priority. In the end, what is really important? I may not remember the days my house was clean (or not) or that the seven-year old's hair was perfect for picture day, but I DO want to remember how it felt to kiss that squishy baby's cheek, hug a child's tears away, let someone I know I care by stopping by for a visit, or write a scene that makes my adrenaline pump. Those are the things that are important to me and if I wish to achieve the proper balance, they will be foremost in my time use.

Other places to look for time managements helps: www.flylady.com; mindtools.com; and getmoredone.com

33 comments:

  1. Taking projects with you everywhere is a great one. I do that. Have to with four kiddos and all their activities. Exercise is another height on my priority list. It gets the creative juices flowing.

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  2. Good luck on your break! Hope you're able to get a lot done!

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  3. I totally understand. I'm way behind on life as well. It's so hard, okay impossible, to keep up with it all. Sounds like you have your priorities straight! Take care!! :)

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  4. I kind of think that if I'm so behind my life that my life can't all be that boring! LOL!! That's my spin on it!!! I love your steps here btw, they are all very very sensible and doable! I really like the taking your projects with you everywhere!!! I'd like to think I do even if they are all in my head!! LOL!!!!

    But like you say, prioritising what matters most in one's life is most important really. So what if my house is abit of a mess at the moment because instead of housework, I wrote a story and a poem and my cat is happy! LOL!! Yay!!

    Take care
    x

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  5. These are all fantastic tips, and I definitely needed a reminder! Getting up early is involuntary for me (the 2-year-old likes the wee hours of the morning), but I really like your suggestion of getting ready all at once...there are so many times that I haven't even showered and properly dressed by 11:00, just because I'm doing laundry, getting breakfast for the husband, making beds, picking up, etc. Enjoy your break!

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  6. I don't take my writing with me. But I do take books to read. I consider that part of the writing process (research, homework), so it counts.

    I get up at 5 am, but I don't shower or get ready. I write/blog first and then workout after my kids go to school. After that, I can finally shower and get ready. :)

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  7. Great tips! I have learned to take "work" with me these past years. It's nice to have something to do while I'm waiting, waiting, waiting.
    Getting up early is something I want, but not very successful at. Thanks for some fun tips on that one. =)

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  8. GREAT reminders Jackee! I think I need to print this out and staple it to my forehead;)

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  9. Thanks for the great advice, Jackee! And enjoy your break. I am a big fan of breaks, as you may have noticed. I think it's good for the writer's soul. : )

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  10. A friend once gave me a sign that I keep posted. It has a picture of a 50s housewife and it says: A clean house is a sign of a wasted life. Shows where my priorities lie :) Go forth and enjoy life!

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  11. Jackee, I was wondering where you'd got to. You haven't posted much recently but I totally understand about when life gets hectic. You go ahead and take that posting break. We'll be right here when you get back.

    Jai

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  12. hi miss jackee! you got me thinking bout a teeter totter and it pretty hard to get it balanced out. so you gotta pick stuff that you could need to do for one end and add on it stuff you could wanna do on that other end and then you gotta keep adding and taking away til it gets mostly balanced. but im thinking it could be pretty hard to keep it balanced out all the time. that could get you pretty tired for sure. so mostly you just do the most best you could.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  13. Hope you achieve all hope to on your break. Will miss you. Love your tips.

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  14. Sounds like you're trying to do a lot. If you're writing and critiquing and volunteering (plus the mom stuff), blogging should take a backseat.

    But if you do visit any blogs, try to see mine because I'm having a contest!

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  15. These are great tips. I hope you have a wonderful and productive break!

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  16. Have a great blog break! Enjoy your family, your volunteering time and make sure you get some writing time in. (((HUGS)))

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  17. Great tips, Jackee! I got so used to my internal clock waking me up in the wee hours and using that extra time to write, that now that my clock's reset itself to a more "normal" time, I'm really missing my free "quiet house" time. It definitely does help to think about something you're excited about when trying to get yourself out of bed. It was when I was writing my previous ms that I got into the early rising habit, because I was always so excited to write the next scene.

    Have a great break - I hope it's super productive!

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  18. Reposting is a wonderful idea! I for one want more! Of course I hope you'll be back to your regular blogging schedule soon too but I understand about needing breaks. I think breaks are very healthy. Love the list! Reminded me of a lot of good tricks and a few new ones. Reminded in particular of one thing: it's above freezing here in Wyoming and the sun is out! Going out to exercise while I have a chance!

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  19. I really love this. And it's so true. I need to especially do better on waking up right with the alarm, but luckily Jon is there to get me up and make me breakfast every morning which helps me get motivated. And since starting my 5:30am hours at work last year I love the habit of getting up before (most) everyone else. I had an RS activity a few weeks ago that didn't start until 9am and I was wondering why everyone was so tired! It really does make a difference for the rest of my day. Thanks for sharing!

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  20. I have been totally slacking on blogs, too, so you're not the only one!

    I love your tips. I try to use any down time to think about my characters or scenes. I was at the dentist on Tuesday and you can't really talk, so I just daydreamed while the lady cleaned my teeth!

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  21. These are wonderful suggestions. I've come a long way in the past few years in becoming more time-efficient.

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  22. Hope you have a productive break!

    I love setting small achievable goals. It makes me feel more productive than I am. LOL

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  23. Still good tips, though I don't think I'm managing any of them any better this month than I was last month!

    Enjoy your break.

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  24. Great time management tips that I can really use right now!

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  25. Hope things are going well. Just wanted to check on you. : )

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  26. Baby steps to the bus, baby steps on the bus...have you seen What About Bob?

    We'll miss you and look forward to your return. :)

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  27. What a great list! I love the one about thinking about tomorrow today. That helps me since when I get the boys in bed I can be ready to get right to it.

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  28. I don't know. I think you remember that your child's hair wasn't perfect for picture day for a LONG time! ;)

    Seriously though, great list. I like the get ready all at once. I'm terrible about that. And if DOES make a difference.

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  29. Jackee, I see I'm not the only one who's been sporadic on the blogosphere! Since I moved the last fews weeks have been insane. I'm just catching up on stuff now. Hope to see you back soon!

    Jai

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  30. Jackee this is a really good post...I know this is my second time to comment on it. I'm thinking you should submit it to someone?

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