Sunday, August 30, 2009

Back to munching on elephants

With my return to the work force, there have been some changes in our household. I can’t stay up all night, playing on the computer, because I can’t sleep in the next day. I can’t put things off like I did when I was home all of the time, because tomorrow might be even more stressed. I can’t do all of the housework anymore, because I just don’t have the time.

Funny thing is, I still get a lot done. Even though I am working 40+ hours a week, and then some. (My day job is 40+, and I still have a couple of clients that I’m working for on freelance projects) Even though I have to commute.

Now that’s funny. Because I have worked from home for so long even before I was unemployed, I got used to a short commute. Across the house, to be exact! I didn’t even have to get dressed or brush my teeth, just roll out of bed and down the hall to the office. Now, I have to drive some 12-15 minutes to work, across our small town. There’s even traffic – although nothing like a big city. Here, it counts as traffic if you cannot go at exactly the moment that you want to, or if you have to wait for another car to pass before you pull out. And we’ve had road construction, as our four way stop is soon to become a free for all. (DOT calls it a roundabout, but I disagree) It’s been arduous travelling so far! I’ve found that I have to keep myself amused on the drive. Good music, talk radio, saying my morning prayers, or talking on the phone. (always hands free, of course! Since I don’t have Bluetooth, I put my phone on speaker phone and tuck it into my seatbelt. A white trash hands free, if you will, but it works!)

So anyway. Back to the original point, which is this: we will never have time to accomplish all that we want to, but we have to do the best that we can. How, you ask? When there not enough minutes in the day? No great blocks of time to do anything but try to keep your head above water? Well, how do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

I’ve always lived by this adage, as I have never had time to do everything that I want to. Except for my one period of unemployment, I’ve always worked full time, gone to school full time, or BOTH. Except for my period of unemployment, I’ve always had to budget my time. Except for my period of unemployment, I’ve never had a clean refrigerator all at one time.

I may notice that a shelf is gucky. It would be easy to say that I didn’t have time to clean the refrigerator and just let it get so gross that I finally have to clean it. Being slightly OCD, however, that won’t work. So instead, I settle for taking out the worst shelf and cleaning it up. I may or may not have time to do more, but at least that shelf is clean. The next day or so, I try to hit another shelf. Usually, the one that I cleaned first is getting dirty by the time I get to the last, but at least it never gets overwhelming.

It’s amazing what you can do in five minutes! Time yourself the next time you do a task, and I think that you will be surprised at how little time you actually spend doing it. We all tend to waste a lot of time ‘gearing up’ and whining to ourselves that we have to do it, and the task itself is not so daunting.

The other thing that changes is that I become much more schedule driven. Sheets are changed on Saturdays. A load of laundry is done every morning. I can’t just wing it, because things will get lost in the shuffle.

And it is imperative that I am ahead of the ball. Clothes have to be laid out before the week begins. We need a calendar to keep track of everyone’s commitments. Dinners are planned and posted, so that I can piggy back cooking, make sure that things are out of the freezer, and still have reasonable meals and not just canned chili every night. (apparently, that’s my go-to dinner, the one that I make when I have nothing planned or laid out) Planning ahead means that when the inevitable surprise comes up, I’m still organized enough to get by.

It also means that some things have to be pared out of the schedule. I had to put my Farm Town in hibernation, for instance. Not that I didn’t have time (I had it laid out so that my crops matured at different times!), but because my family kept giving me a bad time about being on the computer harvesting. (odd, since they are usually behind a computer themselves!) I avoid Facebook, which can waste HOURS of time. I can’t blog as often as I’d like to.

It doesn’t mean that things like scrapbooking, blogging, family history, or other good activities have to be shelved. It just means that I have less time to do them, and I have to be efficient. I have to use every minute for some good use, so that I don’t waste the time that I have.

Things change, situations necessitate adjustments. I just keep nibbling at that elephant, and one day..he’ll be gone. I’m sure that by then, they’ll be another elephant to tackle, but no worries. It gives me more to blog about!


  1. Too bad you don't have any help at home

  2. Oh, I do have help! My family works as a team! Otherwise, I'd never make it.