Hello, Beautiful! Today I’m talking about time management. I lead a busy life (hence the title, “full life of an empty nester!”). Sometimes even I wonder how I get everything done!!
Here’s a peek at my “busy-ness”:
First of all, I have my main job as director of elementary education. Here, I oversee what’s going on for the K-6 crowd in 25 schools, coordinate the intervention programs in 27 schools, organize professional development, and mentor and evaluate principals at five sites (there’s more, but that’s the basics.). It involves a lot of travel (I’m on a trip right now as I write this!), and sitting through never-ending meetings.
Next up is working on my doctorate. Not really sure why I did this at my age, but the program was on sale (seriously – 30% off for alumni! Who can resist a sale?!?!), but it’s now a personal challenge goal to complete it. I’m in year two of a three to four year program (two years of course work, then research, and writing the dissertation). I take two 5-credit courses each quarter (in 11 week sessions).
I have this blog. Although I’m new to doing a blog as a business, this is giving me great joy as I love writing (not like the foofy kind for the doctorate, but writing like this!), and learning new things (the earning $$ part). It takes a lot more time than I had imagined.
Last, there are those pesky New Years’ resolutions that I’m still clinging to about taking better care of myself, including diet and exercise – which takes time and planning.
SO HOW DO I FIT IT ALL IN (and still sleep and have some fun)???
I schedule, schedule, schedule!! Not everyone’s organization system will work for someone else, but here’s what is working for me (and you can either copy it, or hopefully, it will give you an idea of something you could adapt for yourself). I have developed a spreadsheet system on Excel (but you could easily use Google sheets, as well). On the main sheet, I made columns for the days of the week (starting with Monday because I wanted my weekend days together), and listed times along the left. I started with only half-hour increments, but have added a few others as needed, and eventually I removed some from sleep time and work time so the whole schedule wasn’t so wieldy.
First, I made a “basic” day to figure out how much time I could devote to each thing. Starting with 24 hours, I took “off” the amount of time each activity would take. Each activity is color coded, so this also acts as the “legend.” This gave me a basic starting point for the week.
Filling it all in: I immediately blocked off chunks that were non-negotiable (like work and the time it takes to get ready each day – which for me is about an hour), and standing appointments like my massage (spoiled!) and weekly call to my parents. Remember: This is still the basic overall weekly “ideal” [sometimes unrealistic] schedule.
Then I blocked out the next most important activity. That’s my doctoral work (even though it was on sale, it’s still a chunk of money, so I don’t want to be flunking out!).
Next was exercise. I started at 60 minutes every day: a 30 minute video in the morning, and a 30 minute walk each evening. Well, then the weather went to the minuses and that went out the window. (Guess I’m a “fair weather” walker – like at least ten degrees ABOVE zero!!). So now I’m down to the 30 in the morning, four times a week – much more realistic.
Then I put in sleep. The goal is a minimum of seven hours, with a couple extra on the weekend. That has worked really well. I am not a “jump out of bed when the alarm goes off” kind of person – the snooze button is my friend – so that’s why the “wake up” band is 15 minutes….
Finally, I had to “fill in the blanks.” I wanted to make sure I built in a creative outlet (the local quilt guild has “sewing Saturdays” where you can work on projects or take classes), internet time (emails, Facebook, etc. for personal), dishes and cleaning up around the house. (Most of the time it’s just me, myself, and I in a 600 sq. ft. rental. You may have to adjust this – I would, if I were at my main house).
You may want to allow yourself some more free time. I feel like I can’t right now. However, some days just don’t work out this way, and some extra free time creeps in.
Every Sunday, I copy and paste the schedule from the main page to a new sheet. Label the sheet with the week’s date, and adjust based on events that week. Leave a comment, below, and I’ll email you my editable spreadsheet. I use Google calendar for my work and personal appointments. Looking at the week ahead, I check for travel or major changes, and then adjust the schedule as needed. I print it out and paste it into my bullet journal for reference.
Do I stick to this rigidly? Yes, and no. I do set the alarm on my phone for the doctorate work and the blog time. That way I make sure not to spend too much time on either but nothing gets short-changed. The rest of the time, I try to stay flexible to life’s happenings.
Could using a system like this help you to organize your busy week? If so, leave a comment with your email, and I’ll send you my editable spreadsheet, free!