Too much going on….Where’s the balance?

I can’t believe January has passed me by without hardly a mention.  I know in recent times, many people use the excuse of ‘I’ve been so busy..’  In my head that’s how I feel too; what interests me more, however, is how easily the equilibrium gets knocked off when a couple more things are added to the scales.  Suddenly it seems we partly shut down in order to manage the immediate.

It was somewhat of an emotionally charged day at the beginning of last week, when I received a text from Hubsband whilst I was at work to say that he was fashioning a new window in our house.  This had been something of an idea of his in recent years, but, I somehow always managed to keep it on a back burner.  I had realised, that, when he asked for an angle grinder for Christmas that my time was running out.  It wasn’t that I don’t or didn’t want a new window, it was the extra disruption that I could have done without.  Especially as I have spent the last few months having a declutter!  The house, now much more minimal, was about to come under attack by brick dust, which as many will know, gets everywhere….

Perhaps it wasn’t just the dust  and disruption that was the problem, but as an educator, albeit a part-time one, school reports are a time consuming and stressful business.  And, as the text came through I was in the middle of this time.  When I arrived home later in the day, the moment I walked through the door, I realised I couldn’t even find  place to sit down; I couldn’t even see through the dust, let alone, sit down and concentrate on something.

As the week progressed, no reports were competed, but the dust was eventually cleared up.  Now all almost 2 weeks later, both the window and school reports almost complete; I am left with the feeling of, it didn’t seem that bad, and with the questions how come the mind seemed to completely shut down? Where’s the balance? What can we do to manage better next time?

Igniting the ‘Spark of Joy’ continuing the declutter

After borrowing the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo from the library in December my declutter began a whole new phase. I had started to lose some impetus so it was a good kick-start to continue my project.  I was quickly fascinated by the ideas shared in the book and soon found myself watching numerous YouTube videos on the ‘KonMari’ folding method.  As described in the book, I began with my clothes. Well. Actually I began by adding more shelves into my wardrobe.  Thankfully Hubsband is excellent at DIY, so a few days later I was ready to start refolding and keen to ‘spark joy’ in my wardrobe. What I wasn’t planning for was the length of time it took to sort. I suppose reading about sorting takes not time at all, but actually doing it.. well,  that’s the hard bit…

Clothes folded the new 'KonMari' method

Clothes folded the new ‘KonMari’ method

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Just about complete

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New shelves for the new Curver baskets

 

Making good use of time

Knowing I am generally pretty good at time managing, when I reached for the Michael Heppell Book, How to Save an Hour Everyday, during a recent library visit, I wasn’t sure, quite what I was going to find.  The book is brimming with ideas; many, thanks to my very practical mum, I already make use of in my everyday life –

  • Spending quality time with your children; eating together at the table, no phones allowed at the table (thats one of our own rules)
  • Cooking efficiently by doubling up recipes and making a weekly menu, labeling containers, freezing extra portions
  • Discover the radio and become an active listener instead of being a passive tv watcher

There are also, some tips that I have also been thinking about recently:

  • Time Tracker – keeping a note of your daily activities in 15 min blocks

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I did this for 3 days, and by the end I was pretty pleased with my use of time.  I was unsure of how the book was going to use this, or how I could improve it…. that would come later…

  • Cut the clutter – fling, file and flip – still ongoing with the de-clutter, week 15… details for another post!
  • Labelling – my new favourite organisational gadget – DYMO20161203_1120561

Thankfully, of course, some new ideas…

  • The $100,000 idea – ‘At the end of each day, write down the five most important things to do tomorrow’ – this, has by far been the most valuable suggestion for me so far and in only a few weeks, has helped me to get through so many tasks that I otherwise may have left for another day.  I often say to myself, if it has no deadline; it can wait for another day.  This one small strategy has really helped with getting things done straight away.  A great one to try.
  • At the end of the book are the ‘Advanced Techniques’ with a great idea called ‘Me, Key and Stuff’ – now I was to understand how the time tracker comes into force.  The idea is that you divide  your time into ‘Me’  – focus on yourself, ‘Key’ – focus on the ‘top five mission critical activities’ and ‘Stuff’ – days of chores, making appointments, cleaning, ironing etc.  This one I am still pondering and thinking about whether I could apply to my ‘open afternoons’ …to be continued…at some point

Pre-house move declutter (Part 1)

After umming and arhhing during the Summer about whether or not to move house, I decided at the beginning of the new school term in September that I would begin a house declutter. Our household has the tendency to keep, rather than throw away so I knew I had a big job on my hands.  My logical brain took me to each room in turn and the sorting commenced.

Keep.  Ebay.  Charity.  Scrapstore.  Recycle.  Rubbish.

Piles and bags mounded up at the front door and relief was found as each bag arrived at a new home.  I have since found numerous website quoting the benefits of decluttering, which, in my opinion can be best shown in this wonderful article from The compasionate Home  who summarise the health benefits of decluttering in 3 short sentences:

  • It provides clarity and focus
  • It leads to less physical and emotional stress
  • It can help to rewrite your life

I am now over 8 weeks into my declutter and, although not at all finished I am feeling many of these great effects that I hadn’t realised before I started. And, at least we all now know where the stationery goes!!

Folders and storage boxes are now neatly labelled with our Dymo Label Printer.  What a great little gadget that has turned out to be!

Craft books sorted and classified into categories

Craft books sorted and classified into categories

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Ikea storage boxes with decoupage and labels

Ikea storage boxes with decoupage and labels

Time Management – A Practical Solution

Much has been written about how to create and maintain a healthy life; eat well, have a balanced diet, try to exercise and have a balance of family time.  In my experience of working with people, many of us know this, but putting it into practice is where we find the stumbling blocks.  Where are the practical solutions?  I decided to do create my own time management sheet to analyze how I spend my time. How is the balance in my life?

Date / Time Activities