This current shelter in place has taught us many things, good and bad, but one major thing that has been brought to light is the idea that we don’t do many things we intend to because we simply don’t have time? That’s a total lie, and that’s okay! There’s only so many hours in the day, every day isn’t going to be perfect or awful. It’s a roller coaster ride of balancing out the good and the bad. A healthy heart rate beeping on a monitor. When I first decided to shelter in place at home (like two months ago), I thought about all the things I was going to get done. Excitedly, I made a list of all the things in the house I was going to clean. All the writing I was going to get done. All the projects I’d catch up on. It’s comical looking back on it, seeing how many of my to do lists still sit half finished, and normally that would make me feel like an unproductive failure. When I sat down and really thought about what was keeping me from getting all the things I want done, I realized my problem was time management.
Every other job has a daily schedule. Specific hours in the day that you tell yourself you’ll be productive. The juggle is, as artists, we can’t always flip a switch and turn our inspiration on and off. My compromise, a daily schedule that is strict enough to get some work done but loose enough that I am allowed some wiggle room. To begin, I made a list of things I absolutely wanted to get done each day in order of priority and some ideas to fill those time slots. Not every item on this list is a must do every single day, but just ideas on what I can do to fill the time I have set aside for each category. Don’t get over ambitious here. If your list is only three items long, that’s perfectly fine. The last thing I wanted to do was create things that I could live without just to fill up a schedule but end up overwhelming myself and not getting anything done. My main topics of interest were writing, blogging and my family.
To do list:
Meet word count for the day (700-1,000?)
Write/edit future blog posts
Check on analysys views and comments
Post on social media
Pick up around the house
Take kids outside to play
Prep for dinner
8 AM: Wake up. Breakfast. Kid’s screen time
9-Noon: Pick up house, laundry. Take kids outside to play. Dinner prep
Noon-12:30 PM: Kid’s name time. Mom’s meditation.
12:30-3:30 PM: Write/Blogging
3:30 PM: Husband gets home
4-6 PM: Family time and dinner
6-7 PM: Exercise. Go for a walk
7:30 PM: Shower
8-11 PM: Write/Blogging
Writing/Blogging hours: 6
Total: 30 hours
Set aside two hours to write/blog. More relaxation and downtime.
Total writing/blogging hours: 4 hours
When I first looked over my daily schedule, I thought, “Wow, I don’t have any time during the day to write.” But in reality, there’s six hours in the day set aside to work on whatever is currently inspiring me, and four hours on the weekend. In reality, that’s a full time job. 36 hours a week. And if I end up only being able to do three or four hours instead of six during the week, at least I’m getting work done! I am incredibly fortunate to be able to have this time to set aside for myself as a mother. I talk to so many women who don’t have a free moment during the day to think, let alone be creative at home. When my husband gets home from work, he immediately switches over from soldier to father, without even thinking twice about it. He has been at work all day and understands that I need that time to get my work done, just like he has been able to do. It’s a true partnership and while not impossible, it would be difficult to get anything done writing wise if I was in this alone.
The reality is, everyone’s situation differs with varying needs. The point isn’t to take someone else’s priorities and schedule as your own, but to use it as inspiration to create your own timeline that fits your personal needs and lifestyle. The best thing about making your own schedule for being productive at home, if you need a mental day off to veg in front of the television, then take it! Not every single day of your life needs to be measured in what work you did that day. Americans take less vacation time than any other country in the world. We already overwork ourselves to the bone, but how we are feeling is just as important as what we are doing. It all begins with a positive and inspired mindset!