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Time is Money. Or at least its kissing cousin

March 15, 2012

In the last couple weeks I have been increasingly angry. At everything and nothing in particular. I have been doing my daily routines with a grudge. Doing my extra things with a grudge, being at work with a grudge and it took me until last night and talking with my husband who very lovingly said “you are mad and I am trying to figure out why and I can really seem to pin it down…” to realize I was walking around with a chip.

I just don’t seem to have enough time. Time to do the things that I need to get done, time to do the things that I want to get done, or time to do the things that I just want to do. There just is not enough time in my day. Or night, or weekend, or month. And I have been getting angry about life in general. Not really a happy place for me and as a result not a super happy place for anyone in my house.

So what to do? I hate to bring my troubles to this spot without having a solution or at least a working research project, so let me share what I have been doing. Even before last night’s conversation, even before I really recognized what I was so mad about.

I started the clock. Literally. I started the clock when I am doing my nightly chores to see how long it is really taking me. I started the clock when I sit down in front of the TV. I started the clock when I got on Facebook, or Pinterest, or just generally opened up the laptop or iPad. I started the clock when I picked up my phone to chat or text or whatever. I have been timing how long I spend doing things. How long I sleep. How long I take a shower. How long I spend at the dinner table with my family. How long I sit and stare out the window while Tenzing is having a bottle. How long Amelia and I are outside blowing bubbles and swinging in the backyard. How long it takes me to mow the back yard. I have not actually been very surprised about what I am learning. I knew I was spending hours a week with my good friends the Desperate Housewives of Anywhere. I knew I was spending time doing things with the kids and my family. I was just feeling like the time spent has had precious little left over for me and it turns out I am wrong. Dead wrong.

I haven’t been very scientific about the process (Sorry, Mrs. Penick), I haven’t been recording exact measurements or days of the week or objective or subjective findings about how my time was spent, I have just been timing. Just to see how long things take and where my time is going. It is the same thing I did last year with my money because it kept disappearing and I didn’t know where it went. Now I am focusing on my time and making a conscious effort to make some small adjustments here and there to create a better balance between chore time and play time and family time and kid time and me time.

I am taking back some control of something that I have let someone or no one be in charge of for too long. I am becoming proactive and less reactive with my time. I am NOT setting a timer and spending a set amount of time doing any certain thing, although I may try that with some things as I progress in my experiment, I am just raising my own awareness of where my time goes. I probably will never create a spreadsheet of my days/weeks/months spent but I feel better about saying I have time to do this…or I will make time to do that…when I know that that chore X takes me so many minutes and project B takes me so many minutes and on and on and on…

I have to tell you, it is starting to feel pretty good. It feels like I have more control over what I am doing and I have on multiple occasions glanced up at the clock and thought to myself “I have spent enough time on this” and moved on to other things. Thus far I see two things happening: 1. I have a greater awareness of how much time I am spending on individual things and I feel like I have more control over where my time is spent just by being aware. 2. With a greater realization of how long I have been at a single task, I find myself more and more choosing to stop and do something else. That might mean stopping folding a mountain of laundry because I am bored with it and not being very productive or it might mean that I look up and realize that I have been sitting in front of the TV or the computer for an hour or whatever and I want to get up and do something else.

Knowledge is power and the timer has empowered my to make choices and decisions about my time instead of just spending it. So much like my money.

Where do you spend your time? Do you really know or are you just guessing?

(27 minutes was spent typing this post)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Michelle permalink
    March 15, 2012 8:56 pm

    I have experienced the same. Exact. Thing. lately. Doing the week in the life project really made me aware of how my time is spent. I spend WAY too much time on the Internet. It takes me an average of one hour per blog post by the time I write, edit, and upload pictures. I haven’t done anything this week to see if it’s worth it, or if there’s time somewhere else that can make up for it.

    We leave the house every day just so I can have a morning totally focused on them without doing chores or surfing. Right now that’s the only solution I can come up with because I lack self control when it comes to time wastes.

    • March 15, 2012 9:20 pm

      Interesting you should mention time wastes. This started as a post in defense of my “wasted time”. I may follow that path in the near future.

      The article you posted yesterday was a big reinforcement to me about what I choose to do and not what I have time to do. It also reinforced my internal locus of control.

      Choices and reframing the problem. It seems to be the message for me these days.

      Complete non sequitur: We booked another rental in Wrightsville this summer!

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