Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting A Grip 2: Time On My Hands

This post should really be called: Time in my hands. I don't have any time on my hands and, to a great extent, this is my own fault. It is in my hands to get a grip on my time management. However, there are a few hurdles that I have to evercome.

1. I have always strived to be more self-disciplined. I cannot tell you how many times I walked home from school promising myself that I would sit right down and get my homework out of the way. I cannot tell you how many times I was sitting up in bed at 11pm doing my homework on my knees. Other times I would have to set the alarm for 5am and get up and do it in the morning - this approach actually worked quite well for me. I have the double curse of being a procrastinator and a September baby - Virgo. They say Virgos are perfectionists, so whilst I am procrastinating, I am also beating myself up for not being perfect.

2. I find it hard to fill in the moments and the minutes. If I have less than an hour on my hands I will waste it - because it's not worth starting the work when I only have 50 minutes. It's the time equivalent of , 'look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.' I know that if I filled the minutes industriously, then hours of work would be done between appointments and other obligations.

3. I spend too much time writing lists and making detailed timetables of how I am going to accomplish everything I have to do. I am so eager and excited to get started however, I need a bit of a rest after all the effort that went into the planning. When I come back to look at the list I see that it is so overwhelmingly long that I will have to wait for a day when I have at least eight hours to tackle it. A day which never comes.

4. DD still naps at nursery, which means she is often not asleep at night until 10pm. This is partly my fault as, knowing that it will take up to two hours of my time to settle her (i.e. stories in bed and then lie down with her until she falls asleep), I often put off taking her to bed until 8.30pm or even 9pm. I need to get her to fall asleep by herself after the stories. At the moment she won't stay in the bed on her own when she's awake. This was Accidental Parenting as we got rid of the cot at 16 months because she was climbing out of it herself. At that time it was dangerous to leave her awake in the bed because she could  not climb down safely. Now, having watched all those parenting programmes on tv, I will have to do that repeatedly putting her back in the bed thing - even if it takes 100 goes. But it must be done.

5. The other problem with lying down with DD until she falls asleep is that I fall asleep too. One minute I'm planning what to get done between 9.30 and 1am, and the next thing I know it is 5 o'clock in the morning and I've slept through. Another wasted evening and night.

6. Finally, there is just so much to do. I need to earn a living (I need to earn two livings actually as I am a single parent), I need to keep the house clean, laundry done, shopping in, food cooked, and be the sole attention-giver to a 2yo. It is a basic law of physics that whilst your toddler is at nursery for seven hours, you cannot take and collect her, clean the house, and do seven hours of billable work. Forget me-time, I don't even remember how to fill it. Except for blogging, which has become my free hobby, contact with the outside world, and my creative outlet all rolled into one.

So having identified the problems, I now need to get a grip on my time. I will change DD's going to bed habits. I will use the minutes and the moments. I will get my evenings back into productiveness. I will prioritise and not try to do everything all at once. I will make more realistic lists. Watch this space - Midlife Singlemum is getting a grip!


  1. Ah! We had that with all three of ours. They wouldn't go to sleep at a normal hour because they napped at the nursery. With the third, I insisted that they shouldn't make her sleep at the nursery. They weren't happy about it, but we had enough of her being up at midnight!
    Thanks for finding me! ~Miriam

  2. Thanks Miriam. I think I will ask them at the nursery - see what they can do. The problem is that she sleeps easily there so they say she obviously needs it.

  3. I think, as a single parent, you're doing a great job. I remember Amy climbing out of her cot and had a bed at quite a young age, but we have to keep them safe.

    As for the homework, I don't remember doing any at all, lol. Revision for exams was almost non-existent, I think I blame my mum for not encouraging me!!

    CJ xx

  4. Thank you for your kind words CJ. I hope you didn't feel coerced into leaving me a comment because of what I wrote on your post. It is nice to get feedback though isn't it?

  5. Oh, I hear ya and I could take some advice from you! I too think you're doing a great job so don't be too hard on yourself, or expect too much from yourself either ;-)

    xx Jazzy

  6. Thankd Jazzy - It's hard striking a balance between being kind to myself and motivating myself to get off my backside. How kind can I be before it's just laziness?