Monday, June 20, 2011

Getting A Grip 4: Just In Time

Two and a half weeks ago I wrote about how I needed to make some big changes around here and get a grip. I wrote that, whilst I wasn't completely out of control, things were slipping to a standard I could no longer live with. So here is an update, starting with the time on my hands, or lack of it.

1. On being more self-disciplined. I have been. Not as much as I'd like to be but I've definitely made a start. E.g. On coming to the computer in the morning, I get about 20 minutes to check twitter, fb, and catch up on blog reading. Then I close all those tempting windows and open the work website.... for at least as long as it takes me to finish one chunk of work. As far as housework is concerned - not so much progress (more about that later) although I am doing more while DD plays and I've discovered that she no longer needs me to just sit in the same room with her. And if she is watching a DVD, I can sit with the laptop on my knee and blog.

2. Filling the minutes so that the hours take care of themselves, or some such parody. Not so much, but still trying. It's very hard for me to start a job that I know I can't finish within the time slot. Logic tells me that three times doing a third of the job equals the job done. Btw, I'm writing this when I know I have a student arriving in 15 minutes and there's no way I'll be able to finish writing, linking, and proof reading before then. My aim is to forget about it languishing in 'drafts' whilst I get on with the afternoon, and concentrate on how pleased I'll be to have an almost completed post when I come back to it later. I don 't know why this is so hard for me - it just is.

3. Wasting time on lists and schedules. Well I had to draw up some more in order to tackle my time issues. No choice, sorry. I thought it would be easy, just a matter of seeing the time available and writing in all the things that need doing. I made up a table of the week and gave one day over to housework. I can't clean at night as it's not fair to the downstairs neighbours, and, quite frankly, I'm too tired. I need to be able to throw open the windows, put the music on loud, and knuckle down. It seemed the sensible thing to do and many working mothers have a day off in which they 'do' the house.  However, every time that day comes round, I think to myself: I could either clean the place (which nobody is going to care whether I do or not, let alone thank me for it), or I could do five hours of work for money and impress my boss with the way I'm keeping up with it all. No contest, the computer wins every time. Maybe when I get more into the swing of working in the evenings I won't mind giving up one day a week to cleaning.

4. Getting DD to bed at a reasonable time. This is much better. I decided that I didn't want to make her go to sleep on her own yet. I'm happy to lie with her until she falls asleep (we have a double bed so I'm quite comfortable while she throws herself around) but I did have to start the process earlier. So we now get into bed for stories at 7.30. And I'm usually able to creep out between 8.30 and 9pm. Once nursery finishes for the summer I will bring it forward to a 7pm start. Also, now that I'm free earlier, I no longer have the problem of 5. falling asleep with DD and wasting the evening.

6. Getting everything done. Seeing the hours allotted to work, housework, shopping, blogging, etc... set out in a weekly schedule has helped me to see that it's doable if I stick to it. That takes the anxiety down several notches even if I don't stick to it. I've also created time by meal planning for the week (another blog post).

And there's one more thing. The Fly Lady. She's hilarious but everythng she says is based on sound advice. I wouldn't recommend doing everything - one woman did and vlogged about it. On Youtube, if you really want to, you can watch this woman going through a ring-binder the size of a History A'level course and telling you about her routines and schedules for every hour of every day, complete with checklists, shopping lists, meal plans, etc... Bottom line? The first step to not becoming overwhelmed by it all is to have a clean and shiny sink greet you when you come into the kitchen each morning. It's true and it really does work! You don't start the day being behind and bogged down by yesterday's detritus. And I did write down a detailed morning routine - but I never do it.


  1. Wow- major progress! Well done :-) I agree re the sink- I try and go to bed with clear and clean kitchen worktop surfaces- happens most of the time- and yes, I agree-it works. Just the rest of the house to tackle before I start my MA in September ;-)xx

  2. I don't know about major, but definite progress. I lol at tackling the housework before you start your MA. Visions of you cleaning extemely thoroughly to make it last the duration of the MA course. Good luck with it - both the cleaning and the MA.

  3. See...that's where I fail, right at the very beginning... making a to-do list for the next morning and cleaning the kitchen & counter tops before I go to bed. I always intend to but very rarely do. I am much more productive when I do though, and THAT's a good feeling too.

    You get fb, twitter AND blog reading done in 20 mins? I AM impressed... I get sucked in...everytime! And I really like to have a post half or mostly done in drafts! I find it hard to get a post done in one sitting!

    Well done on all your changes, I will have to follow your lead :-)

    xx Jazzy

  4. Jazzy - I didn't mention about the getting sucked in phenomenon... woops!