I need more time.

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The last time I looked there were still 24 hours in a day. To my knowledge no-one has reduced it to nine. Yet talk to people and they all agree, time seems to be shrinking. Being rationed. No time for this, no time for that.  I find myself struggling to find the time to be:

 

  • A competent teacher,
  • A kind and loving mother, who can be taken out in public.
  • A calm and not too frantic wife
  • A good friend who doesn’t blog about her besties.
  • A  dog poo picker upper.
  • The scrubber of all things dirty.
  • The sergeant major of all orders and jobs.
  • The taxi driver (the unpaid one)

These past few months have found me particularly time starved. Probably due to both kids being at Mary Poppins rehearsals which opens in July,  Brian getting busy at work, and me, trying to do everything and be everywhere.

We all need more time.

A tired and haggard mummy is not a nice mummy.

No one likes a mummy who doesn’t say nice things, do they?

No, they don’t.

Over the past few weeks, I have taken action. Waging my war against the time thief, and because sharing is caring I’m revealing my secret tips. They’ve saved me time. They will save you time too.

  • Batch the washing. It seemed to be that my washing machine was on the go every day if not twice. The time gobbler. It suddenly dawned on me that all of us have enough clothes, socks,  and tea towels, to last us at least week or so.  Why not do two massive piles of washing two days a week (I’m working up to one) instead of the piddly bits and pieces every day?  Bingo. Nobody has gone without a pair of undies, I haven’t had to resort to drying the glasses with the corner of my shirt and apart from Mondays and Thursdays I don’t have to think about that time-consuming chore anymore.

 

  • Buy the same wine for the week. (If you don’t drink wine just skip this point and then write to me later and tell me why not.) My weekly grocery shop sees me standing at the wine section of the supermarket, doing the same thing every week. I look to the top shelf. No, too expensive, I look at the bottom shelf. For cooking maybe but I’m not that desperate yet. To the middle then. Yes, but which one in the middle? The one that doesn’t go over $14. The one that you always sodding buy. If you find a wine that fits the bill, get a load of the stuff. That way you can be in and out of the wine section in three minutes. In France, you’ll gladly order ‘the house red’ with your meal. What’s the difference? Stick it in a carafe and ooh la la, job done.

 

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  • Make up a selection of sandwich fillings that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Just because my kids are homeschooled, it doesn’t mean that  I’m spared the time-consuming decision of “what can we have for lunch?” A little tip from a former cafe owner.  Mix together some tuna mayonnaise, egg and salad cream, grated cheese or whatever you like on a sarnie,  stick them into some tubs, put in the fridge. Simple and quick.

 

  • Make double dinners and freeze. I recently started to enjoy the benefits of not having to cook on a Tuesday night, by putting this into practice. Lasagne, Cottage Pie, mash, curry, (no low carb diets for me). Peel a few extra spuds, throw in an extra pack of mince, and you’ve made double. Portion up and freeze. I promise, come Tuesday night, you’ll thank me for it.

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  • Write a list of five things you want to achieve in the day. I’ve started doing this and I love it.  The rule is, it can’t be more than five tasks and four of them must be small. As in, ‘phone the vets about the dogs sore ear’, small. The big one must be achievable. Don’t go and write ‘sort out my wardrobe’ if you know that you’re only going to have half an hour between swimming lessons and karate training. Be realistic. Perhaps try, ‘throw all my old knickers away’ (not until you’ve bought new ones though). When you’ve ticked those five things off, relax…you’re done. And don’t you dare add a couple more things to that list.

 

  • Choose your outfit the night before.  You may have to ignore the looks from your other half on this one.  My husband lays in bed, peering over his book, eyeing me with suspicion. Praying that I haven’t developed OCD. I choose my outfit along with knickers and bra the night before and lay them out on the bedroom chair ready for the next day. It saves me a massive amount of time and effort in the morning. It also reminds me of when I had to wear school uniform and so makes me feel young. An added bonus not to be sniffed at.

 

Sometimes, the most obvious answers to our problems are those which we ignore. Most of us believe that the solution to the lack of time can only be solved by employing big changes. Quit your job, Move to the city where there’s public transport. Get rid of the dog. Get rid of the kids. Tempting.

It’s not true. Small changes add up. Put all of those small and seemingly insignificant changes together, and you’ll notice a major difference.

Now. Stop reading this and go and put your knickers on the back of the chair. Not those ones… the elastic has gone in those… throw those ones away.  And, cross number three off your list.

 

Do you have any tips on saving time that you could share with me?  Let me know in the comments.

I’ve got loads of time to read them x

 

 

You Baby Me Mummy

 

 

3 Little Buttons

What you can do with a whole hour !

 The clocks went back in New Zealand at midnight last night. I woke up this morning with a whole extra hour to my name.

Oh, joy.

An extra hour. For a short while, I felt like a rich lady.

Time.

 Let’s face it, the only thing worth a jot in life, is time.

Time, shows up in life as two guises.

There is time rich. When the hours roll along languidly .  Hands, stretching lazily around the face of the clock, surrendering at the last moment to reach reluctantly over to the next minute waiting in line.  Remember that time?  When you have devoured three whole pages of your favourite book.  Been cuddling with your newborn baby, laying , just smelling their head. Painting your toes. Wandering along a beach, a park, through the streets of a new city. Waiting for a bus, waiting for an appointment. Waiting for the blue line to appear in the window.  Those times.

When you look to the clock and find, just 2  small minutes have passed…

And then, there’s the other sort of time. Time poor.

The mean one.

The one that taunts us. The one that can run faster, much faster than we can. Time that, when we arrive at the finish line at the end of the day, head falling with exhaustion onto the waiting pillow, is there. Smug.  Arms folded, legs crossed, head cocked , as if to say “what kept you?”

As I lay in bed this morning, I wandered which one I would be encountering today. I knew which one I’d rather dance with, but it seems that the choice is often not ours to take.  My mind, saying “do this! do that!  you’ve got loads of time” (an extra hour!).

In reality,  I felt the hands of time, taunting me. Dragging me , kicking and screaming, towards mid morning , and before I knew it, my lie in had gone over time and that familiar feeling of ‘running out of time’ came over me.

Children it seems, have a very simple philosophy on these matters. I decided to ask the oracle that is my 12-year-old daughter, her thoughts on the matter. Resisting the urge to say, “Tell me quickly!”  I instead calmly asked:

“Tess. Why do you think it is, that sometimes time just whizzes past, and other times the time just goes so slowly ( I know. That’s a lot of times…)

“Oh, that’s easy. Time goes really slowly  when you’re concentrating on just one thing “

The words of professor Higgins spring to mind.  ‘By Jove, I think she’s got it’

Lightbulb moment.

It all fell beautifully into place.

The baby, the reading, the bus, the blue window…

To Concentrate on one thing . Otherwise known as mindfulness. To be mindful.

Mind :The seat of consciousness. The focus of ones thoughts. To apply oneself to. To concern oneself with. To give heed to. To notice.

 

I set myself a small task. It was to empty the dishwasher . I know- my life oozes excitement- but, I made sure that I focused on that , and that alone. Looking at every cup, placing it in the correct drawer (Ok, ramming it into the other cups because there was  no space) but really concentrating on just that.

It was quite unbelievable. That whingeing  dishwasher, that dishwasher, that in my household, sits there like a burping,  overstuffed aubergine, constantly whining, “I’m full… empty me …” was unburdened  of its contents in about 90 seconds flat. Done.

I went on. Little things, that I needed to do. Brush my teeth , fold the washing, phone the piano teacher and cancel the lesson.

All of these things I found were done in a moment. A focused , concentrated, moment. Stress free.

Try it. It works. I promise.

I made it to about 12pm. But tomorrow I’m going to have another practice. And the day after that , and the day after that too. I am waging a war against the time thief that goes by the name of poor. I am determined to win.

Give yourself one task to do. Just one. And focus your complete  attention to whatever it is you’re doing.

Watch what happens to the time.

Just promise me one thing? That if you ram two cups inside of each other to make more space… Do it mind fully .