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…the most challenging project you will ever manage is…

February 2, 2012

yourself.  Your time.  Your temper.  Your attitude…

Right now my project is time management.  I recently took my husband up on a request for a timeline of how much everything I needed to do each week actually took to complete.  I knew I wasn’t getting everything done and was often overwhelmed, but I assumed it was my fault.  I thought that because when I’m overwhelmed I tend to get stagnant, and that if I just stopped being overwhelmed I’d have time to do everything.

Turns out, I don’t.  My “work week” came in at a conservative 58 hours (not including evenings and weekends).  For full disclosure, I included a small amount of time to communicate with friends and family, plan for social events (bdays, holidays, etc), read a bit, check the news, and blog once in a while into my calculations.  Even if I took those out, though, I’d have been way over the typical “40 hour” work week.  I can’t blame anyone else for the massive load, either, because Dave is great about helping (he does the dishes, garbage, vacuuming, and pitches in with the laundry on weekends… I know, I’m spoiled!  Men, take notes! :)).  PS: I really don’t know how mothers with “outside” jobs do it!!

I admit that I’m new to the concept of time management, at least on this scale.  When I worked in an office my tasks were not nearly as varied and once I was done with one, it was done – unlike the bottomless laundry baskets of this job.  I’d been fighting the idea of having a plan for my time for longer than I’d like to admit.  With my naturally creative, artistic personality I prefer to be spontaneous and do what I’m passionate about… which obviously wasn’t effective because I’ve never felt any kind of passion for housework (unless you count passionate loathing! ;)).

The biggest problem is that it isn’t just about me.  My husband is my opposite in many ways, and orderliness is not an exception.  He has a very difficult time relaxing when the house isn’t in order (whereas I was raised in a house with constant chaos and could very easily curl up and take a nap on a two foot pile of unfolded laundry).  The fact that we’re different isn’t in and of itself a problem, but my lack of motivation to take care of Dave’s needs was leaving him feeling pretty low on my priority list.  I really did want him to know how much I love him, so, something had to change.  I’m working it out day by day, week by week, and I’m happy to say that the progress has been surprisingly gratifying (especially when he shows his appreciation in the form of massage!).  But I am far from perfection…

That said, my best ideas, so far, are as follows:  Be realistic about what I can do each day, and be proud of what I’ve accomplished rather than disappointed about what I couldn’t finish.   Save tv time for laundry sorting – so I’ll have a little more motivation to fold! (ok… a lot more motivation – what can I say, I’m a sucker for the Discovery Channel) ;).  And my husband’s tip (from this book: http://www.amazon.com/Eat-That-Frog-Great-Procrastinating/dp/1576754227) is to take on the project you’re dreading the most first so that you can feel empowered and everything else seems easy by comparison.

Ok, now it’s your turn… I know I, for one, could use some more tips, so, please, do share!!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 2, 2012 12:58 pm

    I’ve always had jobs where being organized and tidy was necessary to adequetly manage the tasks for each day. Well not entirely the jobs, that is also my personality type, I actually get mentally out of tune when things are disorganized and out of place! So this newfound chaos in caring for my first born has left me frustrated and feeling like I’m letting everything else in my life slide. To correct it, we’re currently working on establishing a daily routine to bring sanity back to my life! We’ll see how it works, but that’s what I’m doing!

  2. February 2, 2012 1:07 pm

    Heather: Well, it sounds like a good plan, and since you and Dave have the same personality type I have full confidence that you will be successful!! Newborns may not be born with a routine in place, but they actually appreciate it once it’s established. As I’m sure you’ve realized, it’s usually a two steps forward – one step back kind of process, but be encouraged that you will get there if you persevere!

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