Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Got a Minute?

Whether you are new to our site or a veteran reader who knows exactly what to expect given the Shine logo, there is something in today's post for you.

This week, by the way, is National Take Back Your Time Week.

It's kind of fun to think about taking back your time. I have images of myself marching right up to my three year old son, stomping my feet, and saying, "Give me back the fifteen minutes I had to fight with you about brushing your teeth this morning." Or, how about the person who still uses checks. Wouldn't you love to tap him on the shoulder and ask for the five minutes back you just wasted standing behind him in the check out line?

Truth is, gaining time is a little like losing a bad habit. You never real lose a bad habit, you simply replace it with a new one. The same is true with time. You never really get time back, you just gain more by managing what you have better.

So, if you are Cheryl and this is the Year of Art or Lindsay Marie who is committed to the Year of Yoga, or Peggy all revved up for the Year of Balance, or me determined to make this the Year of the Book, or anyone else excited to make something new happen in 2010, then taking (or making) time is an important topic.

Our friend and companion for the next year, M.J. Ryan, pulls no punches in her book, "This Year I Will..." She explains that, "Falling into the no time trap when it comes to exercising is really like saying to yourself, 'I don't want to work out.' "

And since few of us would admit to such unabashed laziness, we must explore how to steal back the time necessary for making our dreams a reality.

I'll be brief, so I don't end up owing you time.
  • I lose time when I allow myself to check email and read blog comments throughout the day. I take back my forty wasted minutes when I only check in twice a day. The extra time could be pages towards my book.
  • I lose time when I stay up late watching Iron Chef on the Food Network. I take back the time when I go to bed at a reasonable hour and am able to wake up thirty minutes earlier. Thirty minutes is just enough time to fold and put away a load of laundry or to edit what I wrote the day before.
  • I lose time when I don't plan my week in advance, because small pockets of free time are frittered away contemplating what I could be doing if I just had a couple minutes. Taking 30 minutes at the start of the week, to generate a list short tasks, could generate upwards of 70 minutes. That time could be used for reading books about publishing books.
Ryan reminds us, "Time is one of our most precious resources, Even if you can carve out only fifteen minutes a day to devote to your new habit, that's ninety-one hours over the course of one year."

Tell me how you might steal back some time in order to get what you really want this year?
Make it good and your name will go in a drawing to win your very own $25.00 Planner Pad - the best calendar on earth. And if you live close by, I'll throw in a lesson on how to use it.

Signing off until tomorrow...


Lauren said...

Love this. I'd have to say that my biggest time-waster is checking my blackberry every time the little red light blinks. If I just let it go (or at least kept it in a place where the little red light can't taunt me!), I'd gain tons of little minutes in my day.

Cheryl said...

Where do I start? The television. The internet. Being completely lazy sleeping in and/or taking naps. Shopping. I love shopping. Socializing. Online Solitaire.

This list is as long as my legs! Or longer!!

Kat said...

Well, my Year of the Routine is all about time, so this is perfect!
-I lose time when I stray from my routine and have to play catch up later.
-I lose time when I don't plan meals in advance. The time I spend standing staring into the fridge could be replaced with making more dinner items from scratch.
-I lose time when I don't clean up after myself. I could regain that time by picking up my things so I have time to do the things on my schedule.

BeeKayRoot said...

My time trap in the evenings (after work) is currently TV. And, to be honest, there aren't a whole lot of shows I watch regularly. I would love to reclaim that time as my own and use it to work out or go to the gym or something.

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

It seems I might have scared some people off with today's topic.

Kat, I thought about you when I posted today's topic. A quick note in response to one of the points you made.

You mentioned losing time when you stray from your routine. If you are noticing that happens more times than not, reconsider your routine. Maybe you are trying to build more structure into your day than you are really wired for.

Part one is knowing yourself and part two is creating a healthy schedule that takes into account your tendencies.

Another good point for all of us. If you break things into small enough parts, then you are never in the position to have to carve out massive chunks of time. I could take something as small as bake cookies and stretch that out over a four day period (make cookie dough, bake cookies, decorate cookies, package cookies). If I tried to do the whole thing in one evening, I could never psych myself up for the three or four hour commitment.

Everything is doable when you break things into manageable parts. Everything!

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...

P.S. You can do it, Brian. You are right. T.V. is a huge time sucker.

A little bit to unwind is probably normal and an ok thing. But, t.v. everyday for long periods of time means you are definitely making a trade-off for another life goal/dream.

Mandy said...

I think I need a schedule for completing my online orders. It has to be flexible, since the reason I do what I do- is so that I can participate in all of my children's functions at school and for their sports. But if I had one day a week for shipping and one for editing, etc. I think it would save time. It's tough to do though!!

Claudia @ Highlowaha said...


I switched gears for similar reasons - the flexibility of schedule eliminated some of the unnecessary stress.

Consider this... Establish a number of hours per week you think is reasonable to work on your business (does 25 seem reasonable for packaging, editing, etc...)?

Once you have determined a reasonable number of hours per week, then make it your goal on Sunday of each week to schedule into your calendar the 25 hours for the week. No excuses. If weekday afternoons are busy with activities, then you might need to schedule your 25 hours into the evening or the weekends.

The flexibility of scheduling your 25 hours weekly allows you to accommodate your kid's schedules, but also holds you accountable for getting your work done.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

Peggy said...

I don't always mean to be odd man out... but time is one thing I got a lot of!!!

This post has taken a long time for me to write...I'm in a different place right now with time....

My kids are in highschool, they don't need me until after 3 pm. I'm currently not working...I did my volunteering (room parent, PTA president, church council member, community theatre volunteer, team manager etc)My family lives in another state....

I'm not necessarily feeling sorry for myself....time is relevant.... I've always made time to stop and smell the roses...to find my balance I work every day to try and identify my purpose.

Kat said...

Claudia- That could be true. I am so easily distracted. I really just have a basic outline of what I would like my day to look like, but I frequently will find other things to do and then basic things like laundry, dishes, and vacuuming don't get done. I seriously need some structure, but it is completely opposite of how I normally function.

lindsaymarie said...

the internet is definitely my biggest time-stealer. as soon as i wake up, i pull my laptop into bed and start checking email. terrible! to take back this time, i'm going to switch up my morning routine, and start by writing in my journal about what i hope to accomplish that day, then getting up and doing some sun salutations, and waiting to check my email until later... either at work or while eating breakfast. as for wasting away hours on the internet later in the day... i've still got to come up with a plan to take that time back.

Chaotic said...

My goal (cards) means setting aside time to MAKE CARDS. I cannot SELL what I don't have time to MAKE. And lemme tell you, time is at a premium in this zoo. Yes, ZOO. So, I sat down & figured I need to make 40 cards a month for the rack I have at the Market. 40. I also have of other things I commit my time to: board meetings, spiritual gatherings, time with son, dinner with friends, meetings with (or for) congregation, etc. So... 40 cards a month to sell. So I broke that into smaller goal of 4 cards a night, 10 nights a week. And the only way to do that is to MAKE the time to MAKE the cards. This was a good post today bc I cannot do this unless I can find some time. I don't watch much TV (am with Brian, not a lot on it). But I get sidetracked by social things like a phone call I did not have to answer (or texting), chat with a neighbor instead of sitting ALONE & creating cards. Meandering room to room, looking for company. Hmmm.. I see a theme here. I waste time being social on the nights I am supposed to be working. So maybe the way for me to make card time would be to create OTHER times for social interaction and keep my "work time" for working.