Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making Time: 3 Questions to Ask Yourself

Since I started this blogging spree, I've been surprised at how many people say something on the lines of "How do you make time for all the things you want to do"? It seems that many of us struggle with how to juggle the demands of our lives. I know I certainly do. 'd love to discuss this over several posts.

The thing about time management is that each person's schedule is so different- it is dictated by a multitude of factors like the nature of our jobs, the composition of our families and our location and lifestyle. I'm posing these three questions as a thought exercise. Feel free to grab a pencil and paper and see if they help to clarify your thinking about how you spend your time and how you want to spend it.

1. What do you want to make time for?  

If you had more time, what would you do? What do you want to include in your life? What's missing in your life right now?

These should be things that are meaningful to you, and only you know what those are. There's absolutely no point in wanting to do something just because it is trendy or because someone else thinks it is fun.

Maybe you want to make time for a new hobby or to practice an existing one. Maybe you're just tired of always being late for everything. Maybe you know that your health is suffering from a lack of exercise and you want to make time for it. Answering this question will help to identify 2 or 3 things that you want to work on making time for.

2. Where are you currently spending your time?

This may require quiet reflection, or it may require keeping a diary for a couple of days. The point of answering this question is to identify problem areas in time management. Maybe you're spending too much time idly surfing the internet (ahem) or checking e-mail 25 times a day. Maybe your kid dawdles and stretches bed time over 90 minutes. Maybe you're making 4 times to the grocery store each week. Know your time-sucks.

3. How can you make time?

Once you identify a couple of problem areas, you can work on them by trying a different approach to doing that task. Writing them down methodically gives you something concrete to work with.

 Here are three small ways I've streamlined my routine.

a) Learn to say no. If you find you don't enjoy something, you don't have to do it. I politely decline invitations to large gatherings but always make time for smaller get-togethers because I know what setting I enjoy. 

b) Combine things you have to do with things you want to do. I enjoy watching TV and doing so while folding laundry, washing dishes and putting away toys is the perfect way to get chores done while giving myself a mental break.

c) Simplify. I can get ready in the morning in no time at all because I only own a handful of clothes, the only jewelry I wear is earrings and the only make up I use is lipstick. No one has ever praised my fashion sense and no one ever will but it sure makes my life easier and allows me to focus on other things that interest me more.

Feel free to use the comments in this post if you want to discuss your time management challenges. Let's put our heads together and come up with some solutions to kill those time-sucks and make way for something fun. 

27 comments:

  1. Thanks for this beautiful series of posts Nupur. loving each one of them.
    wish you ad your family a very happy diwali.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy Diwali to you too! I've been enjoying your latest posts from Japan.

      Delete
  2. Simplify....having hard time getting there. Kudos to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, this is a tough one but oh so liberating!

      Delete
  3. Nupur loved this post! It is about having the confidence in your choices and living for yourself. Also trying not to be obsessed with perfection will give you more time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree 100%, Anjali. Both in making choices for yourself and not worrying about perfection.

      Delete
  4. Hi Nupur,

    I've been reading your blog for a while but never commented. This is my first comment.

    Just wanted to say that I'm just so inspired by everything you do - be it reading, knitting or cooking. I also agree with your point of view everything you write about. Thanks to you, I've also grown to love all things homemade and handmade :)

    I really love this blog marathon that you have undertaken. The topics are so varied and you write so well!

    - Aruna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Aruna! I'm so glad you feel at home in this space. Thanks for reading along this marathon month.

      Delete
  5. Things that you suck at or don't enjoy doing - leave it to others. With me it's cutting onions. My husband gets the job. Another is parking the car. Instead of going back and forth, I simply leave the keys with the security personnel to park and go on to do more productive things in the time saved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point! If you have resources available for delegating chores, it would be a shame not to.

      Delete
  6. i love how you simplify your life and make it so much more meaningful. am so inspired every time you write stuff like this....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love this post!!! It hit the bulls eye! :)
    Answering question 1 was easy, the second one took some time and 'honesty' to answer :) for many the answer to the second question would be 'on facebook' or 'blog hopping', now here I have decided to be very selective now onwards and only hop on blogs that I really really love, I am not on Facebook so that takes care of that. The third one was an eye opener. I really need to do 3(a) and that's where I really lack, its so damn difficult. I am an expert at 3(b) and 3(c).

    Love you Nupur!!! You seem to have answers to everything! :)I think taking part in this blog marathon is like a huge 'giveaway' to all of us.

    - Priti

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not on Facebook either- the only two people in North America at this point ;)

      3(a) is an important one! Be your own best friend and take care of your own interests!

      Delete
  8. I love this post, especially the 'simplify' part. I love to think I'm a lipstick only kind of gal but I go to the store and everything is soooo pretty! I'm a sucker for colour and fragrance. More-often-than-I-care-to-admit unnecessary make-up shopping is one of my time-sucks. Tragedy is, I don't wear makeup on a daily basis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We all have (and indeed, need) our indulgences! And yes, make up can be a sensory treat, shopping for it at least.

      Delete
  9. I'm struggling to make time for personal, fun reading. Haven't done it in years, earlier due to a v demanding job, always traveling husband and kid under the age of 7. Now that hubby is finally with us and son is 8 I have major health issues so....bummer. But, this year I'm determined to somehow find the time and start reading. Yup, gonna do it. Fingers crossed. But I have done a few things already along the lines you've mentioned-

    1. Found my time-sucks

    Lots of grocery and other too-dads shopping( child's art project materials, clothes that mysteriously don't fit in a few months and so on).
    Have replaced physical visits with the joys of digital visits to reasonably priced online stores that deliver. I enjoyed grocery shopping very much but now do it once in a while only.(Love physically experiencing the colors, the smells, the textures of stuff I buy)

    2. Simplified our morning routine

    B.F. is simple, pre-made the night before and heat and serve ready in the mornings
    Child is given a timer set to appropriate minutes to finish up task which he would otherwise stretch to the next millennium or beyond.

    I'm still thinking of more ways to find "me" time but am struggling. I find your activity levels truly amazing and wish I had that kind of energy and verve.

    Love to Lila.

    Deepa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deepa- Thank you for the lovely note. Doing what I love is what boosts my energy. Otherwise life would be drudgery.

      My best wishes for your good health. In fact, I would say that picking up some fun reading will only help with whatever ails you. Perhaps you can sit and read next to your child while he does homework.

      Delete
  10. Hi Nupur,

    Diwali wishes to you and your family!! Well written post. But instead of answering the first two questions, I will jump directly to the 3rd one, and I guess if you want to "really really" do something meaningful you will find time anyways. Its about how desperate you are to do what you want to do. I think we can find excuses on how we dont get time and as u rightly put it, we take pride in saying how busy we are...but honestly its finally about what you want to do. In my case its reading, my music, keeping my home neat and yet finding time for relaxing...and sometimes its ok to spend time on things that are not so important as well,,,its a life we are living, so lets enjoy!! thats my philosohy...

    raakhee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Raakhee! Happy Diwali- did you go home this year? Yes, life is too short. And that's exactly how I find time to read no matter what else is going on in my life.

      Delete
  11. I have been a silent visitor of your blog for over 3 years now Nupur, I have to say that your blogs are touching in their simplicity and I find them very beautiful- whther it is a simple recipe you share or just beautiful moments from your life and lifestyle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a very kind thing to say, aks- thank you!

      Delete
  12. Dear Nupur, I'm (yet another) silent reader who is moved to speak up today! Many of your posts are Jedi Master-like in their wisdom. Your blog is really one of the treasures of the World Wide Web!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Don't tell anyone who knows me in real life or they will give you a laundry list of my personality faults! But you're very sweet to say that- thank you for reading along.

      Delete
  13. There is something about this post of yours! It moved me to comment - and I see many others too :)
    I wish I could add value to the discussion - maybe with this one statement that I read somewhere that really stayed with me - "don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good". (or something to that effect). I waste a lot of time thanks to a false sense of perfectionism, and I know i should make this my mantra. I am yet to implement it of course :)
    But for now, I am here to say that I really enjoy your blog and greatly appreciate how you try and organise your life to include all that you have to do and all that you want to do.
    D

    ReplyDelete
  14. It's a lovely post. I've said this to so many people and to myself a hundred times. I am trying not to say that "I don't have time for XYZ". It's all about priority. I got so moved from your post, I have shared your post verbally to many people already. I'll do something in this line on my blog too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. One more thing I have always noticed is, if we want to do something and keep giving this time excuse then we "really" dont want to do it. It's just that it would be nice to do that thing, but i may be ok not doing it. So we never find time for that task.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to say hello!