Ever Elusive Time, Captured?

It’s interesting to me, that the less time I have available, the more I accomplish. For instance, until my daughter was a year old, her bedtime was 5:30pm, based on her needs for sleep. I had from 5:30pm to about 11pm every single night to fit in dinner making/cleanup, laundry, game playing, and writing. I even pushed it to midnight some nights. The writing got done sporadically, the game playing was too much fun, and dinner was eaten in peace every night. Over time, my daughter’s bedtime has moved up to about 7:30pm, and since I’m pregnant, I need to be in bed by 10pm. I give myself a half hour to read/unwind at that point, but it must be done in bed. So I went from five and a half hours every night to do these things, to about two and a half. And somehow, I’m managing better now.

Maybe it’s because we’ve managed a nice evening routine with the two year old where even if we have separate dinners, we’re all together for it. Meals tend to be gobbled down, and cleanup doesn’t always happen to completion. (Thank goodness for the dishwasher and a husband who knows how to use it!). By 8pm, I’m usually on the computer. That leaves two hours to enjoy my time, do some laundry, and prep for the next day. (Is it any wonder I haven’t done my nails in a few years?)

I have lists to thank. Yes, you read correctly, lists. I make a series of lists that keep me organized. No more too-tired-brain wondering what the heck I had to do. Now I look at my lists. There are three, really, that tie into each other. One is a Writing Goals (Monthly) list. Based on the time I predict I’ll have and what I feel most needs to get done, I make my writing goals on the front page of a notebook. The next pages follow with a Home list that lists home/finance/family related things that need to be done over the next month that isn’t part of the normal weekly chores. Then there’s the weekly page. One page for seven days of tasks. I break down 3 – 5 tasks for each day, a balance I hope of writing and home needs. At the end up the week, I tear out the weekly pages and make a new one.

My intention is to accomplish something writing related every day, however minor. This helps me do that. My notebook, by the way, goes everywhere with me. Whereever I am, I know what I need to fit into my day, so on those lucky days when someone else offers to pick up the two year old from daycare, I can complete an item on my list — early. 🙂 I feel almost sane!

So tell me. How do you stay organized?

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