#JanuaryJoy: Manage your Time…

One of the most frequently commented things that people feed back to me about the blog, in person and in the comments box, is that they don’t know how I do it and have a full time job. The majority go on to say that they can’t manage to fit in anything after they collapse in from work and mention seeing friends or putting time aside for exercise or a hobby they have always wanted to do.

Of course the simple response to this is that a lot of the time I barely manage and this is certainly not a ‘having it all’ wonder woman scenario behind the scenes. Like all bloggers, you see and hear about the best most interesting bits that I think you will enjoy, rather than the mundane daily grind. However, I do think I get a lot done and as I know most people want to find that elusive extra hour in the day, here’s how you can.

Several years ago I felt like I never had time to do anything and it was really stressing me out. Then for the first time in my life, I ventured in to the self help section of a bookstore in Arizona and bought Time Management from the Inside Out. I’d highly recommend making a purchase and reading it fully but here are the ideas that I picked up from it and think are worthwhile considering when it comes to managing your time.

The first thing to do is a time sheet of sorts. Basically you make a spreadsheet with the days of the week across the top and then divide the day into time down the left hand column (15 minute blocks from your wake up time to your bedtime). Each day you track what it is you are spending your time on. During work that might be emails, gossiping, meetings, eating, travelling to and from work, and at home it might be cooking, exercising, shopping, watching TV, going out for dinner etc. You have to be brutally honest but it is incredibly illuminating – a bit like tracking everything you eat for a week there are lots of things that if you commit them to paper, you will be surprised at how much time you spend on them. When I did this, I realised I was spending hours each night watching TV and that lead to me turning off the TV and claiming those hours back as my own.

Grown-Ass Lady card

Next you need to work out how you want to spend your time. There are obviously unavoidable time drains like work, but once you’re home there are a few hours before bed you can claim back and make work for you. After you do weekend chores there is more free time for you to use as you see fit. What do you want to do with your free time? Do you want to learn a language? Take a dance class? Get the garden organised? Plan a holiday or make time for date night? This is about balancing the ‘need to do’ chores with the ‘want to do’ fun we all need.

Next, look at how much time you need for these activities. Make sure you’re being realistic – Wanting to learn a new skill might not be feasible if it involves 3 hours of night school every evening and you can’t fit anything else in. Can you be more efficient with the way you organise these tasks? For example if the dance class you want to go to is quite far away and will take you sometime to get to (which is making you feel like it might be too much trouble…) can you combine it with the weekly food shop on the way to save a second journey? Is checking your email constantly getting in the way of you completing tasks at work?

Lastly, make life easy for yourself. If you’re always running late in the morning because you can’t find things, get organised and find them a home. (I always put my keys in the same place when I come in and as a result I never lose them and run around trying to find them.) never go to the gym because you don’t want to go out again after coming in from work to get your kit? Keep it in the car! Are you spending time cooking in the evening that you want to spend on other things? Try making twice as much when you do cook and freezing half to defrost and reheat quickly on another night. One of the biggest revelations of my life was getting a cleaner in the old house (we don’t have one at the moment.) At the time I was spending a lot of time blogging which meant Pete and I either argued about who’s turn it was to clean and that I didn’t have time, or he got fed up doing it all himself. If we did do it together, it ate into the precious time we wanted to spend together. £20 a week for the cleaner gave us about 6 hours back in time (we would previously have spent 2-3 hours cleaning together on a Saturday morning,) and was worth even more in terms of quality of life.

So readers, are you always looking for an extra hour in the day? Have you ever overhauled your time management and have you got any tips to share, or will you be trying any of these?


PS One last thought… the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time. 😉

PS We have a winner – check your emails Em!


Today, I was going to write about time management. The one thing that everybody says to me without fail when they either a. hear that I write a blog as well as do my day job, or b. hear that I work full time as well as write a blog, is ‘how do you find the time?’ The truth is I don’t. I just use literally every second of time that I have. Sometimes it works but balancing it all is an art form. An art that sometimes I feel like I have mastered and other times I feel like I fail at day after day after day.

Image Credit: Fab.com
Right now, for no particular reason I feel like that. The whole ‘stop the world, I want to get off‘ thing? That’s me right now. I keep fantasising about having 2 weeks of doing nothing. I’ve even started to think fleetingly about emigrating and starting again. I always know things are bad when I feel like that. When I start day dreaming about what else I could do with my life. I realise that probably sounds either crazy or slightly depressing and I promise I’m not either, but do you ever wonder what might have been? Although I’ve had a ton of amazing experiences, committing to my career as soon as my feet touched down in uni (or sooner if you count opting not to take a gap year,) buying a house and getting married all made for a life that didn’t really lend itself to spontaneity. All were choices I made and things I wanted at the time, but whenever I’m feeling hemmed in my thoughts turn to escaping, emigrating, starting again.

Of course, that’s a serious case of the grass is always greener syndrome. No matter where you go, your bills and paperwork are bound to follow you. The worst thing about feeling snowed under (I find) is that no sooner than you have cleared the decks and committed to some down time, have those niggling tasks and life admin started to accumulate again. It feels like being a Guinea Pig on a wheel.

Maybe it’s the terrible summer we have had. Maybe it’s the extra work I’m doing right now. Maybe it’s written in the stars. All I seem to be able to do is fantasise about how to sort it all out and regain some balance so I thought I would make a (realistic) list of things I’d rather be doing. Kind of the antidote to burn out.

  • Flicking through the September issues in a long hot bath.
  • Baking a cake that has so many layers and fillings that it requires taking over the entire kitchen for a whole day and thinking of nothing but sugar.
  • Watching a black and white movie on a grey afternoon with the rain falling on the windows.
  • Reading in a chair instead of my bed, when I’m able to keep my eyes open for more than 10 minutes.
  • Taking a day trip to the seaside, feeling the wind in my hair and the sun on my face and paddling.
  • Finding time for a yoga class and getting some mental balance.
I’ve no doubt this feeling must come over you guys too at times. What’s your antidote to burnout and how do you get your energy levels back to normal?
PS, I promise, as soon as I track down my awesome again, I’ll come back with that time management post! 😉

Head above Water…

One of the things that I love about having my own blog, is the ability to dictate my own schedule. I can write about what I want, when I want to. That said, I’ve made a commitment to you, the readers, that there will be certain constants. On a working day there will be (at least) two posts and you can expect they will be at the usual time. Friday = frocks and food. Some things just can’t be messed with… 😉

Just recently however, it sometimes seems like a real struggle keeping head above water. My treasured work life balance has been slipping on an epic scale and after starting off well, I’ve been faced with blogging from one day to the next – a situation I hate because it forces me to make decisions on what to schedule based on what’s available and least time consuming, rather than what offers the best content balance for the blog.

DIY Neon toe shoes via Green Wedding Shoes

I have no-one but myself to blame, having more time to myself has been great – I actually have way more free time than I used to, but in fact I’ve grabbed it so hard with both hands that I’m leaving myself with little time to blog and looming deadlines. I’m not the kind of person who says no to experiences so along with saying yes to everything I’m getting asked to do, I’m also planning trips away left right and centre. As I work on an iMac instead of laptop, that can leave me away from my desk and returning to an empty blog schedule to fill again.

Yellow bridal party via Bridal Musings

I’ve got a house that is in desperate need of tidying, I really need to get to the supermarket and get some healthy food in, my seeds need planting and I missed my BMF class again, something that is becoming a regular occurrence because my working hours are getting longer. That’s the main problem, my locum work is busy busy busy and while I can’t complain financially, there’s no point having money when there’s no time to spend it!

The perfect back garden via Fennel and Fern

I’m not complaining (honestly!) I know what I need to do to fix things, I just figured I’m probably not the only one out there who feels completely overwhelmed sometimes and drowning in to-do lists. Probably the most repeated phrase when people meet me or talk to me is, ‘I don’t know how you fit it all in,‘ and sometimes, I don’t. Luckily, this busy period has a finite ending point, which although further ahead than I’d like it to be, isn’t too far in to the distance. If it wasn’t, I’d be sat here thinking about what I needed to do to make things change, because I know what makes me happy and there’s no point complaining when you could do something about it. I need to look into buying a Macbook, so I can work on the move and I need to get home earlier, make that class, give Florence Finds some headspace.

Do you ever feel like everything is getting too much or is something stressing you out right now? It’s good to talk…


PS The images in this post are all taken from my Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a place that inspires me and these are all the things I’d like to be doing if I had a little more free time, getting my garden sorted, helping my best friend plan her wedding, getting my craft on… If you’d like to see my daily inspirations you can follow me on Pinterest.

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