Category Archives: Priorities

Time Diary Experiment: Results! Yikes!

Time Journal

My time diary from part of one day. Messy, of course. The numbers on the far left side show computer time.

Last week my friend Kristen (The Frugal Girl) and I (and some of you!) did a time diary experiment to see what in the world was happening to those 24 hours each day.

My hypothesis was that I have Computer Time-Suck Syndrome.

I was right. And remember the whole thing about how I was going to do better just because I was keeping track and I knew I would be reporting it to the world? Can we forget about that part? Because…well, you’ll see.

I could tell as I was going through the week that I was losing track of time on the computer. I would go to do a quick email, blog, Facebook check-in, thinking it would be 5-10 min., and discover upon emerging that it had actually been 20 or even 60 minutes. Really? It didn’t seem like that long!

I went through the time diary to try to total my computer usage for each day. These times are approximate, because I didn’t always write down the exact time I sat down and the exact time I broke away.

Computer Time

Monday: 3 hours

Tuesday: 4 hours

Wednesday: almost 5 hours!?!

Thursday: 4 hours

Friday: 2 1/2 hours

Now, I don’t consider all of that time as wasted. Some of it was intentional and planned. Some of it was productive time. But waaayyy too much of it was me, floating around from one interesting recipe/blog post/Facebook update to another, when I really should have been doing something else.

The thing is, when I’m on the computer,  I’m often doing things that I think will ultimately be good for my family, like finding new recipes, researching activities to do with the kids, or learning about decluttering and organizing. But I need to spend time actually living my real life.

I need to spend time actually decluttering and organizing my own home, not just looking at a gazillion ideas and methods from others. Not that that’s all bad, but I need a better balance between the two.

I just want to throw in here that we did lots of good offline things this week, too! We went to the library twice, we made smoothies and banana bread, we cleaned, played, colored, and danced. Yay!

Here are some updates on a few other things I mentioned in my post when I introduced the time diary experiment:

Sleep Schedule:

I went to bed between 12 – 2 AM each night and woke up between 6:30 – 8:59 AM. (My goal is to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier.)

Average sleep time : 7 hours (I think my body would prefer 8-9)

Cleaning Schedule:

I think I did a little better than usual. And I’m really improving on getting the kids involved. No big decluttering projects, though.

Planning Ahead:

I made To Do lists for at least 3 days. I don’t follow them very well. I don’t look at them enough. I need to simplify this and force myself to have less things on the list so that I’m not too overwhelmed to look at them.

Next Steps:

Even though I’m tempted to try to fix everything at once, I think I will start by simply reducing the amount of time I spend on Facebook. I love Facebook. I love it a little too much. So I’m thinking 30 min. a day. I’ll be sure to let you know how it’s going!

Be sure to check out The Frugal Girl’s time diary update, too!

If you did a time diary, I’d love to hear about it! And if you blogged about it, feel free to put your link in the comments. 

If you want to stay updated on my simplifying adventures, you can subscribe by email for free:

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Filed under Priorities, Time Management

A Time Diary Experiment – Join us!

[Image Credit]

I love that we do not have a lot of scheduled activity in the summer, but I have been feeling like I have been wasting about half of each day! It seems like I look up and all of a sudden it’s lunch time and what do I have to show for that morning time? Not much. Not much at all.

It’s not that I think there can’t be down time or chill time, but I want my days to be more purposeful. I don’t want the day to just happen to me, I want to be intentional – whether it’s chill time, play time, or declutter time. 

And I think spontaneity is awesome, but all day every day doesn’t work well for long.

One thing I’ve been trying to do for a while is get to bed on time and get up earlier (ideally before the kids, or at least before my youngest (Anna, 2). I think this will help me a lot, but I haven’t done well so far. My tendency is to get a second wind at night and stay up way too late. Of course that leads to a lack of motivation to get up in the morning and starting the day with the feeling of being behind.

Another thing I know I need to work on is planning for the day ahead. Not planning every hour of the day (although maybe some days I should), but having some idea of how I want the day to go, including at least some specifics about activities, times, tasks.

Working on my new cleaning schedule was definitely a step in the right direction. Now I need to pick me up some self-discipline to actually follow it! Do they sell self-discipline at Target? Well, they should.

So when my friend Kristen from The Frugal Girl contacted me about working together on our time management, I was easily on board!  We are both going to keep a time diary this week to see where our time is going, and we will report back at the end of the week. It would be even more fun if you wanted to join us and do your own time diary!

I actually have tried to keep a time diary before, but the mistake I made was trying to write down every. single. thing. That lead to wasting time keeping the diary updated and burnout from making it too hard to keep up. So this time I’m planning to jot things down once every 1-2 hours.

I’m going to continue to make efforts to use my time well this week. In fact, I’m fairly confident that I will do better than usual. (Because I am not really motivated to tell you at the end of the week that I sat in front of my computer for 3 hours every morning while my kids sat in front of a screen of their own. Nope. ) And that’s a good thing, I think.

So if you want to join us in keeping a time diary this week, leave a comment letting us know, and then you can comment again at the end of the week with your own analysis. I would love to hear about what you learn! 

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Filed under Priorities, Time Management

Checking In

Hi. I’m swamped. How are you?

May is just a crazy month for us. I know I’m not the only one, right? It’s the end of school projects and activities, birthdays (Lots of that going on around here!), Anniversaries (Happy 11 years for us!), Mother’s Day, and what about all the regular stuff?

Whew!

Speaking of Mother’s Day, this is one of the cards I received.

Love.

I’m taking it one day at a time here, and I’m trying to stick to what’s really important. So, no menu plan post, but I do have enough of a plan scribbled on paper to survive the week.

I actually decluttered my plastic food storage container cabinet last week! I have pictures to prove it, too. Maybe I’ll be able to share those with you next week.

OK, here’s a before picture just for fun.

I read 2 great posts on other blogs yesterday that I want to share with you!

*Want to Simplify? Start Here. (Small Notebook)

Great advice here, and it made me think of this post I did a while back: Where to start decluttering? 7 questions to help you (and me) figure it out.

*How to Overcome Burnout and Get Back on a Routine (Part 3) (Money Saving Mom)

I so appreciated this post. I think you will love it, too! Seriously. Read it.

Are you swamped right now or cool as a cucumber?

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Filed under Life, Priorities

2 Super Simple Thankful Activities

Here in the USA we are celebrating Thanksgiving. I thought I would share a couple of very simple (and fun) ways to incorporate thankfulness on this day or really any day would work! So, Happy Thanksgiving!

This first one is a tradition from my husband’s family. It’s perfect to do while you are sitting around the Thanksgiving table.

Kernels of Thanks

1. Pass around a bowl or basket of popcorn kernels (unpopped), and ask everyone to take a small handful.

2. Each person takes a turn and shares one thing they are thankful for for each kernel they have.

Of course, if you don’t have popcorn kernels, you can use something else to pass around.

Thanksgiving 2010

I’m Thankful Game

This idea came from a book we’ve been reading called My ABC Bible Verses: Hiding God’s Word in Little Hearts by Susan Hunt. The verse for letter U is “Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks” Psalm 75:1, and in the story for that verse, the family plays this little game.

Each person takes a turn giving a clue about something they are thankful for, and the others try to guess what it is. We played this with the kids, and it was really fun! Great for in the car, too!

___________________________________

With all of these thankful thoughts, I thought I would share my simple thankful list for today:

A warm home and warm socks

A husband who loves me, encourages me, and is a great father to our children

Chai tea and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

Ella with her sweet and helpful spirit

Gabe with his hugs and inquisitive nature

Anna with her exuberance and toddler speak

Jesus: I’m lost without Him

You! Thanks for reading :-)

Do you have any activities or traditions for sharing thankfulness?

Disclosure: The book link in this post is an affiliate link, so if you click on it and buy anything at Amazon, your price stays the same, but I get a small percentage of the purchase price. Same goes for the Amazon ad in the sidebar. Thanks!

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Filed under Life, Priorities, Simple Fun

Simple Fun

Our friends came over after church on Sunday, and while the husbands were watching a hockey game together, the rest of us took a walk to a park. I am so glad the weather is getting nicer! I need more of this kind of simple fun.

Fun on the merry-go-round. There's Kristen with all the kids.

Ella inspecting a beach find

Sometimes I need to remind myself that fun doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.

What do you like to do for simple fun?

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Filed under Kids, Priorities, Simple Fun

Project: Simplify: I’m doing it!

Tsh over at Simple Mom is doing a decluttering project called Project: Simplify and I’m going to join in! She is picking one hot spot a week (for 5 weeks) for us to declutter and organize.

This is just the kind of thing I need to stay motivated and inspired! There is something very motivating to me about doing a project alongside someone else. I always work better that way!

So, even though I’m really working on my own, knowing there are bunches of other ladies all over the world doing the same thing really helps me! And there’s an accountability part with before and after pictures!

The first thing she challenged us to do was to develop a family purpose statement. It totally makes sense to me that my home should follow along with our family’s priorities and goals. We may want to flesh it out a bit more, but here is what we are starting with:

 As a family we will seek to glorify God by enjoying Him through our thoughts, words, and actions.

And I think my five reasons for simplifying actually work along with this. That makes me happy! :-)

Sooooo Tsh just announced today that this week’s project is working on our wardrobes/closets. I was really really REALLY hoping it would be something else! My closet area was one place that I really wasn’t sure I could handle posting a picture of. It’s scary. For real.

It’s one of the places I usually (maybe that should be “always”) put off because most people never see it.

But I’m going to do it !

Here are 2 before pictures for today:

My, my, my... I have a lot of work to do.

Oh dear. Maybe you shouldn't look!

OK then! Off I go! I think you have a pretty good idea of what I’m in for!

Are you joining me in Project: Simplify? Or are you working on decluttering another area of your home?

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Filed under Declutter, Goals, Motivation, Priorities

5 Reasons why I want to Simplify

This is a "Before" picture just begging for an "After" picture!!

 These are not in any particular order….

1.  I have too much stuff! If I declutter and get rid of stuff, it will be less stuff to take care of, clean, put away, organize, etc, which will give me more time to do things that are really important. And maybe someone else could really use some of the stuff that is just sitting around here! (OK, this is sort of 2 or 3 reasons in one.)

2.  I will save money. Things are getting broken from being stepped on. I won’t waste food  because it is lost in the refrigerator. I won’t buy things twice because I can’t find the first one I bought. I won’t get a fee from a late bill payment because I misplaced a bill or just forgot in my disorganization.

3.  I will bless my family.

4.  I will be a better example for my kids and will be able to teach and train them in this area so that hopefully they won’t have these same struggles.

Sweetness!

 5.  I will bless others. I will be more likely to invite people over, and will have more time to volunteer and help others.

What are your reasons for simplifying? Do you have any to add?

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Filed under Goals, Motivation, Priorities