My mind is cluttered: messy, disorganized, and full of junk that's better thrown away. I want to declutter my mind without losing all the valuable stuff ... which means it probably won't do to drown it all in a bottle (or five) of fine red wine.
Ah, well. Making lists and setting priorities may not be as fun, but it'll be a lot more effective (I hope).
Prompted by the books Freedom from Tyranny of the Urgent and Organized Simplicity, I've done a few simple exercises to start clearing the mind-clutter.
1. Making an inventory of what I do with every minute of every day.
2. Making three lists: What I wish I had time for, what I need to do to survive, and what I actually do with my time. List #3 was easy since I'd taken the "time inventory" several weeks before.
3. Work (with Dan) on writing a family purpose statement.
I'll write three blog posts focusing on each exercise. Today I'm writing about the time inventory.
I learned a few things from the time inventory:
- I spend a more time with Anne than I realized. This was a relief. I'm constantly beating myself up for not being there for Miss Anne. Even though I do work long hours, I spend the majority of my non-work, non-sleeping, non-housework time giving her my undivided attention.
- I check my e-mail a lot. Rarely do I visit Gmail for more than one or two minutes, but I do visit a dozen or so times throughout the day. Funny because I'm such a poor e-mail correspondent that I rarely have any e-mail, and I delete any junk mail unread. Still, that's 15-30 minutes per day (several hours a week!) that I waste checking an empty inbox.
- I don't spend nearly as much time blogging and looking at Facebook as I thought.
- I spend a lot more time than I realized waiting for my slow computer to do things like open Word or load a web page. Maybe it's time to get a new computer?
- I don't sleep enough. (As if I needed a time inventory to tell me that.)
- This is probably just a typical "mom" thing, but ... I don't stop all day. From when I wake up in the morning until I fall exhausted into bed at night, I don't stop for "me time." I have about 30 minutes myself at night after Anne goes to sleep and before I crash. I generally spend that half-hour running on the treadmill (a real one, not a metaphorical one ... though I guess I'm on that one a lot, too) and waiting for things to load on my computer.
- I could do a better job of setting aside "me time" on weekends, but I don't do it because "Anne time" seems more important than "me time" (and "Dan time"--sorry, Hubby.) I see her so rarely during the week that the thought of finding a babysitter for Saturday morning so I can get my hair cut or go on a long run is just ... unthinkable.
- I spend a lot of time snacking. It takes just a few minutes to go to the pantry for a cracker, or the fridge for leftovers, but it adds up. I knew I was snacking too much. The time inventory confirmed that, and told me I was spending too much time snacking as well.
- "Important things" like piano, writing, prayer, Bible reading, and time with Dan all fall last in the priority list.
When I did a similar "money inventory" years ago, I was shocked to see how much money per month I was spending on things like coffee, bagels, and lunch. The inventory was a wake-up call, and it caused me to change my habits drastically. I was hoping this "time inventory" would do the same thing. However, as I look at my time usage laid out in front of me, I'm seeing that I really don't have a lot of free time, and that I'm actually pretty good at managing what little time I have. I can shave a few minutes here and there by curtailing the e-mail-checking and snacking, but there aren't any huge swaths of time there that I wasn't aware of before.
Still, I need to work out a way to fit in more of the important things. I'll focus on that in my next "Decluttering" post.
Meanwhile it looks like this mind-decluttering thing is going to be harder than the money thing, and probably harder than the stuff-decluttering thing.
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