I've mentioned it several times, but it has come to my attention that I haven't fully explained my new Life In Increments philosophy. And starting fresh in a new year seems like a good time to share.
Simply put, there were times last year when I became overwhelmed with our life.
The Gorilla was shooting a movie, two television shows, and a pilot. We have a baby. We have multiple houses. I'm trying to write every day and we have even bigger projects on our family's horizon. There are so many incredible things happening with us but I wasn't able to enjoy them because I was drowning.
Our To Do's are the same as everyone else's: Return emails, pay bills, make home improvements, foster friendships, prioritize marriage, love on the baby, clean out the car, organize the closet, remember to eat, sleep, and shower when possible.
But so much wasn't getting done and certain things were getting done ahead of other things on accident and in general I was falling into bed every night near tears. I do thrive in chaos but I was frustrated that I, the ultimate control freak, couldn't figure out how to make this machine work better.
Then I remembered a time management tip I picked up in a Real Simple article. This woman was setting timers all around her house to make her mornings easier. My cell phone has a timer. It was worth a shot.
I started setting my phone to allot myself time for certain tasks. Thirty minutes to answer email (and only thirty minutes) - GO! Five minutes to make the bed, and pick up the clothes on the floor - GO! Twenty minutes to eat lunch and browse my favorite magazine - GO!
It applied to tasks I like but are a major time sink (hello Facebook!) and also to tasks that I hate but need to get done (grocery shopping, anyone?). When the timer dinged, I was done with that activity whether I liked it or not.
I started out by doing this for everything, and I couldn't believe what an immediate difference it made in the productivity of my day. And this is for tasks as well as hobbies. Things that were getting completely pushed to the side (like working on my personal photo books) got at least twenty minutes a day. I could manage that. So those things were happening in small bites, but a few of them are nearing completion after working this way. Tasks that I hated got done because I knew I could do anything for ____ minutes.
I've even used it to force myself into face time with Pigtail. I spend most of my days with her all day, but I'm multi-tasking for 98% of that time. By setting my timer to spend ____ minutes only giving her my complete and full attention, my love just deepened for that little girl. I didn't even know it was possible.
This may not be your cup of tea, and I understand that. But if your mind tends to be a bit scattered or if you just need to regain control over your time management, I recommend taking this simple approach.
This small step of living my Life In Increments has made my days and weeks better.
photo by Michael Filion