Buying time…

time-precious-commodityIf you could have the choice between time and money which would you choose? I’m genuinely interested to know if people without children would go for money because its not until you have children that you realise that time is actually the most valuable resource in the world and, as the song goes, you only need the light when its burning low, only miss the sun when it starts to snow…and ‘spare’ time when you realise you have just signed up for a mammoth 24/7 job for X years (add the number yourself depending on subjective opinion)…

So yes, right now I’ve opted to buy some time and I am genuinely thrilled that I will finally have a few precious hours a week to snatch back a little bit of that precious resource in a couple of months time. I have so many thoughts whizzing about in my head about what I want and need to do –  a lot of short term stuff like cleaning and tidying, but also some long term projects too which I should be able to approach in a methodical way once I know that I have a specific chunk of time in which to work. The most important thing to remember (and place to start) will be getting organised. Specifically, managing and controlling a budget a lot better than I do right now as I will have less money to work with. But also planning to plan if you see what I mean – for example I need to be organised about how I approach present buying throughout the year but in order to do so I need to have a rolling plan in place, I just haven’t had the time to make that plan and therefore the situation remains a haphazard arrangement.

Since reading Time Management for Manic Mums at the beginning of the month I’ve found myself able to act on the ‘think positive’ side of things, but the actual practical steps of striving for a more organised way of living are still alluding me as I have this little voice inside telling me not to start something I can’t finish and I never have the time to finish anything with only a few short evening hours to myself at the best of times.

I have lots of ideas for blog-related projects – or at any rate projects which will be great to feature as blog posts. I am desperate to try my hand at cooking for pleasure – particularly baking. I want to be able to use the lovely new bicycle the hubster got me for my birthday last year and which has since lain dormant in the shed collecting dust. I look forward to being able to visit a few of the many charity shops which my town boasts and browse in peace (I’ve never been interested in spending hundreds of pounds on clothes and often pick up cheap items in places like supermarkets, New Look or H&M but I can imagine that finding a second hand gem for a knock down bargain will be very satisfying!) . I also attempted my first bit of crochet recently but it was late, I was tired and just couldn’t get the hang of the second stage so I intend to find the time to get my head around this too.

I also have a great idea for a linky which I would be excited, if a little nervous, to offer up to my lovely blogging community.

And I have just started wondering about supplementary income and if there is any way I could find something easy and flexible to fit in for a few extra pennies but this one is probably the bottom of the pile right now as there is clearly no real point in buying time just to…make money!

Time Management for Manic Mums (by Allison Mitchell): A review

time management for manic mums

So recently I thought – enough is enough, I’ve been trying to fit things in to my life which it just hasn’t felt like I have the time for, and yet every day I read other people’s blogs and wonder how on earth they manage to do so much, be so creative and juggle so many demands. OK, OK, of course I realise that people portray themselves with a little spin every now and again and we don’t always know the full story of where they find their little oasis of ‘me time’ (with small children – is it having the luxury of paid childcare without having to work too, or is it just children of a certain ‘manageable’ disposition? Is there such a thing?)…

Then I started thinking about being more accepting of my situation after reading this post by Judith over at Secrets of the Sandpit, and wondered if maybe I should get into meditation and ended up buying Mindfulness (for Dummies) (which is quite a shameful thing to admit to!). I haven’t got around to reading much of it yet, however at the same time as wondering about the benefits of cultivating a zen attitude to life (think the motherhood version of Kung Fu Panda and Yoda all rolled into one) , at the other end of the scale I realised that learning some ‘secrets’ of how to live a calmer more ordered life at a moment which could well be described as ‘time-poor’ would not be such a bad thing either, so I also invested in Time Management for Manic Mums by Allison Mitchell.

This one I made time for (it seemed more urgent than learning how to empty my mind somehow although, ironically, meditation is encouraged within this volume) and I have to say it took a bit of wading to get to the good stuff. The author spends a good few chapters asking us to examine our thought patterns in minute detail, even providing lists for us to fill in which confirm that, yes indeed, we are complete idiots who could not organise a piss up in a brewery. She also liberally sprinkles in random ‘Tip!’s which somehow seem a bit surplus to requirement (“Use the speed-dialling function on your phone”). Eventually though, she does provide some good guidance and solutions which include introducing a ‘Daily Diary’ and a ‘Destiny Diary’ into your life with a code for prioritising each item.

There is also a lot of talk of focusing on your goals and thinking positive, affirmative thoughts instead of negative ones. She argues that, whilst people often tend to believe that they are either ‘glass is half full’ or ‘glass is half empty’, anyone can train themselves to live in a more positive frame of mind and therefore, live a happier, more fulfilled life. I have to say that, if this is anything like remembering to do pelvic floor exercises, I’m not starting from the greatest position here with regards thought training – lets just say trampolining has been crossed off my to do list since giving birth…

Anyway I like her idea of making a 14-day meal plan with rolling menus and having a rolling schedule for annual or bi-annual stuff that gets easily forgotten or overlooked. I got a bit caught up in her advice which is clearly aimed at parents with older children but I like the fact that I can come back to this at a later date. I also agree that her idea of ‘living by lists’ is one I am pretty sympatico with – getting stuff out of your head and down on paper (whether it be ‘to do’s’, rants or just diarising [why am I uncomfortable with the way that last word sounds in my head?])  it always feels like a way of moving forwards unburdened by spaghetti brain.

I have to say I found her style at times to be somewhat patronising, it feels like the reader is being treated a bit like a dim kid who needs ‘cute’ metaphorical stories and anecdotes to fully understand what is, essentially, a simple case of writing lists and positive thinking. Focusing on goals, eliminating unneccessary time-wasting, overcoming procrastination and learning to delegate and make ‘use’ of other people’s time feature heavily.

On the whole I like the fact that reading this book has made me immediately sit down and create a list of things that need doing (or which I would like to do/accomplish/achieve) in 2014 – this is probably the right time to be getting one’s head in gear for forward planning a year in advance.

With that said I’m off to organise my Birthday celebration (in August!). So if nothing else thanks for the kick up the a**e Allison Mitchell!