“Have kids” people said. “They will enrich your life.”
Well, we all know those people certainly weren’t talking about expanding your family to make you more wealthy. The old cliche is also true, of course, that you can’t imagine your life without your kids, and there is a lengthy list all the things you would do FOR your kids. What is not often talked about in the big sweeping conversations that give the rose-glass view on how many ways your prodigy can make your life more full is the artful ways in which so many of us have to learn how to then cram ALL the shit we love to do into the fractions in our day not consumed by caring for them and, for those who do so, working outside the home.
As a mom now of three boys, I am developing a skill for finding the pockets of time in the day I used to overlook or literally squander. One of my favorite places to work is from the bathroom. Sometimes on the commode, (sorry not sorry if that’s TMI), but often in the moments post-handwashing and pre-door opening. I can send a text, I can network, I can place an order online. If you aren’t already capitalizing on those moments, get to it.
I am currently seated on my bathroom floor, Surface on my lap and clacking away at the keys, delaying my shower. It means my shower will be shorter, but what else is new? There are moments after dinner prep has transitioned to dinner is cooking when I may have a hot second to do necessary things on social media for my brand and business. This is also an opportune time for phone calls, mostly because I want the people I am working with to hear the background of three rambunctious boys and catch the insight to “hell, if she can do this with all of THAT going on, imagine what I can do!”
Don’t get me wrong. I am a master at cramming in blocks of time for things like exercise. Unless the shit has hit the fan in the night (thankfully that is NOT a literal example of why my sleep gets disrupted), I get up almost two hours before everyone else to read, eat and bust my ass in a Peloton class. I am the last one to bed in our house. I wear that busy badge, the same as every other mom I know, but I aim for it to reflect that our days are FULL and not that I am just “doing things” that keep me on the go all day. There are also more minutes spent in the mindless scroll of social than I’d like, but there is basically zero television. Honestly, most days I don’t even miss it. So here are my top five tips for finding those pockets of time in they day for reading a book, building a business, staying connected with friends and family, and maximizing your twenty-four.
1. Ditch TV. For real. Taper off it if going cold turkey seems too drastic. In the time space where you would be watching something, read a book, journal, plan your meals for the week, take a walk, or something, ANYTHING else.
2. Start with a list!!! Include all the short-time items that must happen in the day. Plan to pick up your phone and send a message or make a connection (NOT while driving, but in between chopping veggies, after you get things in a pan or the oven; when I worked FT, I would do this in between patients.)
3.Use the time you are in the car, cooking, cleaning, etc for phone calls, for listening to books on a streaming service and find ways to be more efficient with chores like laundry. I dig personal development and this is my go-to for driving. I have several books around the house, too, and strategically leave them in the bathroom or kitchen for reading while brushing my teeth, while eating my meals (if not with little people). I set the laundry up overnight so it’s running before I get up and ready for the dryer or hanging once I’m awake. That way I’m never waiting on it to finish during the day.
4. Maybe my personal favorite: Stall in the bathroom (once your hands are clean!!!!!!!!!) for a few minutes of productivity.
5. Set timers on your phone. Every time you get into an app that is designed to suck you in, or when handling anything non-urgent business-related. Let it remind you of the time limits you have, and also for those little people around you to know when they are in the clear to tell you about the art they created.
BONUS!! Dictate. Use some app on your phone to create notes if you are hands-free. Apple’s Siri may not always get it right, but I can often get the gist of my thoughts. The voice recorder is a pretty ingenious and simple option, too!
What’s your favorite time-saving hack? I LOVE new ones!!