Even when I manage to stay on top of the bare basics, there are plenty of undone extras: things I want or need to do, but can't find enough time.
Usually, these are non-essentials (i.e. not necessary for survival). Things like:
- Plant winter crops (including the seed garlic that's been in my fridge for two months)
- Tackle the piles on the desks and in the corners
- Plan a lesson on Mexico for the our little homeschooling co-op
- Writing time (journal, thank you notes, letters)
- Practice my violin
- Pick a bagful of avocados
- Cut the boys' hair
- Take inventory of our 72-hour kits and food storage
- Make sauerkraut and kimchi before I lose those cabbages
- Record songs and poems for a bedtime playlist for my boys
- Learn a song on my guitar
- Write regular blog posts!
You know what happens when I wait for a big enough window of time? They usually remain undone. I miss my chance to plant the garlic, piles become household fixtures, I lose the cabbages, etc. etc.
I have decided to forget about enough time. Instead, I break it down and seize the moment! I do something instead of putting it off "until I have time." Seizing the moment often has a lovely domino effect. For example:
I went outside to call the boys inside, then decided to give them a few extra playtime minutes and readied two garden boxes for new seeds. Feeling motivated a few hours later, I took a loose 15 minutes and planted that garlic! When I had a student cancel in the afternoon, still feeling extra happy about having that garlic underground, I also planted parsley, cilantro, carrots, beets, and sugar snaps! I happily admired the dirt under my nails all day. :)
The Messy Studio Corner
When I had only a handful of minutes before a student arrived, I plunged in and filed the music that had been piling on and around my filing cabinet. When I finished teaching that day, I stayed in the studio an extra ten minutes, sorted a few more papers, and left the top of the file cabinet looking respectable. My mind is so much clearer in there now!
I can do this while the boys do their schoolwork. Or maybe nab ten minutes after I brush my teeth at night. Or just write it when I think of it! That only takes a couple minutes, and then (in the case of a journal) I don't forget what I wanted to document. A few journal lines is better than nothing, right?? Keeping journals out in the open inspires regularity.
This is the hardest one to face without a real block of time. Just when I feel warmed up, I have to stop. But I learned this week that a well-used 20 minutes here and there still builds on itself. It is very satisfying.
Well, look at me go. :) Started this one last night, finished this morning during the boys' free time. On my iPad, I keep a running list of possible topics with notes under each one so I have a ready outline when a window of time and computer access happily coincide.
Sometimes I use a few minutes to do things half-way, such as pulling the emergency gear from the garage, ready to look over. The danger here is creating more mess with no concrete plan to finish. To avoid this trouble, I jot down the main things I would like to accomplish in any leftover time during the day (I have my weekly calendar scrawled on a whiteboard in the dining area). This prioritizing helps me feel okay about not having time to finish once I start.
SIDE NOTE: Seizing the moment is twice as hard if I don't sleep enough at night. As I feel accomplished seeing my extras get done, I am highly motivated to go to bed at a decent hour. It's a nice cycle to get stuck in.
How do you seize the moment? Share your secrets!