The clock ticks on

IMG_6797I HATE being late– hate it! But there always seems to be just one more thing that needs done before I go as I hate coming back home to a dirty house more than I hate being late.  I’m forever looking for ways to streamline the process, and I’m forever failing.  Time management has not always been my forte’.  As William Penn quoted, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” 

The Big Guy’s gram was a good friend of mine.  She was so full of wisdom.  She and her husband lived in a time when everything was done manually.  They used horses to cut the hay, they manually pitched the hay into haystacks, then pitched the hay into the feed wagon to feed the livestock, and then pitched it off again while feeding.  No tractors– just pitchforks.  She told about cooking three meals a day for 30+ men for months on end.  She had no refrigerator.  She had an ice box.  She made her own bread, made her own butter, gathered her own eggs, planted and tended to a huge garden, did all the laundry (WITHOUT a washer and dryer) for her family and all the men, kept her house clean, kept the bunk house clean, kept track of her children, and the list goes on and on and on.  That’s busy.  My day comparably is NOT.  So why is it she could tackle all of this, and successfully I might add, and I seem to struggle with a tenth of the workload.  My biggest issue??  Time management.  Oh– and laziness, but to make myself feel better I blame it all on time management.

Gram told me if she made sure her bed was made and the dishes were done, then the rest would just fall into place.  She told me that several times.  I never really GOT it, UNTIL I became a ranch wife.  I can now completely relate.  Making my bed in the morning just starts my day out on the right foot.  I have often made my bed over top of the still sleeping Wild Child who sometime during the night has found her way into our bed.  She is really good at getting up without messing it up hardly at all.  Then to make my morning even better, I so enjoy coming into a clean kitchen.  Those two things– a made bed and a clean kitchen, really do make my house run much smoother.  Yep Gram– it’s the little things. 

When I really realized I better learn some time management skills was while working full-time PLUS as a CFO at a hospital/nursing home while taking online classes to finish my degree.  My online classes had posting requirements where I was required to take part in class discussions at least five days out of the week, and then our weekly assignments (one personal and one team assignment) were due on Sunday night at midnight.  It took me several weeks, maybe months, before I stopped waiting until Sunday night at about 9:00 p.m. after my kids went to bed to start on my assignment that was due at midnight.  Ugghhh!  I would be so tired and so grumpy about sitting there doing homework.  It took me awhile to admit to myself that the situation was entirely my fault.  Admitting that was freeing.  It then allowed me to step back and figure out what I needed to do differently.

The first thing I did was to start doing some research on time management skills.  At first this seemed very counterproductive as I was spending time doing this instead of time doing the other things that needed to be done.  However, it was time well spent.  The best piece of advice I found over and over was that everyone has the same 24-hours in their day, and how was I using mine.  It took me quite some time to “get” this.  It was how I was using, or NOT using my 24 hours that was the problem.  I still have this problem sometimes, but at least now can put the blame where it rests– squarely on my shoulders.  I now try to use my 24 hours much more productively.  Am I always successful?  Heck no!  But at least now I know some tools to be more successful, and every little thing makes a difference in the day of this ranch wife.

If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
Lee Iacocca

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