Kickin’ Butt, Takin’ Names

A couple of weeks ago, I talked a lot about day planners and getting stuff done. Typed a lot? Ok, fine. Rambled a lot.

One of the questions that I’ve gotten since that post is ‘how do you manage your schedule?’.

I’m no life coach, y’all, but I can talk about organizing your life ALL DAY LONG. Very few things make my heart go pitter-patter like a good chat about organization, which is why I’ve decided to get into detail about it over the next few weeks.

I know it’s a hard sell, but please, join me as I ramble about calendars and goals.

But first, let’s get into some real talk.

I have the same number of hours in my day that you do. I work a full shift. Work out. Commute. Parent a toddler. Cook. Clean. Do a little dance.

Ok, so maybe I only do a little dance 3-5 times per week between the hours of 6-7PM. Whatevs.

What I DON’T do is lament about the time I don’t have to get things done.

Let’s break down a week together, shall we?

There are 168 hours in a week.

Let’s play with some numbers here.

SLEEP. At 8 hours a day, that’s 56 hours a week.
WORK. Calculating an 8 hour workday for every week day, that’s 40 hours a week.
COMMUTE. This varies dramatically for individuals, but let’s say 2 hours every week day and 30 minutes each weekend day. That’s 11 hours a week.
DAILY TOILETTE. I knew that somehow, someday I’d get to use that word in a real sentence, y’all, and TODAY IS THAT DAY. Being generous with my time estimate here, I’m going to calculate 1.5 hours every single day. If you live with toddlers, you might not think that’s so generous, but hey. 10.5 hours a week.
WORKOUT. I work out an hour each weekday, and 30 minutes each weekend day, so rolling with those numbers, you get 6 hours a week.
MEALS. If you spend an hour a day eating, that takes out another 7 hours a week.
CHORES – this is a broad category here, but let’s lump in cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and bath time with the kiddos and call it 2 hours every day, or a total of 14 hours a week.

TOTAL HOURS – 144.5. That leaves you with 23.5 hours of time every single week. Time NOT being spent at work or driving in the car or at the gym. Truly unscheduled time we’re talking about here.

Now, let me be really clear. I’m a mama. I GET IT. If you have a toddler like me, ‘unscheduled’ time isn’t the same as free time. That little breakdown doesn’t magically provide anyone with 23.5 uninterrupted hours to build toothpick bridges every week. Those 23.5 hours are very likely hours shared with your kiddos.

But they’re hours that you can use for Mommy and Me yoga. Organizing your closets. Walking the neighborhood. Volunteering at a charity alongside your child and sharing those values with them. Teaching them a new skill. Learning a new skill yourself.

Want the cold, hard facts here? YOU DO HAVE THE TIME. Time is passing, whether you’re on the couch with your phone in hand or you’re collecting leaves with your toddler. How you’re using the time is what we’re talking about, here, and the first step to owning your time management is recognizing that.

There are some other truths you’ll need to recognize as you dive in and structure your life:

  1. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. People say that no one knows you better than you, but are you acknowledging the habits and choices that make you YOU? It’s easy to say ‘I try so hard, and nothing ever works’ and drown your sorrows in a vat of ice cream a week into your diet. It’s easy to believe that you’re ‘doing your best’ when you’re sitting on the couch. It’s a lot harder to look at your habits and recognize where you’re not buckling down and working on achieving your goals. Set your goals. Be honest with yourself about what it will take to get there. And don’t believe your own excuses.
  2. BE PREPARED TO MAKE SACRIFICES. There’s a euphemism for every point on this list, and I’m here to share. Because sharing is caring, y’all.

But I digress.

Achievements aren’t easy. If they were, everyone would be at hashtag-goals level and no one would need to read a tough-love little post like this one. But the reality is that reaching for those stars is hard. A lot of folks will stop short of their goals because it’s hard. It’s tough to forego nights out with friends because you’re focused on your health, or to skip that shopping trip because you’re knocking out debt. It’s a sacrifice, and you have to be willing to make sacrifices and give up some things that may be holding you back.

  • KNOW THAT YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING. As much as it pains my little Type-A heart, I know that my fitness goals are never going to get me into the body of Halle Berry (abs at 50 years old, REALLY?!). I’m definitely not going to get there while juggling full-time work and life and all of my other goals. I can make optimal use of the time I have, but I’m never going to be able to accomplish 100% perfection in every area (or, you know, ANY area, but who’s lookin’ that close?).
  • KNOW THAT PROGRESS IS PROGRESS. It doesn’t have to be fast to be a success. The average person loses 1-3 pounds per week. That’s not fast. Learning a new language? You might be proficient in 12 months. Knocking out six-figure debt on an average income? You may be looking at a 5-year plan. Understand that committing to working hard at reaching your goals means that you’re committing to working hard LONG TERM. Give yourself room to process that and be comfortable with it, and celebrate the little steps you take to get there, even if it’s 10 minutes a day, every day.
  • EXCUSES ARE WORTHLESS. The quickest way to short-circuit your goal-crushing is to invent a good excuse. Let’s be honest – a lot of folks are going to smile politely and silently judge you. Maybe throw in a sympathetic ‘bless your heart’. But that’s not the real danger of an excuse. The real danger is when you yourself start believing your own excuses. Don’t feed that monster, y’all. It will swallow your hopes and dreams WHOLE and convince you that you’re just fine propped up on that couch.

You’re going to have days that you fall short. You’re going to have to give yourself grace and space to do that. But you cannot give yourself an excuse. Acknowledge mistakes. Acknowledge those days that you don’t hit the mark, and then move on from them.

Y’all. There’s no big secret. There’s no catch phrase that will unlock a hidden cave full of treasure and motivation. We all have the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days in a year.

(I was going to stop before we got real serious with the whole year, but I was already committed.)

Ultimately, you’re in control. You get to decide how to spend those hours. You can sit on the couch (which is obviously a theme, here, so clearly I’ve thought a lot about this) and think about those goals, or you can chip away at the mountain in front of you and GET TO THOSE GOALS.

The choice is yours.

It’s not all fun and games. Productivity is like a muscle and has to be built – and exercised – often. It means doing things you don’t want to do. Things you’re too tired to do. Things that you wish you could hire someone else to do.

But it’s worth it. Your goals are worth it. Your family’s goals are worth it. YOU are worth it.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more about the habits I have that have made all the difference for me, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear from you! How are you managing your time and juggling adulting?

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