As I mentioned before, I have recently started a full-time, 9-5.30 job (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as 9-5 does it? Dolly Parton would not have been pleased). And I am loving my job. The people are really friendly, and I’m getting paid to write and edit all day, which is my dream.
But after a year of volunteering, travelling, casual work, and creative writing, this new routine has been somewhat of a culture shock to me (for lack of a better phrase). Though ironically, I feel like I’ve been more productive than I was whilst unemployed. There is that phrase, isn’t there? Something like ‘if you want something done, ask a busy person’.
Because I am an uber-organised person, I felt the need to create a plan to fit everything in that I needed to, whilst still trying to remain calm and Buddhist-like.
Here are some of my rejected time-saving ideas;
- So I wouldn’t have to take a day off, perhaps get my Grandpa to try and be my dentist, reminding him to bring pliers just in case.
- Eating breakfast while trying to make my lunch. Sometimes works, sometimes you end up eating a cheese sandwich instead of your cereal.
- Purposefully leaving only five minutes to catch my bus, forcing me to run all the way to the bus stop, thus completing my daily exercise.
- Meditating on the toilet. Not very relaxing, plus people might think I don’t eat enough fibre.
- Cleaning my teeth while watching TV. As I have an electric toothbrush, it’s sometimes difficult to hear dialogue.
The above ideas were rejected for multiple reasons, and were perhaps taking things a little too far. I think part of tackling the time problem is acceptance; simply accepting that you’re not going to have much time any more to do all the things you want you, or at least, not as thoroughly. If you start worrying about everything that is not getting done, you stop enjoying everything that you are doing, and do have time to do.
I then decided to create a list of more realistic time saving ideas, which I am currently attempting to stick to;
- Create a routine. This is a simple, but effective. You’re more likely to get something done if it’s incorporated into your routine. For example; brushing your teeth. No child is born with an inherent need or desire to brush their teeth. It’s just something that is taught, learnt and put into a routine, so nowadays, most of us stumble into the bathroom automatically after breakfast. If we teach ourselves something new e.g. to write for 20 minutes at the end of every day, then we won’t have to force ourselves to do it. It’ll just become a natural next step.
- Read my book when having my breakfast and lunch. Part of my probationary period at work means that I must take one hour for lunch, during which time I have to find something to do. Reading has been the answer, and a rather good thing to come out of my job, as before I had very little time or inclination to read. I always thought that if I had time to read, I should be using that time to write instead (sometimes happened, sometimes I just clicked onto Netflix).
- Get the bus to drop me off earlier and walk further to work. This idea is a lot more relaxing than the running to the bus idea in my previous list. The bus I get into town always drops me off too early for work, so I take advantage of this by getting off earlier, forcing myself to have a leisurely walk through town. This is my exercise done (along with a mad Zumba DVD at the weekend).
If you really start to look at your day, you begin to identify little pockets of time that can be utilised. It’s not about making yourself stressed, and ramming your day full of as many things as possible. It’s simply about using time in the most effective, productive way possible, while still giving yourself relaxation time.
Do you wish you had more time? What do you do to save time?