My Typical day:

Seth wakes me at 6 AM.

I shower and get dressed and make lunches.

Seth takes Max to school, and I take the girls to school.

I drop them at 8:40 AM and say, “Ready, Set, Go!”

I have from 8:40-1:40 to get as much done as I can –

Cleaning, laundry, exercise, work, PTSA, friend time, errands, etc. How much can I fit in?

I look at the clock frequently and think, “The day is going too quickly.”

I pick up my children and drive them to activities.

At some point I fit in dinner for everyone and then clean up. I try to cook them a healthy dinner most days.

I collapse and hope for some tv and book time. Sometimes I work on the couch like right now.

Start over tomorrow.

This is a good life. This is the life I always wanted. I am not complaining about the busy. All moms are busy. Busy is good. I am just noticing that my perspective about time in my days is not serving me. It is not making me happy to think that the day is going too quickly. It is not making me happy to think that I don’t have enough time.

“The day is going too fast.”

“I don’t have enough time.”

“I have so much to do!”

Three lines that are leading to me feeling like time is scarce every day all day.

We all know that the first step to fixing anything is by identifying the problem. If the problem is that I view time as scarce, how am I going to work on changing this mindset?

Evaluate my time! I listened to a podcast that talked about spending time finding out how long each thing in your day takes. I will look at the sink and feel overwhelmed. However, it took me 15 minutes last night to load and run the dishwasher. I didn’t have a bunch of pots to wash which can take longer. Now I know that a big sink full of dishes and cups only takes fifteen minutes to rinse and load. That makes it seem more manageable and makes me realize it doesn’t take much of my time.

I had laundry baskets all over my bedroom. It took me one hour to fold all the baskets and put them all away. That is not very long. When we know how long something takes it feels less overwhelming. Instead of thinking that I don’t have enough time, I can think that I have plenty of time to put away all the laundry.

Analyze how I spend my time. How much time do we spend mindlessly scrolling through our phones? I value social media for three reasons. I use social media for my job, I connect with my friends and family, and I get great ideas. However, that doesn’t mean that I should spend an hour on social media. If we think that our time is sacred than we need to make sure we are spending our time on what we value most.

Identify what I value. I value connections the most. This includes time with my family and friends. I know I need to get my work and housework done too. I value getting this blog done. I value doing podcasts. I make great connections doing podcasts and really enjoy it. I value lunch dates. I value spending a reasonable time cleaning. I value making special appointments for myself like getting my nails done. I value taking time to read a good book. If we are aware of what we value than we can make sure our days are reflecting that. I value exercise and want to add in more time doing that. I value doing volunteer work at school.

What do I want to do in my spare time? If I have free time, what do I want my spare time to look like? I don’t want to feel like I wasted my spare time. Sitting on the couch with my family watching a movie together doesn’t feel like wasted time. Completing the to do list all day tends to make me feel like I wasted my free time. I love to get things done and I also don’t want to spend all my free time being productive.

Work and fun balance. I have to have a good balance of work and fun. There is a lot to get done and I want to have fun. If I spend all my time getting things done, then I get cranky. I value recreational fun time. Maybe you value getting stuff done more than I do.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good to do list, and I love checking things off my list. I just need to make sure to have fun too.

Understand there will always be a list. I have overwhelmed myself with lists. My husband has helped me realize that there will always be a list. That is how life is. This is how life proceeds. The list ends when we die. I know that sounds morbid, but it’s true. I cross things off and add more. Instead of getting annoyed and overwhelmed, I have changed to completely accepting that there will always be lists. It is normal to have an ongoing list.

Be realistic – change and adjust my expectations. As I analyzed my days, I realized that I was expecting myself to get done way more than what was realistic. I started to learn what a realistic day looks like. I started to get less frustrated when I didn’t get something done.

Underestimate what I can get done in a short time. I will say that I only have 90 minutes to get this blog done. What if I said, “90 minutes is plenty of time to get this done.” It isn’t, but it’s an excellent start and a significant chunk of time to devote to this. I tend to do this a lot in my days. “I only have 30 minutes, that’s not enough time,” is something I commonly say to myself.

I love that I am becoming more aware of how I look at time. Now I am going to work towards changing my daily time scarcity perspective of life. If we change our perspective on things, we can solve a lot of issues. If I’m realistic and planful, that is setting myself up for a successful day. Sometimes the plan can be – I am going to go get a massage and not accomplish anything today. That can be the plan too. I haven’t done that yet, but that sounds like a great day.

I also hear mothers say a lot, “I don’t have time for that.” Remember that we can make time for what we value and prioritize. I love that my friend takes naps. I don’t tend to want to spend an hour napping, but a ten-minute rest can do wonders for me. Meditating for five minutes can do a lot for me. Things don’t have to take a lot of our time.

I am a human being not a human doing. My job is not to get things done all day. Everything that I get done is awesome and I also need to learn to be easier on myself. Producing is not the goal of life. I would say my goal in life is connection. I want my house organized and clean. I also value time spent with others more than hours cleaning. Get to know yourself and what you value and how you view time. If we shift to an attitude of having the time, I bet you it will magically happen. What we put out to the universe tends to happen. Go make more time appear.

Laughing, Learning, Loving,

Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R

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