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Jun 22 2010

#168Hours Challenge: What I Learned

So I’ve had a few days to reflect on my week of logging my time for the 168 Hours Challenge, and I’ve come to a startling conclusion.

When I don’t log the time, it disappears. For example, I had to get up at the crack of crazy this morning to help get my menfolk off to Cub Scout Day Camp today. They left nearly ninety minutes ago and I’ve done little beyond eat breakfast and drink coffee while reading blogs/emails. While it’s something I enjoy doing and it does need to get done, I also know that if I didn’t need to get up right now to refresh my coffee I’d still be sitting here until the realization hit that I have somewhere to be and hooboy, gonna hafta skip the leg-shaving in the shower again this morning (Hey, I have long legs, takes awhile!).

It comes down to mindfulness and intention. I have too much I want to do with my life to spend it mindlessly too often. Mindless on a Saturday night watching a bad movie or sitting on a cruise ship deck with a frosty drink is one thing; mindless on a random Tuesday morning is something entirely different. I have books that I want to read (my “to read” list is in the hundreds), memories to create and record with children who are growing up much too quickly, hobbies to pursue, writing to throw myself into, new interests to investigate…they all pull on me with equal weight, few get accomplished, none to my high standards. I’m told this is a gifted adult trait. Swell.

So how did my time break down? Well, I was going to break down activities by time, but I’d also like to shave my legs this morning and the clock is ticking. What I noticed is that I spend way too much time picking up after the boys. I saw that early in the week and cracked down quickly. They’re both old enough to pick stuff up and throw it away/put it away/shove it into the pits known as their bedrooms. I’ve also declared this summer The Summer Of Learning To Make Your Own Damned Breakfast. It’s done my soul good. They both know how to pour cereal and make a microwave egg, so they’re not going to starve. I just can’t handle morning meal complaints any more, so make it yourself or wait for lunch. I saw that I spend much more time than I thought preparing food. That amuses me greatly, as I am not a fan of cooking. I do it, I do it well, it’s just not something I loooove to do. But. Most of the time on food prep was just that: food preparation, not cooking a meal. We joined a CSA this summer, and so have a lot of produce coming through the door every week. I want it to be easily accessible and ready to eat, so I have to wash/cut/saute/freeze for later so it doesn’t go bad. (I’m not the only one doing this, either; quite a few of my friends are learning to can and dehydrate and freezer prep food this summer). I consider this time spent on food prep to be well worth it, because it’s a place where I am truly living my values. With the various food sensitivities in this house, I have to be considerably more mindful (ooh, there’s that word again!) about meals and snacks. I spent a lot of time doing paperwork for my new job, and then doing the new job. I love that it’s flex hours from home, it’s the ideal situation for me at this point in my life. While I spent a lot of time with the boys (it is summer, after all!), it was mostly car and errand time. I did play Wii with them for awhile, and we love to hang out and wrestle and have tickle-fights, but no long stretches of Together Time. I feel this should bother me, but it doesn’t. I’m not their primary entertainment, and I refuse to be. They are better off entertaining themselves or each other. We do go do things as a family (museums and movies are favorites), and often have family pizza movie night like we did last Friday, but I’m not going to be Playmate #1. Too much time last week was spent in running errands, even with stacking them together to do all at once. Need to work on that. As much as I may disagree, I am getting plenty of sleep and need to drag my sorry ass out of bed earlier. Sleeping past 6:30 on a weekday will have to end; I’ll truly enjoy the day better if I get up a few hours earlier. I spent hardly any time at all reading, and this breaks my heart. My parents used to joke about surgically removing books from my hands when I was a kid. I lost that when I started college and have struggled with making time to read ever since. Most of my reading is done while eating, which doesn’t lend itself to concentration or conversation. Finally, I noticed that my most productive time is between about 10 am and 4 pm. Before 10 is the best time for me to do mindless stuff (hmmm…mindful vs. mindless) like going to the gym (which I didn’t do enough of last week because I started a new job and was still figuring out how to balance it all), planning out the day, tidying up the house. Mindless stuff. After 4 I just want to get dinner going, find the wine/margarita/gin and tonic, and start to wrap up the day. So those six productive hours have to be used for everything else.

After doing this challenge, I have a much better appreciation of my time and what I could be doing with it. Knowing that I have 168 hours a week and I’m getting plenty of sleep, I just need to resolve to be more mindful with the remaining hours. Not everything has to be done every.single.day. So, with that in mind:

  • I want to go to the gym four days a week
  • I want to read every day
  • I want to scrapbook/play with photos two days a week
  • I want to write every day
  • I want to work on increasing community on this blog every other day
  • I want to spend time with Tom every day
  • I want to spend time with the boys every day
  • I want to choose a project from the list and work on it three days a week
  • I want to work every day
  • I want to be more effective with my time
  • I want to spent less time in mindless pursuits, so I can work towards a mindless vacation (yo, Disney Cruise Line, I’m looking at you)
  • While I want to spend less time on the computer and relying on technology, most of what I do is computer-based. I want to be more mindful of my time on the computer.
  • I do not want to become a slave to the clock, for that will only make my miserable

Nothing earth-shaking there, eh?

It’s all about mindfulness and intention. Now. I intend to hit the shower and start my day.

With shaved legs.

Comments

comments

3 comments

  1. Nancy Campbell

    I love you for saying it’s not your job to be playmate #1. That is really liberating for me, so thank you.

  2. Missy

    What’s the new job?

  3. kate

    I’ve never been good at being the primary source of entertainment for my kids, which is why they’re mostly good at entertaining themselves. (It’s the bonus prize of not liking kid play!)

    I’ve also decided that the kid who complained and didn’t eat the lunch I made him 90% of the school year gets to make it himself all summer. “What’s for lunch, Mom?” “Whatever you want to make and eat honey!” It’s been wonderful!

    Good luck being mindfull! Mindless is so easy to slip into, I blame it all on FB!

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