A few years (ahem…at least 10 or more) I heard the word “clocksucker” and it quickly became one of my favorites. It refers to those things that suck our time away from us and leave us feeling overwhelmed as we stare down a seemingly endless to-do list. I often feel like there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in. I have beds that sometimes go unmade and floors that go unswept. I sit down in the evening hoping for even a few minutes of quiet and relaxation only to notice dust bunnies in the corner and a sticky spot on the kitchen counter. It’s enough to make me want to throw my hands up in defeat and submission to the mess.
In the moments I have clarity, I know my home isn’t a mess. Sure, there might be a cobweb on the front porch that I didn’t catch last weekend and maybe there are dirty clothes in the hamper waiting to be washed but it’s not a mess. My issue isn’t the mess as much as it is the feeling of overwhelm that comes with feeling like evening comes and my to-do list still isn’t finished. It’s those dang clocksuckers always taking my time and wasting it away before I realize it. If you find yourself in that same situation and wishing you had more hours in your day, let’s take a look at what’s likely draining your time away.
- Your need to please others – If you’re putting your own to-do list on the back-burner so you can prioritize tasks and projects for others you’re doing yourself a real disservice. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t pour from an empty pot?” That applies here too. If someone is in need then by all means help them but don’t prioritize someone else’s every day tasks over your own.
- Your social media accounts – By this I’m referring to your social media channels, email accounts, or other apps on your iPhone. If your job or blog requires the use of social media, look into scheduling tools like MeetEdgar or Tailwind to help manage them. There is a monetary cost for using those services but what you spend in dollars you’ll make up for in time. If you don’t need social media for business try setting a schedule and including a block of time for social media use.
- The pursuit of perfection – It can be hard to delegate tasks others but the time payoff is worth it. I used to hate the way my husband loaded the dishwasher and I couldn’t stand the way other people made a bed but when I stopped pursuing perfection at home and learned to accept that done is better than perfect (ahem…my way), I found the time to focus on the things that were the most important to me.
- Your backwards priorities – Is having the sheets tucked in just so at the corners really worth not getting the last of the dishes done or the floors mopped? I doubt it. Make a list of the tasks at home and then set priorities. If your top priority is having meals prepped and the kitchen cleaned then focus on that and accept that other tasks may have to wait a little longer. Other than making the bed in the master bedroom and putting the laundry away, I’ll let other tasks in there wait while I focus on the more communal parts of the home.
- Doing your appliance’s job – Once upon a time it was a must to pre-wash your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher but these days, that’s no longer the case. Dump the food down the garbage disposal, grind it up, rinse the dishes, and toss them in. Dishwasher these days are more than capable of cleaning your dishes without you putting in the preliminary elbow grease.
- You’re disorganized – There’s a reason that planners are so popular – they keep your organized and on task. If you continuously find yourself overwhelmed and out of time, you may need to take a look at how you’re planning your day. Is meal planning taking longer than 30 minutes? Try an app like Mindful Meal (which I love!). Feel like you’re constantly cleaning? Try adding a schedule to your planner like these cleaning schedule pages. Block out your time so you’re focused and be sure to include time for breaks.
There are 24-hours in every day (16 if you’re not counting those 8 you should be sleeping) so make them count. There are a lot more things that could be stealing your time as a homemaker like watching Ellen when it comes on during the day, over-sleeping because your bed is just soooooo comfortable, browsing One Kings Lane and getting lost in their gorgeous home decor (oh, is that one just me?) but it’s important to take control of your schedule and take your time back.
Any other clocksuckers you want to warn us about? Tweet me at @ashleyfromhp or drop them in the comments below.