This time of year is typically all about making resolutions and setting goals, but I haven’t set any goals in a long time. I think I became jaded after failing to accomplish just about everything I set out to do; get fit, eat healthier, read more books… I haven’t done any of these things, and it always comes down to one reason- I don’t have time. So this year I want to address my time management skills, because not having time is really just a big fat lie I tell myself that keeps me from being successful.
So where does the time go?
The majority of my time is spent at work. Every teacher knows that a 40 hour work week is difficult to achieve. I easily put in 50+ hours every week. Some of it can’t be helped- I sponsor an after school club every other Tuesday, and I teach in the after school tutoring program once a week. So I need to look at the rest of that time. I have to plan and prepare, but how can I be more efficient? Firstly, I could make use of my amazing parent volunteers. I have the best parents this year! They could help with the cutting out, making, and organizing of all the center stuff and the materials for crafts and lessons. They want to help. I should let them.
Secondly, I need to stop allowing myself to be interrupted and stop interrupting others. This one is hard because I love my colleagues and I love to visit with them. Adult conversation is so rare and precious in teacher/mom life! But so often it happens that one simple question will turn into a 30 minute chat session (or gripe session depending on the day), and before you know it it’s five o’clock and my work is not finished and I still have to go home and be mom. Not to mention the fact that my poor children are at school All. The. Time. My goal for the rest of this year is to be out the door by 4 p.m. at the latest on days I don’t have club meetings or tutoring. My action steps are to stop running my mouth so much and delegate the things I can.
My next biggest time waster is social media. I spend much too much time checking Facebook and Instagram. I don’t post so much as I just mindlessly scroll through my newsfeed, reading status updates, looking at my friends’ photos, reading articles and blogs…for way longer than I should. This obsession is fueled in part by FOMO, in part by the loneliness of motherhood, and in part by the sheer exhaustion of carrying the mental load. Mindless scrolling is just that- mindless. Not having to think about anything for a few minutes seems like it should be relaxing, but what I’ve found is that being plugged in to social media all the time rouses feelings of competition and jealousy, and an overall dissatisfaction with my life. Why do we never go on exotic vacations? Why can she lose her baby weight and I can’t? Why does everyone else seem to be flourishing and I’m barely keeping my head above water? Even though intellectually I know that Facebook and Instagram are only showing the highlight reel and not the struggles, it still gets to me emotionally sometimes. To combat the urge to check in constantly I’ve removed Facebook and Instagram from my phone. I won’t go so far as to deactivate my accounts, because it is nice to keep up with family and friends and I like my groups, but logging on once or twice a day is enough.
And by that same token, no more taking the phone into the bathroom! Not only is this habit gross, but it’s also not good for you. Time was, the average magazine article or back of a shampoo bottle never took longer than the average poop to read. Now I have this portable computer with an endless supply of news articles and games to keep me entertained on the toilet for as long as I can stand it. Til my legs fall asleep even. Taking the phone into the bathroom is not only gross and a huge waste of time, but it’s also really bad for your bunghole. (Hemorrhoids anyone?) So enough of that already.
My hope for the new year is to make better use of the time that I have to play with my kids, pursue hobbies, and generally enjoy more of all that life has to offer.
So 2018, this is me (in the words of Maxine Waters) reclaiming my time.