I was recently asked a question on Instagram about my time management….how I fit creative time in and such. It's a question that's been rolling around my head, not because I don't have the answer, but because I do but not in a neat package. Every time I try to answer this question in person when it comes up, it seems like I'm always apologizing or backtracking. You know what I mean, if I say I paint every single day then someone thinks I'm luxuriously lounging around, paint palette in hand. It's just so easy for people to get the wrong idea. You must keep in mind, I have two toddlers right now. So we're not in the infant stage (where I was exponentially exhausted every single day) and we also haven't started extra-curricular activities yet either. So we're home more now than we will be in a different stage of life.
My people come first. Always first. By that I mean Brett and the girls, and then my next circle of people which is the rest of my family, and last my community of friends. If you can picture a large circle with three rings that pretty much sums up my time management.
First I strive to make sure I'm a God-honoring woman, spending time in worship and the Word. Maybe this is through reading the Bible, doing a devo, worshipping in the car alone, or walking in the pasture.
Next, I strive to be an excellent homemaker. To make our home a relaxing haven for Brett, cook delicious meals, and provide an interesting/engaging environment for the girls. I also want them to learn the value of hard work, completing chores, free time with nothing planned, and enjoying God-given nature at home too.
I also include myself in the first ring of people, so that means I do make time for painting, photography, reading, decorating, and other little activities during the week that keep my mind and soul fresh. My passions, if you will.
The next circle of people are my family…that can mean my sisters, parents, Brett's family, my grandparents, etc. I always strive to choose helping them or spending time with them above other plans or sitting at home blogging or cleaning. People matter more than a mopped floor.
Last in my circle, is my community of friends. A lesson I've learned is that actions truly DO speak louder than words. If I want to have deep, satisfying friendships, I need to cultivate them. That means I try to text those closest to me weekly (at least), spend time with them, pray for them, help them, etc.
I'm not doing this with women by the hundreds…just a small handful of gals. But you know what? Those gals mean the world to me. We can tell each other anything, laugh or cry together, share good days and bad. And they keep coming back to be my friend. Not just a social media friend, a real life "I haven't showered yet, my house is dirty, want to come over" friend."
And I guess that about sums it up. I manage my time by keeping the word PEOPLE at the front of my mind. I will say, this also means plugging in to a local ministry or two, giving my time or baked goods. I don't blog about that stuff a lot because it feels like it doesn't need to be broadcast. But we do hunger to teach the girls the precious love of hands-on ministry. I wish I did extra well at these commitments all the time…but I don't. I'm trying though and through putting people first, have felt deep connections I was longing for the past few years. I am known, I am loved. I pray to do the same for those around me.
A not so fun part about this time management thing? It means I've learned to say no, or I'm not sure right now. The guilt of saying no is showing up less often these days but I've had a lot of practice. I often get asked to do things that look like good opportunities and might even be. But if I'm using up tons of time creating free blog projects for someone or making a gazillion crafts for a cause that isn't directly placed on my heart, I'm ultimately taking something away from those closest to me.
It doesn't mean I don't ever say yes to photography or art opportunities. It just means it has to be worth my time, coming from a place deep within my heart, and sometimes….it means if I'm expected to do a whole bunch for free, I'll say no. Money isn't everything, but I've gotten myself in a few jams a few too many times from saying "yes" to something I really should have been reimbursed for.
Eeeeek, that part wasn't fun to write so moving on.
(just giving you the full, honest truth)
As far as the logistics of my schedule, I do usually rise sometime in the 5:00 hour to get ready for the day, drink a cup of coffee, and read my bible. Sometimes I'll even paint or blog for a few minutes, but not usually.
Lunchtime is when I edit photos and nap time is when I paint/blog. This has to be quick because Anna Ruth doesn't really take a nap anymore, just has some rest time.
Night time is reserved for getting ready for the next day and Brett! We miss each other while he's at work and spend the evenings together, reading, watching a show, working on a project, or taking a walk. We go to bed by 10 at the latest during the week….
and late on the weekend :) :)
I hope this has helped! I'm no expert at this by any means! If you have more questions, ask away.
My exercise right now is suffering, a.k.a. "non-existent" but I did just plan out about a month of little daily learning/art activities for the girls and I to do in the late afternoons. It is hard to find time to do all the things well.
Overall, it feels like with my time management I'm usually doing "just ok" with most things, with a few (like exercise and my eating currently) falling off the bandwagon a bit. There is always room for improvement and I've learned to be ok with that instead of feeling like a failure. Nobody has time for that!
My last bit of advice? Keep some time free. BIG chunks of time or little bits of time, but keep it free. Where nothing is planned, no social media stuff is happening, you're just being…..