We’re all busy. Life is so hectic whatever stage of life you are in. Whether it is work, kids, other family members, stuff at home, it can be so difficult to find time to do things that we enjoy.
It doesn’t help that it seems to be expected now. We are all expected to be ridiculously busy with work, kids, the kids’ activities, it’s almost as though we are supposed to not have any time for ourselves. Even admitting that you need more that 5 hours sleep seems to be a sign of weakness to some people!
Taking time for yourself though is not selfish. It is necessary! Doing something that makes you happy will in turn make you a better parent, less grumpy and more productive.
Here are some suggestions for how to find time to make stuff!
Get Up Earlier or Stay Up Later
I have been surprised to learn over the last year or two that I am not the only person who gets up at crazy o’clock to get stuff done! 5.30 am is my absolute favourite time of day. I am not even kidding. The house is quiet, nobody is mithering for stuff, nobody is trying tell me facts about buses or superheroes or why the pigeon wanted to cross the road. If I am lucky I have an hour and a half before people start needing my attention.
It helps that I am a morning person. Even if I have only had 2 hours’ sleep, it won’t hit me until after lunch. You might be more productive in the evening. Personally I am incapable of conversation after 8.30 pm!
Either way, this can be a way of getting more time.
Obviously this might not be an option if you have a baby or if your toddler is an early riser.
It’s also important to take care that by doing this, you don’t become sleep deprived. Getting up early requires going to bed early, and it’s no good sitting up until 2 am if you need to be up at 6.
This only works if your children nap!
It can be tempting (or even feel like a requirement!) to use nap time to take care of domestic jobs. Sometimes this is necessary, but it doesn’t need to be necessary all the time. Even if you just take Friday nap to make stuff.
The domestic jobs don’t go away of course, so this brings me onto the next one…
Use Your Time Efficiently
I started reading up on time management when I was pregnant with Boy 3. I was barely managing with 2 small children and the realisation that I would have 3 kids under 5 gave me the kick in the pants that I needed! I made some changes and once I had got through the newborn stage with Boy 3 I found I actually had more time than I’d had with only 2!
The thing to do is to have a good look at what you are doing and when.
See if there are any short cuts you can take or whether you can do things in a more efficient way? For example, getting dinner sorted out in the morning and chucking it in the slow cooker frees up time later on. Meal planning and batch cooking can also save masses of time. Running around the house a couple of times a week with a feather duster keeps most of the dust at bay and it’s much quicker than a cloth and can of polish.
If you are at work during the day, what do you do at lunch time? Louise from Elsie Pop crochets! I wouldn’t recommend crafting while driving, but what could you do on a bus or a train? You could keep something to do in your bag just in case.
Are there any other times when you are at a bit of a loose end and resort to Facebook? I like to play the game, “How much can I get done before the kettle boils?” I know it sounds nuts, but I drink an awful lot of tea! That’s quite a lot of minutes to put away shoes, stuff the washing machine, grab a load in from the line, or empty the bins. This is then all stuff that I don’t have to do later.
I also use a diary for all my to do lists so that I can plan what I’m going to do and when.
If you want to read up on time management yourself, I recommend Time Management For Manic Mums (affiliate link).
I would also recommend Crystal Paine’s ecourse Make Over Your Mornings.
Make Sure Everybody Helps
Make sure that you are not doing too much for your kids. Everybody can hang up their own coats and bags, put their shoes away and pick up their own mess. Remember this is teaching your children necessary life skills!
If you have preschoolers, get them to help you in the day time. Boy 4 loves throwing the vegetables into the slow cooker, he loves dusting and he helps me wipe down the kitchen! I make my own kitchen spray from bicarb, vinegar and lemon juice, so it’s perfectly safe for him to help me.
Sometimes multitasking can work really well, but often it does not. Listening to a podcast while washing up, or chatting to your kids while folding laundry, or cleaning the bathroom while the kids are in the bath can be an efficient use of your time. But often giving something your full attention is the best way to go about it. Hoovering is much quicker if you are not also watching the telly and cooking while internetting can result in burnt jam all over the hob which then has to be scraped off. That was half an hour I could have spent making stuff!
I find that this has the added benefit that I feel like I have achieved something over the course of the day, whereas if I have spent all day attempting to multitask and/or mindlessly scrolling through social media, I just feel frustrated and annoyed that I have not really achieved anything or given my time to my children.
Break Things Down into Bite Sized Chunks
This is the only way I ever get stuff done. It would be nice to have big chunks of time, but I rarely have that. I can sometimes find a few minutes though and it’s amazing what you can achieve in this way.
The crocheted flower necklace I posted about the other week was tackled in this way. Although it didn’t actually take that long, there were a lot of steps which meant that I kept putting it off until I forced myself to do it. These were the steps:
Photograph making one flower, then make the rest
Make the eye pin bead sections
Make the head pin with a bead on it
Join the flowers and the eye pins/ head pin
Put the chain on
Put the lobster clasp in
Check that all the elements have been photgraphed
Edit the photos
Write the blog post
Rewrite the blog post as instructions
Make up the kits (there were more steps for these!)
There was no way I would have got it done otherwise!
I know it’s cliche but I love the proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.If you write it all down as a list and keep it handy, you’ll know what to do when you have a few minutes. I’ve got some big craft and blog projects I’m tackling in this way!
Take Up Offers of Help
Lots of people have grandparents that help out with their children, whether they work in a paid job or not. It’s something that often doesn’t get mentioned as we all have to pretend to be superwomen and do everything ourselves. Help with childcare and domestic jobs is largely ignored but is also actually the way that lots of busy people manage to get stuff done and have time for themselves. If you have close family and friends who are up for taking the kids to the park for an hour, let them!
If you do not have people around to help you, consider booking a baby sitter or a mother’s help. You don’t have to go out to use a baby sitter! The sitter could be playing with the children while you cut out dresses in another room. Obviously there might be cost implications here. However, it doesn’t need to cost a lot. Youngsters hoping to work with children will usually be required to gain some experience. Also you might be able to do something else for them instead of paying them. Perhaps you could give them singing lessons, or teach them the piano, or cut their hair!
Finding time is difficult sometimes, but with a little bit of creative rejigging, sometimes it is possible to squeeze more time out of the day!
So find some time, write it in your diary and get making stuff. It’s good for you!