168 Hours Challenge

It is Day5 of the 168 Hours challenge- head over to Laura Vanderkam’s blog for more on that.

While I do have today and two whole more days to go, I am so glad I joined. I always wondered where my time just went and now I am getting a very good picture. Since, it is only for seven days- I do not even have the pressure of sustaining this effort. (At least that’s what I told myself when I debated joining the challenge initially). It’s seven days only – no big deal, I thought!

And I  am soon glad I joined. Yes, that joyous, that I had to repeat my previous statement. I am getting all sorts of insights into my days and how I am using my time. In fact, I am getting great ideas to use my time more wisely! Yippee!

So, below are few fun facts and Eureka moments:

  • Eat and sleep well. 

I am sleeping well- almost seven hours in the night. Sure, I woke up three nights for T’s cough and mine- but still… It sure beats short bursts of sleep and really, really late bedtimes! Woo-hoo!

  • Unstructured Playtime with T.

This week was marked with lots of unstructured Play time with T- oodles and oodles of it. I always felt in the past that I could have played more with T… and now it is apparent that I do. Even though, a lot of occasions I do club with mindless chores, I made time for loads of pure play with her. That is the significant point, after all. Double Dip, as the No Regrets Parenting book says!

  • Every day is different.

Monday morning, I wondered if I should quit. Yup, even before I started. T had a cold. She was not going to school. Hubby needed to leave early. My house was neglected and messy, thanks to Hubs and my cooking projects and two potlucks. I was tired due to two bad nights. And Aunt Flow was in full, nasty form. Luckily, I had read in Laura’s blog about how every day is typical. With a child, every day is different. So,  I just decided to plunge ahead and see what happens. Am I glad or what? Despite everything, we did manage to have some semblance of a schedule. I ate and slept on almost the same times and carved out time for myself. How cool is that? (Plus, Laura and her blog posts are my inspiration- she works, has more kids than me and travels too!! )

  • Mindful multi-tasking is key.

Purely physical and purely mental tasks can be combined- with caution. I talk to T and play with her when I am doing jobs like putting away laundry and cleaning or we are snacking. But, I do not shift my attention when cooking, esp. in oil or while driving or when snacking on hot items. Seven with food prep, I ask T to help when she can or just chat with her while cutting veggies. Again, not always -I usually stand well away from her and just drop knives in a dish in the sink if I have to exit the kitchen. An extra load of dishwasher is well worth the peace of mind. Like I said, mindful multi-tasking works.

  • Ditch perfection.

Club activities. Better some time together than no time at all. I do strive for undivided attention . But, sometimes I have to be content with clubbing activities. Like Hubs had a crazy week these past days. Naturally then, watching an episode of TV and chit-chatting or sipping tea together was our time together. Or we would wake T together with hugs and tickling.  Considering we had a sick child and both of us were beginning colds ourselves, moments like these are all you get! Life gets in the way- ditch an ideal, elusive, perfect moments for multiple, great, practically viable moments.

  • Plan key activities/ main tasks.

I approached every day of this week- with only two or three items that I wanted to accomplish. That helped destress me than a bunch of long items that I needed to do. Sure, I did add a lot of tasks to my list. I’ll be honest- I like checking off activities from a to-do list. It’s thrilling. But, knowing I only had 2 or 3 major activities, helped keep me focussed. Another confession: On Monday & Tuesday, my list said- make T feel better, give her medicine and serve warm meals. (Let’s face it- A Mama’s priority is her child)

  • Use technology.

I use an Excel sheet for my editorial calendar- I do not have to think about topics or ideas. I just view the sheet and day, and bang, start writing. These topics are added form my ideas list (on phone) with notes, so, the process is really smooth. Plus, any new idea that I have material for easily can be inserted . Like , this post on 168 hours challenge. I knew I wanted to write it and had materials, so, quickly replaced the post that I had planned originally. I use food trackers, budget trackers, Hootsuite to schedule my tweets, Google Calendar for reminders and Goals (it is so awesome), Notes to capture my shopping list, Reading lists for saving articles I want to read later. Any time I want to share news about a great event or  person or article, I simply email/message or email immediately. Sure, nice to phone or video call, but I find it slips my mind, or takes too much time or mostly, I am just occupied when the thought strikes me. Enter instant messaging/ emailing. Even if I can’t call or chat for long or I forget while in the call or in-person meet up, at least the info was shared. And people feel good that they are in my thoughts. [I’ve just got a Mommy Brain now! 😦 ]

So. these were some of the observations and insights that I got. Do you track your time? Were you following the challenge or plan to? What hacks/ strategies do you use? I am always all ears to fun suggestions and tips. So, share your recommendations and tips in the comments below. Have  great weekend!

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