Are you ready to liberate yourself from drudgery and have more time for the stuff you really want to do? I was.
As a working mother of three I struggle to fit the things I really want to do into my life. You know, those little things like hanging out with family and friends, selfish things like exercising, surfing, reading, and those crazy things like writing a book.
When I analyzed why, I saw there were four things eating up my time and keeping me from doing what I really wanted to do.
The 4 villains in my life are:
- Grocery Shopping
After years of booing and hissing at these evil villains, I decided to banish them from my life once and for all. Well, not totally but they no longer play a starring role in my life. They’ve been side-tracked to a minor role and that’s where they’re going to stay.
Here’s how I did it
I made a little pie chart of how I spend my time over a 24 hour period and saw that much of my days were taken up with these mundane activities. Then I worked out ways to reduce their impact on me and slowly chipped away at it until I had them cornered.
How to liberate yourself from drudgery
First prioritize the things you really want to do. Vow to make them the most important part of your life and fit everything else around that, not the other way round.
Picture yourself writing that book, at the easel painting, out in the garden cultivating your roses, surfing in perfect conditions. Whatever it is you want to do you can. All you need is a bit more time.
Here are my tips for reducing the time you spend doing chores:
Shopping and Cooking
This takes a bit of time to set up but will save you a lot of time in the end. As an added bonus this will probably reduce your grocery bills too and eliminate wasted food.
Not only does it free up my time but also my thoughts. No need to ponder what to feed the family in the evening, I just look at my master menu list, add the items to my shopping list for the weekly shop and that’s it. Now when I have thinking time I can think about creative things instead of what I’m going to feed the family today.
First make a list of meals you can rotate over a two week period. It’s a bit dull but probably not that different from what you do now without realising it. For example, our fortnightly menu is something like this:
- Roast chicken
- Stir fry
- Jacket potatoes
- Pasta puttanesca
Each dish is quick to make, popular with the family and adaptable so the menu isn’t too samey. For example, the lasagne can be served with salad and a different dressing each time or with steamed seasonal veggies and the fish can be cooked any number of different ways.
First sort out a 14 day menu for yourself.
Now create a shopping list on your computer with all your basic items like laundry powder, kitchen roll, cereal, bread etc and the ingredients for the meals you’ve planned. Organize it according to the aisles where the products are stocked in your supermarket with a box by each item that you can tick if you need to buy it or write in the amount needed.
When this is done you can just print out a copy of the list, keep it on the fridge and check the boxes as you run out of things.
It will take you a while to get in the swing of it, and you’ll have to keep adding things that you forgot to put on the master list for the first month or so, but once you’ve done that it’s priceless.
Need Recipe Ideas and Cooking Inspiration?
Finally if you ever feel like being creative in the kitchen or getting some new recipe ideas then visit Connie Rice’s blog, for all things food and cooking related. Connie’s recipe ideas are quick, practical, fun, inventive, crowd-pleasers. If I hadn’t read her articles I wouldn’t have thought it possible.
This is easy. It cuts our time spent sorting, folding and putting away clean laundry.
Get a big plastic box with a lid for each member of the family and keep it in the laundry. Sort clean, dry laundry straight into the boxes, inside out and unfolded. Each person can then fold it and tidy it away at their convenience.
For many people in my family this is never and the laundry has become a walk in wardrobe and dressing room. Fine by me, as long as I don’t have to spend half an hour a day extra on sorting out clean laundry.
Are you house proud? I used to be. If people were coming round I’d kill myself getting the house spic and span for them. When they left I’d be near suicidal because of the state they left it in. Either that or I’d be anxiously watching each crumb dropped, each muddy footstep left behind.
Thank heavens I’ve loosened up. Now I clean when it’s absolutely necessary. I also delegate. Kids have to clean their own room, hubby does the bathrooms. Everyone pitches in when it gets really bad.
I like to justify my slovenliness by a favourite childhood memory of family friends who had the messiest house ever. It was a treasure trove packed with stuffed owls, family heirlooms and moody paintings all gathering dust and cobwebs. We kids could explore it all day and trek mud through with gay abandon, no one cared, no one even noticed.
Is my house an extension of me? No.
Do a few mug ring marks on the kitchen counters and toothpaste splatters on the bathroom mirror indicate a cluttered, incoherent mind and lifestyle? Absolutely not.
They just show that I have better things to do than clean. I hope you do too.
Goodbye Drudgery, Hello Life
These simple things have given me about two extra hours a day to do the stuff I want to do. Walking, writing, playing with the kids and reading. Sometimes surfing or daydreaming. What are you going to do with your free time?
P.S. I’m On Holiday
Right now I’m in New Zealand without my husband or kids. We’ll miss each other, but a week without any of these chores outlined above is in order. Stand by for more information on how being totally selfish can keep you sane and make you and your family happier than ever.
And join me in marveling at the wonders of computers that will pop this up online at the right time while I do something else.
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