Working part-time is a blessing and a curse. For unorganized people like me, it means that I have to carefully plan the other hours of my day or else the next thing you know its 2:45 and the kids are hopping of the school bus with sticky syrup and stray dishes still lingering on the breakfast table.
When August arrives and I hear other moms swap their back-to-school schedules I feel like I’m lingering in the dust because I have not yet written out my plan for accomplishments to achieve between the precious hours of 7:45-2:45. And as a preschool teacher, we start our Fall schedules a couple weeks after the “big kids” begin school- a nice cushion of getting ahead to some people – but a cushion of procrastination for me.
I kicked off the beginning of this school year with a mimosa gathering at the pool. What better way to take advantage of an hour or so of girl talk without the need for babysitters or husband coordination?! The following week I had a leisurely hour and a half breakfast with my father-in-law. What we have here is basically a “social interaction” trumps “doing the laundry” situation. The only problem is that at the end of the day, I’m going to have to slide a mountain of laundry off my bed in order to get into it and go to sleep, and that might happen multiple times during the week.
My husband, the Economics Ph.D, would call this opportunity cost. And he might throw in a snide comment as he does every so often (maybe it’s just a factual statement) such as, “well the laundry has been sitting there for three days.” And it is indeed opportunity cost. The opportunity for me to have a social gathering is worth so much more to me than the “opportunity” to run around the house putting away T-shirts, leggings, and bath towels.
Even right this second I’m choosing to do something that is not on my To Do List. I’d much rather piddle around with my blog than start packing my suitcase. But I’m conscious of what I’m doing and clear that it is a choice. Later tonight I’ll beat myself up a little bit when I look around the house at all the unfinished business. And this is pretty much the pattern of my life. So the other night, I wrote out my week and blocked out my hours for teaching, prepping, exercise, and chores. It is interesting to see on paper how the hours of all the things I want to do exceed the actual hours of a given day!
If you ever catch me glimpsing at a small note in my pocket, it is the outline of my day to try to keep me on track. For instance, today’s read:
Replace batteries and lightbulbs
Kids’ dance class 4:30
I knew that I would end up writing today, too, even though it wasn’t on the list. Funny enough, in school, I made A’s and stayed on task. Pretty much the only way to keep me on task nowadays as a Stay at Home Mom is by having a deadline – poker night or a birthday party works great to get the house in shape in a hurry.
In a little while, I’ll glance at the clock and know that my time is running out before the bus arrives with wild kids ready to demand snacks and attention. That will give me the deadline needed to whip me into action. I’ll haul up and down the stairs and put away half a basket of laundry, set out snacks, toss recycling, and refill the cat litter in a flash. Later tonight I’ll climb into bed (without that mountain to first clear off,) and I’ll make a new list – all the things that I did NOT accomplish today. I’ll beat myself up a little, but then I’ll give myself a B+ for getting more than one of my To Dos completed. Because the only way to get an F in time management is to pretend there are are 27 hours in a day.