Call for reader time-makeovers, and August goings-on

IMG_1273Over the years I have run several time-makeovers on this blog. I would like to run some more! If you would be interested in participating (or know someone who would) please reach out to me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. I ask people to keep track of their time for a week, and we discuss what is working and what is not. The volunteer then tries some strategies, reports back, and I run the report here. Thanks for considering it!

In other news: August is an off month for us. While many kids go back to school at some point this month, our district starts after Labor Day. So we still have a full month to go.

For the most part, that is fine, though summer’s rhythms are variable enough that not all goes smoothly. In case anyone thinks that my house is a completely well-oiled machine, it is not feeling like that this week. I made a strategic error in camp sign-ups. Two kids are in one camp, and one in another, located in opposite directions from our house, and they start and end at the exact same time. Both also have very strict drop-off times and car lines. So P and I divide and conquer, but spending half an hour of my day at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. doing camp runs is cutting into my productivity.

(On the plus side, though, my 9-year-old has gotten to do his first camp overnight. So exciting!)

I feel like I have been spending a lot of time on logistics. Work travel, family travel, kid fall activities, kid school forms. The problem is often not so much with the forms or ticket purchases or what have you. It’s just that doing them makes me feel like I’ve done something, when I haven’t done much of importance. I need to focus on big stuff first, and then do the logistics in the little bits of time.

Speaking of big stuff, I did start working on my novel again. I am quite happy with the first 5000 words. Things start to fall apart after that. Oh well. If I can make enough 5000 word chunks seem decent, that will be a start.

I found Stroopwafels on sale at a nearby grocery store the other day. Fresh stroopwafels were among my favorite discoveries in the Netherlands two years ago. Let’s just say the box is not lasting long!




13 thoughts on “Call for reader time-makeovers, and August goings-on

  1. I’d love a time makeover – however, I’ve realized my problem is not time management but self-management! I’m a grad student so I have plenty of flexibility but it takes me ages to get settled into work, and I’m easily distracted. I’m slowly learning what works for me (clear to-do lists, pomodoros, rescue time etc) but I’ve got a long way to go before I could say I’m making the most of my time. Do you have any tips for how to develop good writing/working habits? I suspect you’re more like my husband, who just sits down and gets it done, and doesn’t quite understand why I find it so hard!

    1. @Lily- I would not say everything is perfect around here. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get settled into work too. I try to start enough ahead of time that even if I don’t feel like doing something in any given moment, there will be enough time to get it done. And clear to-do lists, pomodoro, and rescue time are all great techniques. With writing, I have many tricks, like starting in the middle and so forth.

    2. One thing that worked for me in college and grad school was to go to the library. It’s quiet and has resources, but not nearly as many distractions as home (and I say this as an avid reader!). After a handful of visits my brain started to associate the library with working–I tried to go to the same table, etc. Another benefit is the tables are always clear, so I don’t have to clear them the way I often do at home and I get a clean slate every day.

      1. Thanks for the tips! 🙂 I haven’t been as productive as I hoped at the library, but the local coffee shop is my happy (and productive) place

  2. I have read quite a few books about time management techniques and also follows lots of links from your Blog as well as reading it avidly. In fact I think I could get a degree in time management theory. But time management practice is rather trickier. In fact, reading all the Blogs and books is probably classic procrastination, putting off the things I know I actually should be doing. Knowing what you should do and doing it are such different things!

  3. I would love a time make-over! I started reading 168 Hours a few months ago, and I found it life-changing – for a few weeks. Then I stopped tracking my time, stopped thinking about it, and kind of fell off the bandwagon in terms of managing my time well. I’d love some tips and strategies for how to use my time more effectively!

  4. I would be quite interested in a time makeover. I tracked my time for a couple weeks in July to try to get a rhthym but then didn’t really know what to do with it. Not sure if I fit your categories though as we are expats living in Hong Kong. I have been following you since I read I know how she does it earlier this year. Very inspiring!

  5. Through reading and applying simplicity principles I have made more time in my life but don’t get much more of the important things done! Why? It’s a mystery to me and I would love a time makeover to sort it out.

    Thanks for your blog Laura, I love the practical examples.

  6. I would be interested in the time makeover! It’s toddler heaven over here! I have a 10 mo and 2 yr old and on the weekend my nieces are with us who are 1 and 2. Any tips would be gladly appreciated!!!

  7. I think I need a time makeover, and quickly. I’m about to start academic year with more responsibilities than I ever had before, and my work responsibilities have grown as well. Over the summer I added some routines (like a dedicated yoga practice) that I don’t want to give up, but I will not have as much time as I’ve had over the summer. I’ve been tracking my time (by hand, so it’s a little loose) and I have no clue where I’ll find another 15+ hours a week that I will need once the semester starts in two weeks. Help?!

  8. I would LOVE to participate in a time makeover. I just started a home business, professional genealogy, so my time is flexible. Time management is one of my biggest hurdles. Like Lily, I’m very easily distracted by the BSOs (email, FB, NYTimes [online, of course]). I’m still learning how to alot my time to the various tasks it takes to run a business so I’m operating as efficiently as possible, maximizing my hours spent during the course of a day. Thank you!

  9. I’d like to take part in a time makeover. I live in the UK, work full time and one of my children is moving up to senior school in September – which will mean quite a few changes and adaptations to our normal routines. I feel like sometimes I am really on top of everything and well organised – but it’s a very delicate balancing act and one thing going wrong can have a domino effect on everything else…

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