Meaghan's comment on a few posts ago solidified this thought in my mind. As did a recent post I read somewhere (where was it? if it was you, please tell me!) where the blogger said she was always being asked how she fitted so much in and she said there's no secret, she does stuff when she can and doesn't take photos of the mess she leaves behind. Or words to that effect.
I can only agree. I'd add in that a lot of the fun stuff I do is done whilst sitting on the couch watching TV. I don't take time out from gainful activity, it just means that if I'm watching Lost, it only gets about 40% of my attention. Which really is all it deserves.
And I believe that any old day holds lots of little snippets of unused time. Having a stack of projects waiting to go and having tools and materials easily accessible allows those snippets of time to be made use of. I used to pack my sewing machine away into a cabinet, but then I almost never got to use it because of the time it took to get ready to do something. Now it lives out on a table so I can use it anytime. Of course, to make space I have the table in my wardrobe, and I often sew standing up, but I definitely sew more.
I used to work for a really fabulous high-powered career woman who also happened to be a very devoted mother of two young boys. I've never met anyone before or since who has done such an amazing job of fitting in both. And doing both well. When she was interviewed by some people for an article they asked her something banal like the secret of her success and without missing a beat she said good storage. I think they thought she was joking, but we knew she was completely serious. The ability to find and get stuff quickly and easily allowed her to really use her time to do rather than prepare to do.
I'd add that I also let myself do some stuff badly, or not at all, to make space for the stuff I love and the stuff that makes me feel happy at the end rather than grumpy for wasting my time on it.
So just to let you know I do not have access to some great big secret here's a list of just some of the stuff I do badly or not at all.
- Cook consistently. We eat a lot of take out food and spend a lot of time in cafes and pubs.
- Remember where I read stuff in blogland and I don't do the necessary research to work it out.
- Stay in touch with blogs. Sometimes I just look at the pictures. And sometimes I don't even do that.
- Clean. I don't even own a working vacuum cleaner except a dinky dust buster.
- Iron. Except when I am sewing of course.
- Sleep. I am an insomniac and have been since I was in primary school.
- Drive. I haven't put in the time and energy to conquer my fears and learn...please if there is a secret on this, I'm all ears. Just so you know I can't ride a bike either.
- Parent strategically and selflessly. I yell and nag a lot more than I should and let stuff happen that I shouldn't.
- Say please and thank you and make polite small talk.
- Think about my appearance or stuff to improve it.
- Crop and touch up photos.
- Do things for other people I really don't want to do, if I can get away with it (though I will gladly and generously do stuff for other people when it suits me).
- Always answer the phone, and if I do and it's a stranger wanting my money or brain space I (politely) say no really fast and hang up.
- Perfect things. 80/20 rule all the way. If I'm half way to disaster I cut my loses, if it's mostly good, it's good enough.
- Feel good enough about myself to think it's OK to just be. Production is a big part of how I justify my existence.