Lots of people ask me about how I stay on target and get so much stuff done everyday. Sure I have a planner and checklists, but they don't really get things done without my friend, the egg timer. The egg timer was brought into my life a year ago as I struggled with getting my oldest to school on time everyday. She was only six and had no grasp of time management whatsoever. Me, on the other hand, I watch every minute tick down. Rarely does a moment go by that's not accounted for or assigned to a task. I know that sounds extreme, but I promise that sometimes my tasks are “Sit on the couch and stare into space.” Lol.
So after a lot of frustration and morning tears and fights, I bought the egg timer at the behest of our family therapist. I was timing things with my phone, but believe it or not, it wasn't enough. My phone is my phone, and my daughter can't see it, hear it, or control it. So this timer came into our world instead.
The timer is in charge of many things in my house. It's in charge of calling an end to breakfast time. It gives time for games on the computer. It signals when it's time to get out of the shower. It gives a five minute warning when it's time for homework. The timer saves me from having to badger either of my kids to do anything. I give them warning, “I'm setting the timer for five minutes and when it rings you will get ready for school.” It rings, and they fly into action.
The timer is also in charge of me!
I get ten minutes of Instagram time. SET THE TIMER.
I have twelve minutes to shower in order to make it to my chiropractor appointment on time. SET THE TIMER.
I get to sprint writing on a new project for thirty minutes before picking my kid up from school. SET THE TIMER.
You get the picture, right? Lots of people think, “Oh, I'll go onto Facebook and just look at the homepage for a little bit. I won't be on long.”
THREE HOURS LATER (Spongebob voice), they come up from their computer dazed and confused, not knowing what happened or where they've been.
I'm sure… I'm actually positive you're looking at me like I'm crazy. “How can you live such a structured life? That must kill creativity. I could never do that.” I'm going to argue that it actually frees me to be creative. I look at the timer and I think, “THIS IS MY TIME.” MY TIME to write. MY TIME to surf the internet. MY TIME to read. It's not time to clean the kitchen. It's not time to pay bills. Those times get their own slice of the pie in my life.
What happens if I don't complete a task in the allotted time? If they're important tasks like paying the bills, I sacrifice time from other slices to make up for it. But things like my shower before the chiro? I can make that! Or sprinting writing? I may not finish the thought or the scene but I got more done than I would have clicking through Facebook.
So the next person that asks me, “Stephanie, how do you get everything done? I have no idea how you have time for all of this!” I'm just going to send them to the timer on Amazon and tell them TIME'S UP on being unfocused! Live life by the timer and you'll always have time for everything.
How do you manage time? Do you still get everything done? Would you be willing to live life by a timer?