And just like that, autumn is upon us here in the UK. The days are getting shorter and the leaves on the trees are changing colour, showcasing beautiful red, orange and yellow hues. The seasons seem to have transitioned in the blink of an eye. Along with the changing seasons, our schedules seem to be getting busier, too. Our calendars are getting fuller and requests or commitments on our time are growing. This week has been particularly hectic and at times we've struggled to cram things in. Being so busy, honestly, isn't so much fun and in the long run it's not sustainable. It's got me thinking about simplifying our schedule and making some changes. Thinking about what we can change to make these days easier. I wonder what your tips would be? These are some of the changes that I'm hoping to make this month.
Planning ahead instead of procrastinating - even when I'm busy (or think I'm busy), I tend to procrastinate. If I've got all day to do something, then it will invariably take me all day. Even if it's just a selection of quick/medium sized jobs. Give me a half day, and I'll busy on and get it done. This autumn, I'm going to challenge myself to plan ahead for the weekends. For some fun days out with the family instead of letting the weekends pass in a blur of tiredness, washing and battles over homework. I can't believe that we've not even been on a forest walk together yet this month, even though we've talked about it. A cosy walk wrapped up in warm clothing and perhaps a hot drink or two is definitely needed 🙂
Getting over the fear of waste -Recently, my son decided he wanted to give up one of his sport's clubs and I was hesitant. I was mindful not only of the money I'd invested in his sports equipment, but of the time he's invested in learning the sport. On so many levels it would seem to be a waste for him to quit now.
I've decided it's time to get over this "notion of waste"...there's no point trying to encourage him to do something he no longer enjoys - regardless of whether a lot of time and money have been invested in it. Giving him the choice, means giving him the time to explore other choices and hobbies that he has a passion for. It also means we're not faced with arguments after school, trying to encourage him to go to club.
Stopping making casual commitments - It's so easy to make casual commitments, isn't it! To sign up to help with events at your kids school, take on that extra shift at work or to go to see that show you've got no real interest in. Then the following day/week/month you resent that extra shift/commitment that you have to take care of. Remembering to pause, to say you need to check your diary or to consider what trade offs you would need to make (swapping a relaxing night in/time with the kids to work an extra shift) is often enough to consider the merit of saying no.
Determining the bigger picture and focusing on it - consider whether your activities/the time you're spending is bringing you closer to your personal goals or aims ... or whether you're just plodding along on that treadmill of life without much thought or deliberation. Consider starting a journal to explore your thoughts and dreams. Or set up a free Instagram account to share images and concentrate on what is important to you; chances are you'll make some new friends with the same interests too. If you'd like to say hi, you can find my account here.
Be brave and if it's not working out, ditch it- I've found this one quite tough, but it's often necessary. If something isn't bringing you closer to your goal, maybe it's time to ditch it. Things I've had to let go of in the past have included
- Voluntary work (I used to volunteer for both the Citizens Advice Bureau and the girl guides) but it meant I was struggling to keep up with things at home. I've put voluntary work on hold - not forgotten about it.
- Poor paying jobs. I used to do a lot of proofreading for a company that I enjoyed to work for. Sadly, as a sign of the economic times we live in, they reduced the pay last year. As much as I enjoyed the work, it wasn't viable any more and it had to go once I found alternative work.
- Another online job has to go in October. As much as I enjoy earning from "side hustles" online (completing surveys, tasks and studies)...I'm terrible for plodding on with tasks because they're easy rather than because they reward me well for my time. I need to remember to take stock and really think about what's working and what isn't.
I'd love to hear whether any of the things that I've discussed in this post resonate with you, or maybe you're very adept at managing your time and have some tips you can share. I'd love to read your thoughts in the comments section below 🙂