You always have time...

...for what you do first.

I don't remember where I read that quote, but I've been trying to live by it for about a year now.  I even tried to teach it to my fourth graders as a lesson in time management.  I think probably two of them got it and the rest just nodded along and then did whatever activity was the one that seemed easiest or most fun, but life lessons from ten-year-olds (and there are many!) will have to live in another post.  

Time management is apparently this crazy western notion we have because we are overscheduled, underrested, and generally pushing ourselves to the limit.  Many others advise scaling back our lives in order to have enough time to really enjoy them.  This is good advice, but as my sister and I ask ourselves often, just what exactly can we scale back on these days as mothers of toddlers?  I don't think they'd appreciate not being fed, so going to the grocery store has to happen as well as making some meals (and I already cut corners on that aplenty thanks to my trusty microwave).

Anyway, whether you think you can simplify your life or not, it remains true that you always have time for what you do first.  Clearly, it's all about priorities.  I find that if I'm mindful about what I do first, I tend to be satisfied with however the rest of my day plays out.  And if I'm unsatisfied, I can do something else first tomorrow.

So what do I usually do first?  I put away the clean dishes.  This starts me off putting things where they belong and paves the way for doing so the whole rest of the day by having the dishwasher empty and waiting to be refilled.  As I've been sick and not doing this task this week, it's become very apparent to us just how helpful this was for the state of our kitchen and my state of mind.

After that I have breakfast and read emails, blogs, the news, or just whatever strikes my fancy until my son wakes up.  On days when I don't get up before he does and don't have a chance to start my day this way, I feel slightly harried.  But if hugging my son and reading him a story over his morning milk is what I do first, no one could say that wasn't a pretty good priority either.

How about you - what do you do first?

Image from here

1 comment:

  1. I have the luxury of too many options now. When I am sharing a toddler house, it is always to see if an extra pair of hands might help. First thing now is to take the dogs out and feed them, then I am "free" until the next outdoor excursion. In both of those cases, however, first for me is usually to check e-mail, do the Hunger Site and other 4 clicks, then either check weather or go back to manage whatever e-mails had come in. I've been thinking that perhaps I should move exercise to that spot because it tends to get bumped later and later through the day. Apparently I don't really want to do that as I am already thinking of reasons I should still check e-mail before exercising!