“If you don’t know where you’re going, any train will get you there.” That is the title of the opening chapter of The Money Saving Mom’s Budget by Crystal Paine. And it is oh, so true. Without a plan of some sort, it can be difficult to hold yourself accountable for fulfilling your priorities or accomplishing your goals. Personally, I find that I just don’t function properly if my plan is not a written one.
I absolutely love planning for any- and everything. (Really, I could be a professional organizer or event planner or something. For someone else, though. I’m great at organizing things to which I’m not emotionally attached.) The OCD in me makes checking off even the smallest task – like brushing my teeth – feel like a major accomplishment. Doing so also gives me the momentum to tackle more projects. Unfortunately, I’m also really good at biting off more than I can chew. That often results in a lot of movement throughout my day, but minimal productivity.
Have I mentioned that I’m also really good at procrastinating on doing overwhelming and/or undesirable tasks? I stated in my review of Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! that I had developed a detailed time budget. Oh, I did create one, and it included about 50 daily responsibilities, despite the fact that his book suggested I focus on three. Needless to say, I have implemented my I-know-my-life-better-than-a-stranger-does to-do list – get this – zero times. It was overwhelming to look at or even think about. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
So basically, I’ve been functioning sans plan for several weeks, and it’s been an utter disaster. Josh gets bathed, diapered, and fed meals and snacks that I have to scramble to come up with. I bathe (most days), spend entirely too much time on the computer, and read. And… that’s about it.
Enter Crystal Paine’s “How to Develop a Routine That Works–and Stick With It!” series. PERFECT. Timing.
Here’s the excerpt that motivated me to create a brand new time budget:
A popular story describes a time-management professor who demonstrates the importance of prioritizing by filling a five-gallon mason jar with fist-size rocks and asking the class if the jar is full. Since another big rock wouldn’t fit, the class answers, “yes.” However, the professor proceeds to pour a pitcher of gravel, then sand, and finally water into the jar before it is finally full.
The point of the story is not that you can cram much more than you ever dreamed into any given day. The point is this: “If you don’t put your big rocks in first, the fillers of life will take up your day and you won’t fit your big rocks in at all.”
Part 2 of Crystal’s series recommends setting specific times for waking up, going to bed, and meal times; and then drafting a simple list of three to five tasks (the big rocks) on which to focus each morning, afternoon, and evening.
I’m a perfectionist, so I’m really good at turning “simple” into “complicated.” But I’m going to give this a try. I’m excited to read the rest of Crystal’s routine setting series; but in the meantime, I’m going to wing it with a newly developed time budget of my own.
In this series – my own documented attempt at better time management – I will define my big rocks, gravel, sand, and water. I’ll set specific times for waking, going to bed, and eating meals. I will draft routines for my morning, afternoon, and evening hours. And I’ll hold myself accountable by periodically posting my progress.
If you have any tips, suggestions, or words of encouragement, I welcome you to leave a comment on this or any of the upcoming time management posts. Thanks!