Managing My Time (aka An Incidental Book Review)

This pretty much sums up my life...

Presently, I'm in the "I love routine" stage. I feel like I'm just flying by the seat of my pants and just reacting to things. And it's driving me bonkers. I'm playing defense all. day. long. 

Every. time.

I couldn't have articulated all of that though, until I recently read some free ebook (which is incidental) that got me thinking about what I actually want out of my life. And who do I want to be? I want to be a good wife, mother, friend, etc. I also want more time to do things I enjoy instead of the things I feel obligated to do.

These days, my free time is precious (and few and far between--which is ok!) and I want to be intentional with it.

It was after I read that first ebook, that I remembered the ebook Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews. I read it a long time ago but at the time, I don't think I needed as much structure as I do now.

Lazy moment--story of my life some days.

I remembered that in Tell Your Time (link to her website) she explains very simply how to "tell your time what to do for YOU." *deep breath* It was exactly what I was needing. So I picked it up a few days ago and quickly read through it again. It helped so much! Her advice is straight-forward and the "homework" is super easy and intuitive.

She tells you to list all of your roles and the kind of ____ that you want to be. (Here's a link to the free worksheets.)

Here are my roles and the kind that I want to be:
  • Self - loves Jesus wholly, gracious, patient, not-angry
  • Wife - devoted, romantic, respectful, cheerleader, make time for him
  • Mother - loving, kind, not-angry(!), shows Jesus to my children, consistent
  • Homeschooler - encouraging, helping, flexible, creative
  • Friend - good witness, loyal, gracious, prayerful
  • Volunteer (library board and worship team) - committed, thorough
  • Dreamer (Amy recommends adding this as one of your roles) - prepared for future plans to travel. :)

Then you're supposed to list how you can successfully be the kind of (self, wife, etc). A few of mine are:
  • Self - have daily Quiet Time; reading Bible and praying
  • Wife - set up monthly (bi-monthly?) dates
  • Mother - plan special times (not necessarily spending money or leaving house), be available
  • Homeschooler - read more of Charlotte Mason's work, don't get distracted during "school hours" (outside of the normal diaper changes, fight break-ups and clothing emergencies)
  • etc..

Now comes my favorite part! The SPREADSHEET! eek! I love me a good spreadsheet. Amy's can be seen on her Tell Your Time tools page.(same link as above)

(I skipped a few parts; she has you list your nonnegotiable and your negotiable activities. I didn't list them because I already knew which activities I would be cutting and which I would be keeping.)

All I did was make a schedule based on the Roles and Activities I had already listed (which only took about 20 minutes total, by the way. Not bad.). Here it is:

Isn't it pretty? I even printed it so I can look at it whenever I want to. *sigh*

Disclaimer: This is our IDEAL schedule. It never doesn't always happen like this. If I actually wake up at 5:30am, it's a good day. And by "Cushion" starting at 3pm I mean, "Stressful Time When Daddy Comes Home, I'm Getting Dinner Ready and Kids Are Ca-razy."

Ahem. Yes, "Cushion." Let's go with that.

Ahhh. The color-coded boxes give me a warm, fuzzy feeling. *sigh**happy place*

Sorry. I got distracted by the pretty spreadsheet.

Most of the colors are obvious, so I won't explain them all. You're welcome.

The blue boxes, however, are the activities that take place outside our home. As you can see, that is at least twice a week. (and that's after I took a few out!) That might not seem like a lot to some of you, but when you have 3 small children, and you're homeschooling (only one!) it *is* a lot.  I know some of you are Super Woman and can do all this and more, but I. am. not.

I have to tell you, making my weekly schedule (did I mention how much FUN it was?!) was a real eye-opener. It made me see how much time I spend actually doing things that have to be done: meals, self-care, school, errands, baths... well, baths are negotiable, right? I kid!

Sort of.

I realized that in order to be the kind of person that I want to be, I need to have more margin in my days. I need time to just BE with my kids, BE with my husband (not *that* kind of be! get your mind out of the gutter!) and well, just BE. I can't be a good "anything" if I'm always gone or "busy." Ugh. I hate that word.

So I let a few things go. 

I was in a great Beth Moore study, but it was just one. more. thing. for me to do. I'm still doing the homework in my Quiet Times, but not having one more place to be every other week is a relief. I can now use that time to hang out with Mr. N or spend it with a friend, which these days, feeds my soul more than you would think!

Another thing I decided to let go for the time being is my place on the church worship team.*sniff* I love singing. I can't say I love singing on stage, but it was getting easier. :)

I'll miss it a lot, but I can't justify the amount of time it takes up. Having to drag 3 small children to church 2 hours earlier each week is way too stressful. Sundays are already stressful enough, thankyouverymuch! Not to mention every Wednesday night. That would not a Happy Mama make. And it's something I can always go back to later when the Littles aren't so.. Little.

Me. Yep.

The thing is, other than dropping those two activities, I haven't really done anything different since writing all of that out, but it has still helped me tremendously just to see on paper (on a spreadsheet! eek!), that, yes, there is a reason why I feel a little frazzled sometimes.

I still have days.. who am I kidding?.. almost every day I still feel like I'm playing defense, but at least I know that I *do* have some margin in my days and I *am* meeting all most of the needs of my family (children are being fed, schooled and occasionally bathed). And just knowing those things clears up some head-space and lets me breath a little bit easier.

And that means A LOT when I go to bed at night thinking, "What on earth did I even DO today?"

If you are stuck in a place where you don't feel like you have any direction and your days just go by without you knowing where in the heck they went?! then I highly recommend this short, straight-to-the-point book.

I'm not saying that Tell Your Time solved all my problems (that would be amazing!), but it sure helped me to get a vision and a goal in mind of how I want to spend and am already spending my time and that is reassuring!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my reading habit! However, I did not write this post to sell this book. It just really worked for me and I wanted to share it. :) Scout's honor or whatever.


  1. Looks good, girlie! I actually need to revamp our chore chart a little. The funny thing is now I'm more of a manager of my little army (aka breaking up fights, keeping everyone on task, and inspecting) and the cook versus actually doing everything pretty much like you are!!! Although I still do all the laundry. ;) It feels like every weekend I have to work VERY hard to catch up on things we didn't do during the school week. So, while I like the weekends due to a break from school, I don't like that I'm doing all the cleaning, cooking, etc. ;) LOL. I'm sorta lazy. I know it. ;)

  2. I've been meaning to add a chore chart to our repertoire too. :) Of course, the girls can each only do a *few* chores, but still! I'm building habits, right?!

    Speaking of "lazy", did you see all the "rest" time on my schedule?! LOL

  3. Aww, your chart looks so pretty! I've done a few of those as well, most recently with the Daily Routine app which is also great. I've just cut out all our morning out-of-the-house activities which I'm v excited about. Love the cartoons, especially the top one - for me that could read I love Charlotte Mason.. until life gets overwhelming, then I love Unschooling.. Until I feel better, then I love Charlotte Mason! Very bad.

  4. Thanks, Clare. I *love* my chart, too! Too bad life never really goes as planned! HA!

    I hear ya on the waffling thing! I'm like that as a mom. Sigh.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. It's encouraging!