Operation Clean Slate: Week 5 – Making Time

It’s the holidays. We’re decking the halls, shopping up a storm, and sending season’s greetings to what feels like Santa’s entire list. Whatever possessed us to think that we could use this time period to also finish a project that we were unable to finish during less busy times of the year?

We’ve talked in previous weeks about how to make a project go faster when we sit down to work, by batch processing tasks, or by simplifying it from our original vision. But those techniques are only useful if we can find time to sit down and scrap in the first place. How do we make that happen?

For me, the most powerful tool in my time management tool box when I’m trying to make time for something is routine. When I make something part of my routine, I don’t have to “make time” for it. It just happens naturally in the flow of my day or week. Making something part of my routine means that I’ve made it a priority. My routine also saves me time – there is no time wasted on decision making about what to do next.

A lot of us hesitate to make scrapbooking part of our regular routine. We don’t think we should make something fun, that we do for ourselves, a high priority. So we sneak it in here and there, when we have a few “spare” minutes. And we feel guilty for doing even that. It’s just another one of the ways that many of us shortchange ourselves and put ourselves last and don’t take care of ourselves.

But there’s one thing we forget. We can’t take care of other people if we don’t take care of ourselves! We have to give ourselves permission to make regular time for ourselves…and our scrapbooking…if we expect to stay sane in this crazy world.

So, if we take a deep breath and tell ourselves that it is actually ok to make ourselves and the things that we enjoy a priority….how do we make that happen? Where can we fit time for ourselves into our daily schedule?

The answer will vary, of course, depending on your projects and your daily routine. But I can tell you how I do it. First, I sneak in mini scrapping sessions throughout my day. My kitchen scrapbook area helps a lot with doing this. While my daughter eats her dinner on one side of the kitchen table, I often am fussing with and making adjustments to the project in progress on the other side of the table. The same goes for while I’m waiting for something to heat in the microwave, or other tasks in the kitchen. I can sneak in a couple of minutes of scrap time at the kitchen table while I wait.

It takes more discipline to get in my longer sessions of scrapbooking. I do this two ways in my routine. I try to make the last hour or so before my bedtime – after my daughter goes to bed – my creative time. It doesn’t always happen but making it “routine” means it happens more often than not. The bonus of utilizing that timing in my routine is that I sleep better after de-stressing by relaxing with my scrapbooking. I also try to set aside a weekend at least once a month that is something of an informal creative retreat – a weekend that I don’t have a lot planned where I give myself permission to take the weekend off from all but basic necessary tasks and just recharge with scrapbooking and projects that I want to do, instead of feeling that I have to go at breakneck speed seven days a week.

For you, the answer may be that hour in the morning before the kids wake up. Or during nap time. Or while your husband watches football on Sunday. Whatever time you decide to set aside…make it your own. And don’t apologize for it. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and yet too often we disregard our basic needs in that area until we reach a crisis point. Remind yourself that a happy you makes you a better mom, a better wife, a better friend. It makes you a better you. And then take the time to create it.

8 Responses to Operation Clean Slate: Week 5 – Making Time

  1. KarenF December 6, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    Amen! Thank you for this important reminder. I am always making excuses that I have other things that need to be done that are “must dos” and more important, but I need to remind myself that if I don’t make time for me I will burn out. Thanks so much for this very timel post, and I hope your family has a wonderful holiday!

    • Nancy Nally December 6, 2011 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks for the good wishes Karen! With my husband gone, it will be a quiet holidays for our family but my daughter is very excited about Santa coming and is enjoying the season enough for all of us!

  2. kae December 6, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    I hope all the moms of young children heed your words. I kept putting off my needs and interests while my children were younger to tend to theirs and now they are in their late teens and early twenties and don’t have a clue about who I am and what I like. I am making time for me now so perhaps someday my grandchildren will know me better than my own children do. Routines work for me too Nancy. Thank you for reminding us that grownups need playtime too!

  3. Vicki J December 6, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Such good advice to MAKE time to do something for ourselves. I learned long ago that my ME time was hard to find so I turned to my calendar and actually wrote it on the calender just like soccer schedules and PTA meetings. That way I always had an hour or two each week that I could do something just for me.

  4. Ali MacDonald December 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Great job on these articles, Nancy! Have looked fwd to each and every one. Saved them, too! I will be thinking of you and your family over the Holidays! Merry Christmas!! 🙂 ~ Ali

  5. Lindsay December 7, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!
    I would never have gotten my “i scrap” book done without your help. It has been waiting for final touches (copying in the journaling that I’ve already written) for a year! I just pictured this perfect scenario in my mind – and that wasn’t going to happen. I love these posts and it really motivated me to get that one little project finished. I would never had tried without your encouragement. Now I want to take your advice further and try scrapping every day before bed. That would be awesome! Here’s to a awesome 2012!

  6. Gab December 7, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Great post, thanks Nancy!

  7. Caroline December 7, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    What a timely reminder, and definitely one I need to hear at the moment! I am supremely bad at making time for myself; I can be plenty merciful with others but never afford myself the same necessity (yes, necessity, not luxury). Wise words, Nancy… thank you!

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