Today’s Small Things Story comes from Trisa Perry. She is an amazing mom and a woman of many talents. Today she shares her strategies of how she finds time for herself and her own projects when there’s never enough time in busy family life. And there are some amazing before and after pictures of one of her projects, too.
Trisa Perry and her husband of 16 years, recently relocated their family to Spokane Washington. She is the mom of 4 awesome children ages 4 to 14 and a Vizsla named Cooper. They keep her life busy, crazy, and joyful. As a family, they love exploring their new home and making new friends. When she’s not busy playing taxi driver for her kids, she loves to teach piano lessons, run, build furniture, and improve her home.
How to Find Time for ME When There’s Never ENOUGH Time
By Trisa Perry
I am, foremost, a stay at home mom. I LOVE my job. It’s something I dreamed about doing, and I’m so grateful I have been able to fulfill that dream. Being a mom is awesome, amazing, sweet, and beautiful.
However, being a mom is also monotonous, hard, exhausting and often thankless. Even though I believe that motherhood is my most important job, I still have other dreams and interests. For some, it is gardening, sewing, reading, crafting, hiking, running, etc. For me, it’s home-improvement and building.
I find it fulfilling to create something that improves my life whether visually, or functionally. When I find time for me, I am happier, which in turn helps me to be a better mom. Moms and dads are constantly giving, and I think it’s very important for us to fill our own buckets and make time for ourselves
So, here’s the hard part: When the schedule is full, HOW do I MAKE time for me?
1. Use a visual calendar/schedule.
First of all, I make sure I put everything on my calendar app on my phone. I love how it blocks out the amount of time different tasks or events take, so I can visually see the “unscheduled” time. (I use “Planner Pro” for my calendar and also l love the app “Productive”.)
2. Brainstorm tasks and add to the schedule.
Then, I figure out what tasks need to be completed…grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms, etc. I’m a firm believer that everything does not have to be perfect all the time. But I do feel less guilty working on a project when some of the basic chores are done.
3. Don’t: Skip the routine tasks.
Even though I’m super anxious to get going on a project, I’ll tell myself “Just spend 15 minutes cleaning the kitchen. You can spare 15 minutes…” Then I’ll run around as fast as I can, doing as much as I can in those 15 minutes. Most of the time I get it done, or close enough to done that I can finish quickly and then be able to work on my project guilt-free.
Side tip: This “just do it for X minutes” method also helps me when I’m between projects and I just don’t feel like doing anything except for sitting on the couch and watching TV. I give myself a time limit and that gets me started. When my time limit is up, and I see what I’ve accomplished, I’m usually motivated to tackle something else.
4. Do: Make the routine tasks more enjoyable.
Another thing that helps me get these monotonous chores done is listening to audiobooks and podcasts. (I just finished Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate and The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. Podcasts I enjoy are Young House Love and Ted Radio.)
5. Use what time you can get.
Most days, I’m lucky to squeeze out one extra hour for just ME. But I’ll take it! I know that the project will take MUCH longer to complete, but it eventually DOES get done, and it brings me an immense sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
A Before and After example of this strategy in action:
We relocated to a different city about a year and a half ago. I’m always looking for ways to improve a home, whether it’s a closet system, or building a furniture piece to make a space more functional, or just something to give the home some character.
Our entryway was pretty bland and boring.
Then one day I had some inspiration WHACK me on the head, and I knew I just HAD to do this project. I was nervous, because I’ve never done anything like this before, so I knew it would mean a LOT of youtube tutorial videos and just good ole’ trial and error. Before I started, I knew I would need LOTS of patience with myself and that it was GOING to take a long time. And it did.
The first day that I carved time out for myself, I drew up the plans.
Then the next day that I had a little extra time, I taped out the layout on the wall.
Day 4, I bought the supplies.
Day 5, I started on the first wall, by JUST putting up the backer board.
This is how it continued each day I had time to work on the project. I would make a goal of what I could accomplish in MY free hour, whether it was just ripping the boards to size, sanding or caulking a section, or just researching how to do the next step.
Even though it took WELL over the time it would have taken a professional, by doing one little task each day…or whenever I could, I slowly made progress. It took about 2 months, but I loved working on it whenever I could. It was my hobby. It motivated me to get my boring mom-chores done. And even now that it’s done, every time I see this spot, it makes me smile.
People ask me all the time how I found time to do this, and I just tell them I did a little bit over a LONG time. By giving myself permission to take it slow, I was still able to maintain the balance of doing something I loved while still having time for my family.
5 Tips for How to Find ME Time When There’s Never Enough Time
- Use a visual calendar or schedule.
- Brainstorm tasks and add them to the calendar.
- Don’t skip the routine tasks. Use the “just work on it for x minutes” strategy to get moving.
- Do make the routine tasks more enjoyable with podcasts or audiobooks.
- USE what time you get.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish by doing small things with any amount of time you can squeeze out.
How do you find time to get your “ME” projects done? What tips would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.
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