I’m in need of your time management skills/advice. I’m trying to balance family (wife & daughter) full time development work, freelance work, writing articles for the community, doing side projects, being a Udacity mentor, reading books, learning new technologies, going to the gym, eating healthy, and all of the other things that come along with being a busy adult.
For context here is what a typical day looks like (all times are approximate and vary slightly depending on day of the week and traffic ) :
4AM - Wake up
5AM - Leave house
6AM - Get to work
2PM - Leave work
3PM - Pick up daughter from school
4PM - Get Home
430PM - Start making dinner while daughter does homework
6PM - Eat dinner’
7-8PM - Wrangle daughter into the shower, maybe watch some TV after homework/reading book
815PM - Put daughter in bed after reading her a book
820PM - 9PM - Get the house picked up/organized
9PM - Shower
930PM-10PM Bed time
In between all of this I’m constantly looking for extra tidbits of time to spend with my wife and daughter but it seems like the days are nonstop go go go go go until bed time.
I’m open to any suggestions/best practices/advice you may have.
Thank you in advance, happy coding, and Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Prepping meals on the weekend can help save time during the week.
The only advice I have for a tightly scheduled life, is to give yourself a day off occasionally. I have found vacation/sick leave to do me much more good when I stop hoarding it for big Vacations and just give myself a three day weekend every once in a while. Exhaustion is insidious and poisons every part of your life.
if you are in USA, all the podcasts I listen to have as sponsor some service that bring the necessary for a meal already prepared at home. And then you need just a few steps to have it ready.
You could do double food, and put the leftovers in the freezer, you could bulk prep meals, it would free you some time during the week.
You can also listen to audiobooks while you go to work to recover some time.
Yeah, I have this issue myself and for me, it boils down to trying to do too many things at once. It’s a difficult to accept the reality that I have many things I want to do but not enough time for all of them (ergo you can have anything you want but not everything).
I try to have only one or two side projects going at any time, preferably the former. Let’s say my list of activities is similar to yours - so I might choose only one or two from the following:
- writing articles
- side projects
- udacity mentor
- reading books
- learning new technologies
Core activities like going to the gym, eating healthy, family and friends, and work should be prioritised first of course.
This is a great suggestion and something attainable. Do you have any meals in mind that you make? I’m thinking something with chicken/rice/veggies is well rounded and easily frozen
I’m guilty of trying to pack too much into my days and never having any downtime. I feel guilty when taking time off. My brain tells me “Well if you have time to relax you have time to work/code” and I end up doing too much.
I forgot to add that in between all of that I’ve signed up to be a mentor for one of the online boot camps which will take another 10-15 hours of commitment.
I’ll have to work on this portion of my time management intensively as I’m terrible at giving myself downtime.
Thank you for your reply
That’s actually not a bad idea! I’ve heard advertisements for all of those meal delivery services but never given them much thought.
Thank you for the suggestion, I’m going to check them out now!
I like the idea of trimming my list of “priorities” down to the most important. I’m terrible at implementing such a change in my life but it might be necessary to ensure I don’t spread myself too thin.
I will admit that I’ve let myself slip in the exercising department as of late because I’ve convinced myself that my time would be better used on a project. But if I’m not healthy then I won’t be doing any of these things on my list.
Thank you for the awesome insight!
now my suggestion to you becomes: “schedule your down time in your calendar, and respect it in the same way as your most important appointments”
you need rest to be the most productive you can be, real rest, not distraction like watching tv or mindlessly surfing the internet
an hobby, walks, playing (table
top games, ping pong, etc), sports…
I used to be that busy, now I have retreated to my cabin to study.
Try and ride share to work, find other family members to step up with driving children, running errands etc. Carpool rides, ask at the school, kids nearby going to the same school?
Don’t assume YOU have to do it all, all of the time. Be good to yourself first. You need relaxing, stress free time for you. Every half hour you can cut from errands, adds up.
Most of my meals involve a lot of greens and proteins. I’ve started cooking several pounds of greens (collards, spinach, mustards, kale, etc.) and chicken thighs, in separate pans, at once and then eating them over the next few days. The greens are usually cooked in turkey or chicken broth. The chicken thighs are slowly simmered for about 30 minutes. One cooking session will usually make enough food for the next three days.
I really like that answer and I hadn’t thought about asking other parents for help with busing the kiddos to and from school.
I know what I need to do, but doing it without feeling guilty is the hardest part for me.
Thank you for your awesome suggestions!
That’s a fantastic idea…the last time we went shopping I bought some bulk chicken and ground turkey so we could meal prep this weekend.
I’m looking forward to not having to worry about making dinner every night - getting it done over the weekend to have meals in the refrigerator to warm up makes me feel less stressed.
Do you have any favorite recipes? Also thank you for the awesome tip!
This is the most difficult part for me…just thinking about downtime makes me nervous lol
My brain is so weird that I make myself feel bad for not working. I do like the idea of scheduling my downtime though…that way I know it’s in the schedule and it’s one less thing I have to think about.
I’m going to give it a go for the rest of this week and see how it works out. Will report back!
Thank you for the great tips
This reply really stuck with me, thank you for your insight. I took last weekend off, did absolutely nothing except spend time with my family. We played at the park, rode bikes, cleaned the house, did some laundry…you know normal family stuff - it was amazing.
I had to squash the negative feelings in my brain that kept saying I was wasting time and I could be working. I told myself that not only had I earned this but that I deserved it. It took me doing that several times throughout the day but it worked.
Thank you again for your reply again and for all the replies!