Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images
Thank you for your patience as I put blogging on hold during all of October and the beginning of November. This unannounced break occurred after my laptop refused to power up.
Talk about computer issues . . . my wonderful hubby transferred my documents to another machine.
Though all my files were saved, the replacement computer had issues which resulted in reloading multiple programs which took a number of days. Then I could not access some of my files due to the version of programs on that machine.
Anyway, it’s been a month and a half of issues. Though the issues are not completely resolved, I have a way to blog. It is not ideal, but it works.
I appreciate your understanding as I was using time wisely rather than waiting for a replacement computer to process slowly. Checking e-mail was a bit of a challenge some days, so I just put the blog on hold.
Post may not come daily, but they will come more often. Coming soon is a Thanksgiving giveaway which I hope you will enter and win.
Appreciate your continued support of Using Time Wisely as we journey together making choices that cause us to put good things on hold while focusing on the best. Happy choosing!
Question: What is currently on your “back-burner” while you focus on the immediate issues?
Summer was busy! Did you have grand plans that were replaced by trips to the pool, cookouts with friends, and days packed with activity? We did. Summer was a wonderful time of closing out one chapter and preparing for the next.
In preparing and playing, I’ve gone back to the basics with simplicity. As my time was focused on planning our school year, I chose to take a break from the following:
- Clipping coupons
- Menu planning
- Shopping at Publix and Bi-Lo
With piles of newspapers calling to me, I walked by them for two months without guilt as that season required an investment of time into my family. With other ways to save money and feed my family without clipping coupons year round, I kept adding to the pile until I finally tackled it last week.
In keeping it real, Paul clipped the coupons which remain in the basket as I have not transferred them to my binders as of yet. However, the piles are not taking over my stairs anymore. This is progress, folks, which is good.
For July and August, I operated without a menu plan. Shocker, I know. Having used a menu planner for so long, I continued to think of dinner soon after breakfast. Knowing what I was planning to do took the pressure off at 4:30 p.m.
There were times when I was out of an ingredient and changed the meal, but overall, we adjusted just fine. When September began, I put the menu planner back up which I have missed on my refrigerator. It’s nice to be back in my routine.
Shopping at Publix and Bi-Lo
To stretch our dollars at the grocery store, I find the deepest discounts are found by pairing sales and coupons. Creating a list and matching coupons takes time. As my coupons are still in piles, I have chosen to limit shopping to Aldi for the lowest prices without sacrificing quality.
Another time-consuming activity that took a backseat this summer was caring for our garden. Without at least weekly care, the garden will not survive.
For the past couple of years, we have tried to grow our own vegetables. Though we had some success, I don’t have a green thumb. We had issues with worms and slugs, and then the rain last summer created a swamp for our plants and killed them.
Though missing our cucumbers, tomatoes, and strawberries, I do not miss the time investment of caring for the garden. Taking a break from the garden has been a wise choice for us this summer.
Becoming a spectator is not inline with my personality, but it was needed this summer. Freeing my schedule to focus on school has given me freedom to create and plan without a packed schedule and additional responsibilities. Without added obligations, I have found calm during this transition.
Knowing that this transition was coming, I was able to adjust and choose only the best things for this summer. Everything else was put to the side. As I discover and adjust our new routine, I can gradually add these other good things back into our lives.
Life is full of choices. Good things can drain you of your energy. Choosing only the best options gave me purpose this summer. In using time wisely, I only chose the essentials and saved the other opportunities for another season.
Going back to the basics with simplicity gave me smooth sailing this summer and started our school year with a plan to execute. During seasons of change, scaling back to the basic keeps you grounded. Happy prioritizing!
Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images
In preparing for our school year, I was gathering our curriculum. Knowing we had the second grade Bible cards that my son used two years ago, I searched for the hidden safe place I put them. After going through our home, I came up empty.
Not wishing to give up too soon, I reached out those who I have exchanged or borrowed books from to see if I accidentally gave away our cards. When all the reports came back, I was left without the set of 32 cards.
In using time wisely, I cut my losses and purchased another set. Though I hate spending money replacing items I know I have/had, I needed the cards and invested the $20 into another set.
Now, some would not bat an eye at spending $20. However, it pained me to spend money on another set, but I had exhausted my options. My daughter needed these cards for 2nd grade, so the purchase was made.
I would love to find that hidden safe place. If those cards are in our home, then I’ve found the perfect hiding spot because I can’t find it. But if the cards were borrowed, then I hope that they found a good home and get lots of use.
Besides the thrill of having all the curricula gathered, I love the new cards. These are laminated which is an upgrade from the prior version’s cardstock paper. I’m thrilled with the better quality for the same price.
In using time wisely, sometimes making a purchase (even if it is a replacement) is the best use of time and resources. I’m not constantly looking or searching anymore which is a welcome result for our mystery.
If those original cards surface, then you will get to read a third installment. In the meantime, we are using our new cards without regretting purchasing a new pack.
Question: What have you replaced after searching without success?
Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images
Sometimes on this journey of using time wisely, I find myself frustrated at myself. Today is such a case.
This past week, I have been absorbed in curricula. Having gathered about 90% of what we think we need for this coming year, I’m at the end of the gathering stage.
However, I’m stuck.
I’m not using time wisely as I’m searching for the hidden safe place where I placed my son’s second grade Bible cards.
I remember taking the cards out of the sheet protectors at the end of the 2012-2013 school year. The cards are in my house somewhere.
I put them in a safe place, and that place is so safe that I cannot find them.
Thus far, I’ve looked in the following places:
- School bookshelf
- Craft bookshelf
- Reading bookshelf
- Totes from all school years
- School supply cabinet
- My bookshelves behind my desk
- Homeschooling cubbies
Honestly, I’m out of options of where to look. Paul thinks that inspiration will come to me around 4:00 a.m. whereby I realize where I placed them. Rise from bed closing the door behind me as I click on lights and discover the hidden safe place.
Though I hope I get that inspiration, I would rather have it during waking hours. But if inspiration strikes in the middle of the night, then I will gladly find them because I’ll sleep better knowing I’ve found them.
The journey of using time wisely is not always a success. Losing things drives me crazy. I have a place for everything and work very hard to put everything in its place.
If someone has a suggestion of where the hidden safe place is for our second grade Bible cards, then please share? I’m open to all recommendations. I will keep looking, but I’ve already wasted over half a day searching.
If you are also searching for the hidden safe place of an item, then you are not alone. Those who know me well, are usually surprised when I have lost something. However, it happens. I’m not beating myself up, but it is constantly on my brain.
When I find them or replace them (last resort), then I’ll let you know. In the meantime, be careful about where you place things. You might find yourself searching for the hidden safe place without using time wisely. Happy searching!
Question: Where do you usually find things that you have secured to a safe place?
Photograph Credit: Microsoft Images
Time is valuable, and one of the quickest ways to ruin your rapport with others is to waste their time.
If you are overseeing a project and call a meeting, then please value others’ time by preparing, starting on time, and finishing on time.
Preparing for your Meeting
Map out a schedule and an outline for your meeting. A word-for-word speech is not necessarily needed, but an agenda is very helpful for your participants.
With a plan in place, do your best to stay on task. Other issues might arise and need attention, but move efficiently through them and get back to your agenda.
Starting on Time
By waiting for others to arrive or needing more time to setup and get organized, you are expecting those who were on time to use their time waiting.
If you oversee the meeting, then you should be ready at least 5 minutes prior to the starting time. Do emergencies occur? Yes. However, those instances should be rare, not the norm.
If you find that most of your meetings start late because participants arrive late, then this might be a sign of time wasted at prior meetings. The meeting participants have learned that your meeting time is really 5 or 10 minutes after the time indicated.
To change that cycle, you might need to start your meetings with a special announcement or incentive whereby those who are late miss that information or reward. Participants will quickly learn that they want to be at the start of your meeting, but you must follow through and start your meeting on time.
Finishing on Time
Just as important as starting on time, the meeting must finish on time. Your participants have blocked out time on their schedule for this meeting. They have other responsibilities and projects to do. If your meeting drags on past your meeting time, then you are using borrowed time.
In wrapping up your meeting, write out your conclusion. Too many speakers spend time preparing their introduction and body/content of their presentation and then wing their conclusion. Usually that means, they repeat themselves and finally just fizzle out with a dismissal.
You have spent time preparing, so take a few more minutes to write out the finishing words for your meeting. Once the business has concluded, finish with your written conclusion, and bring your meeting to an end.
Sitting through a couple of meetings in the last month, I have felt that my time was wasted. If you are a presenter, please value others’ time by preparing, starting on time, and finishing on time.
If you are organized and value others’ time, then you will earn respect. Others will enjoy coming to your meetings, and you will benefit with eager participants when you are using time wisely. Happy planning!
Question: How can a speaker/leader/coordinator better value others’ time?