It probably goes without saying that I have more things on my To Do List than I have time to complete them. I am notorious for thinking I can complete 15 minutes’ worth of tasks in 5 minutes. That way of thinking contributes to my frequent frustration that I haven’t done anything. I haven’t really not done anything. It’s just that I only did 10 things when I thought I had time to do 20.
A few months ago, I was
complaining talking to my husband about how I’m always feeling overwhelmed at home. He came up with a shockingly simple solution: on the days that he takes our daughter to daycare, I do not go in to work 30 minutes early.
Allow me to explain. We leave the house at 7:00 AM to drop off our daughter at daycare. My husband takes her twice a week, and I take her three times a week. I have to be at work by 8:00, and my commute from both home and daycare is about 30 minutes. I used to leave for work at 7:00 when my husband took drop-off duty (in order to arrive 30 minutes early at work), telling myself that I’d leave work 30 minutes early. But in reality, I’d get called into a meeting or try to finish something at work instead of leaving early.
The 30-minute solution
I now spend those 30 minutes doing something for me or my family. I might load or unload the dishwasher, vacuum the living room, put a meal in the crock pot for dinner, shred a stack of junk mail, finish getting ready for work because I hit the snooze button too many times, drop off dry cleaning, or even eat breakfast while sitting at home in my kitchen. That last one always makes me feel like A Responsible Adult Who Has Her Life Together since my breakfast otherwise consists of crackers in the car or whatever I find to eat at my desk at work.
Making it work:
I tell myself I only have time to do one thing and I have to walk out the door at 7:25 (which, obviously, means 7:30). That way if I finish unloading the dishwasher at 7:10, I can get in a bonus round of shredding junk mail while giving myself a mental high five for getting extra things done!
There are still days when I use my 30 minutes to go in to work early, but I have found that I feel so much more productive if I can accomplish something at home instead. When I get to my desk at 8:00 AM after having vacuumed my living room and gotten dinner started, I feel like I can tackle anything the corporate world (or my toddler…) throws at me for the day.
So, John? This is me officially telling the world “my husband had a great idea!”