There are thousands of things we do around our home every year just to keep it in good shape and whether you are young or old the time it takes seems like a second job that keeps you away from your life. It really doesn’t matter what size your home is either. No matter if you live in a 100 acre estate or a single wide mobile home there are always things that keep you working.
So, whats the alternative? Well I guess you could have one month leases on apartments and leave everything behind but that could be pretty expensive not to mention the time it takes to arrange for a new place. Or better yet you could live in hotels and never stay in one place more than a night.
Honestly there is no getting away from it. Even if you hire people to manage some of the work for you there are always things that take up a large chunk of your life and as you get older that time seems to increase as you get older because you don’t have the strength you had when you were younger.
Tracking your time and Effort
When you start realizing that too much of your time is being taken up by yard work or doing things around the house the first thing you want to do is keep a calendar of your efforts. Its kinda like when people go on a diet and then track everything they eat for a few weeks to figure out what they are consuming.
The easiest way to do this is just get a wall calendar and every time you do something write it down. Unfortunately wall calendars have relatively small boxes for the days and you can only put in a couple things for each day.
You could also use a spreadsheet or database if you are tech savvy. This in its self takes time to setup and manage but it will allow you to track more things and then do calculations to figure out where you spend most of your time and what needs to be cut out.
I haven’t come across any application that specifically helps you track time spent. There are a number of tools you can use to plan events and provide reminders. Something as simple as Google Calendar can help you plan for the future but it doesn’t really track what you have been doing that well. It is a possibility if you are willing to put in the time on it and add blocks of time.
What ever solution you pick you should stick with it for a few weeks. Every week in your life may be slightly different and the first few weeks that you start tracking your time you might have some slow weeks or you may be watching yourself harder than you normally would.
Remember that you want to track everything not just work time. If you are doing nothing then track that if you are sleeping track that because it will help you learn if you are getting enough sleep. If you are working in your yard or washing clothes or cooking a meal or shopping for food write all of that stuff down.
Yes it will take a bit of time to write these things down but hey at this point you really have no idea where you are losing your life so do it.
Evaluating your weekly work habits
Once you have compiled a few weeks of time tracking you will be able to evaluate where large chunks of time are being spent.
I think you will probably be surprised to find out that large chunks of time are being wasted. By wasted that doesn’t mean you are sitting on the back porch with a six pack although that could be a problem if you do that too much. It means you will find that your efforts to do something are often fruitless.
Being productive means understanding where you are wasting time so you can better allocate your day.
If you think that you can shop online for everything and save a bit of money that way you have to consider how much of your time is wasted searching for things. If you go to a website and start looking for some new tee shirts and it takes you 3 hours is that time better spent to save $5 or would it be better to drive to the store and buy the shirts in an hour and have 2 extra hours to do something else.
Committing to your solution
Once you have found time hoarders in your life you have to do things to eliminate them.
If you spend 8 hours a week every week trying to take care of your garden and lawn you have to decide is it worth spending that time? Maybe it is if it is one of the ways you get exercise. On the other hand you might not have that time to spend and for that reason you might have to cut some things out or do things differently.
You could remove bushes or plants that you need to trim a few times a year. That alone can save you a lot of time. Some people over plant their yards expecting to keep plants small by trimming them back this is not realistic you should select plants that fit your space when they are mature that way you don’t have to trim them constantly.
If your yard takes you too long to cut with a push mower you can try using a power assist mower that will help you or better yet use a riding mower.
You never want to be so tired after doing something that it becomes a burden. If it is a burden and you can get rid of it then get rid of it. If you are constantly feeling tired or soar then you are working too much. That is not to say you shouldn’t work hard its just saying you don’t want to have to take medicine like ibuprofen or aspirin just so you can do your work. Not to mention that stuff is really bad for you it eats your liver, kidneys and intestines… seriously don’t take that stuff if you can avoid it… we all do because its over the counter but the side effects can lead to serious medical problems.
Honestly we all need to take note of where we are spending our time. It is nice to be outside but if all you do is manage your yard then that really isn’t enjoying life. The same is true for any work you do around your home or in your life that is taking away from your life.
Find ways to reduce your time spent. Use tools or remove the problem. For some of us it might mean moving into a condo or an apartment and for others it might mean hiring a lawn service to take care of your yard work.
What ever your time tracking shows you should be evaluated and then considered for how your time is spent today and how it might be when you get older.
Plan your time by the hour and the days and weeks will take care of themselves.