Just as I took a look at what my ideal weekend looks like (see Life Design 101: What Do I Want My Weekend To Look Like?), I decided to look closer at how I spend my evenings. By streamlining this time into something I choose to do, I can be more fulfilled and happy.
Unlike weekends, which were cleaned out, evenings are where the bulk of my daily work ended up. Since I can’t ignore housework (although I would like to), I decided that my ideal evening would consist of doing the things I needed to as best I can, in order to maximize the time to do what I want.
Things That Need to Be Done…Or Do They?
My evenings are filled with things that need to be done. Or do they? Looking more closely at what I actually do, rather than what I think I’m doing, I find that I spend a lot of time doing things that don’t need to be done at all. Other things could be grouped together to make my time spent more efficient. Others could be automated and not need my attention at all.
I spend a lot of time in our office. And to be absolutely honest, not necessarily doing anything productive, just wasting time. Of course, it feels productive, and that is what is tricky.
I also have found that I am reading more books through to the end that I probably should. There’s too much stuff out there to read for me to waste time with stuff that doesn’t grab me, or that hasn’t been highly recommended by someone whose taste I trust.
Both of these need to be eliminated.
Some things in my after work regimen could be more efficiently done together. For example, I took Flylady’s advice to heart that I needed to do my zone housecleaning 15 minutes a day. However, since I have more time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it makes more sense to do two half hour sessions on those days.
Some things can be automated. I already use timers to automate some basic cooking tasks: the bread machine, the coffee pot, and the crock pot. I have also used timers on the oven to shut the oven off after a certain baking time on a casserole, so that I wouldn’t have to rely on my husband getting home in time to take the dish out.
But even the evening I spend doing maintenance in our office can be automated. I already use batch files to limit yak-shaving and so I don’t forget to do things, but I can take these one step further by automatically determining if things can go ahead rather than asking questions, and by automatically launching processes I currently do by hand.
I think that my evenings are not going to be any busier, but the time will be spent more effectively. I should be able to eliminate waste but get real work done.