I find that I usually have several craft projects going at one time and I am the same with reading books. I often have several partially read books sitting on my nightstand at any given time. One of my recent reads is Jessica N. Turner’s The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.*
This book is really a good read for anyone trying to find more time for the things they enjoy but because Jessica is a working mom, a blogger and scrapbooker it has been circulating around many of the creative blogs out there. The book spends quite a bit of time on the guilt that many women feel and the importance of taking time for themselves even though the author herself says she doesn’t struggle with this. I don’t have this issue either. In part this is probably because my husband works long hours and at this point everyone in my house knows I am a much better person when I have some time to myself.
The part of the book that was most interesting to me is finding pockets of time, prioritizing what I do with that time and using my time more efficiently. One of the things that I would like to do is track my time. There is a free tracker offered on the Fringe Hours website. I think I know what my biggest time waster has been and that is social media. Mindless surfing of the social sites has kept me from being more productive many times and this is something I’ve been consciously working on. When I am done with a task on my computer, I am working on walking away.
Prioritizing what to do with my fringe time is harder to do. I enjoy reading and typically do that each night for 20 or 30 minutes before bed. This helps me to wind down before going to sleep. I do love a good nap and was thrilled to see Jessica mention this option. An afternoon power nap can often be the difference between a calm and often productive evening versus one where the meltdowns aren’t just from the kids.
The other items on my list include creative projects and volunteering. As I was thinking about the section that Jessica wrote on overcoming obstacles one that stuck out to me is “When Our Passions Become Obligations”. I can feel this way about both of these areas. In particular, the last couple of years I have spent countless hours volunteering for an organization that I love but at times it can feel more like an obligation than a passion. Jessica poses some great questions, “Is this still fun?” and “Should I pursue a different hobby?” These are questions that I seriously need to evaluate over the next few months. Creative projects is the area that tends to lose out in the equation of my daily life. This is where I need to take more advantage of small pockets of time so I am going to start breaking down my projects so that I can make use of a 20-30 minute space of time. One area that I have been able to take advantage of is listening to creative podcasts (thanks to Jennifer’s suggestions). Because I work from home and I am lucky enough to have school transportation for my kids I don’t actually spend that much time in my car, except about once or twice a week when I drive to my volunteer gig. I can get through about an hour of podcasts so I am taking better advantage of this otherwise wasted time.
I was glad to see Jessica mention in her book the idea that it is okay to ask for and, in some instances, pay for the help that you need if that is within your resources. When I worked full time we had someone clean the house and mow the lawn. I agreed to give those things up to spend more time at home but if it was within our financial reach again at some point I would go back to those services in a heartbeat. I saves so much arguing and I really just don’t like to clean. So instead, I am trying to take another piece of advice from the book and let some things go. If I don’t get to cleaning as often this summer because I am working part-time and the kids and I are busy enjoying summer the rest of the time, I just need to learn to let it go.
Lastly, Elise Blaha Cripe did a great podcast with Jessica about the book on Elise Gets Crafty – Episode 056. These ladies discussed how we have seasons in life and my life with elementary aged kids looks different from moms with little ones or empty nesters or singles. At some point the demands on my time will change. I am part of a wonderful group of women who get together socially and share something new with the group. I often find myself jealous when I leave because most of the women don’t have kids or are empty nesters. I fall in the world of soccer games and school concerts and they fall in the world of happy hours and fun getaways. I need to remember that the busyness will pass as will kids underfoot and that I will miss this when they are gone but I will have new opportunities to take time for myself. It’s just a season after all.
Where can you find time for the things that you truly enjoy? What would you do with an extra hour a day to spend on yourself? We’d love to hear what you would do with your fringe hours.