Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday Salon 8 - Juggling Act

I can't believe this is already my eighth Sunday Salon post! I've really come to love writing these each week and hearing what you guys have to say about various topics. It has been tough this past month with being out of town every weekend (I'm at my dad's lakehouse this weekend), and trying to think of a topic ahead of time. All week I've been trying to think of a topic I really want to write about--rating systems? blogging stats? comments? organizing books? reading beyond the surface? I couldn't really formulate my thoughts coherently on any of them.

I finally decided I'd skip Sunday Salon this week--I've been so busy with work and other things that I haven't even been on my google reader all week, have been terrible at responding to comments left on my own blog, have barely gotten anything read. And then it hit me--my topic for this post. Juggling it all!

Sunday Salon 8 - Juggling Act

We're all really busy people--whether we are students, full-time workers, parents, spouses, friends, active in the community or with other activities. I know I never have time to do everything that I want to do. Lately I've been leaving my house at 6:30 in the morning and getting home at 6:00 pm. Once home, I try to get a workout in, clean the house, cook dinner, spend time with Scott, try to get a few minutes of blogging in before I'm in bed at 10:00. Doesn't sound very busy when you really think about it, but I'm always in bed wishing I had been able to do just one more thing during the day.

So this got me to thinking--what tricks and tips do you have to help you fit it all in? How do you manage to prioritize your life so that you get all of your obligations out of the way so you can still do the things you want to do. Because lets face it, ironing probably isn't on anyone's want to list.

My tricks and tips? Well, I'm hoping you guys will give some good ones that I can steal them! :) One thing that I try to do every day is leave my house for work just a little bit early so that I can have 30 minutes to read before work. Yes, I read in my car and it isn't the most comfortable spot, but sometimes that 30 minutes is all I get. Another thing that I try to do is make a big enough meal for Scott and myself that we can have leftovers the next night (which means a lot of casseroles!). This is easier for just the two of us, though, than if we had a family to feed. Um, ya, so that's all I give me what you got!

I hope everyone is having a great [holiday] weekend! We're predicted to have rain, but I'm crossing my fingers.


debnance said...

I am trying to slow down in my life and just do---really do---one thing at a time.

I cannot write a blog post every day, so I commit to one post, Sunday Salon, each week. I commit to visiting at least five blogs a week and commenting.

I can do that.

Margaret said...

I have more time at home now - but when I was working full time I used to read at lunchtime (when I wasn't shopping). I listened to audiobooks on the way to and from work. Now I still get up early and spend time on the computer before doing anything else - catching up on reading blogs etc. Even though I have more time I still find myself juggling, doing things like ironing in between doing things I really want to do. The only way I find is to allocate time to each thing - boring but it works (mostly).

gautami tripathy said...

I like SS as I get to know what my book blogger friends are upto. Since my summer vacation started I have been able to visit more bloggers on a regular basis.

Here is my TSS post

Anonymous said...

When I'm really swamped and my to do list is 50+ lines long, I really try to prioritize to SIX and six only top more important for the day and let the rest move to the next. I often feel like what I 'do' isn't very important and my hub often tells me I'm over-scheduled?! so, I pick 6 and relax. I can only do what I can do; worrying about it only takes valuable energy away from the task at hand. Ends up that more gets done somehow.

bermudaonion said...

I wish I had some tips, but unfortunately I haven't figured out how to do it all either.

Literary Feline said...

I haven't been very successful at the juggling act in recent weeks. I seem to be flailing around more often than not, but then, I keep telling myself that I do have a lot going on that I normally wouldn't. Still, I feel terrible that certain aspects of my life (such as keeping up with comments and visiting my online friends) has fallen by the wayside. Even my reading has suffered. I just want things to settle down again so I can get back into my usual routine.

I wish you luck and hope you are able to find a good balance, Trish. Have a great week!

Debi said...

Can I just cry now? I have no tips to offer. None. I was seriously hoping my blogging break was going to allow me to finally catch up a bit, but it just isn't happening. I have this thought in my head that if I can just make it until the end of the school year, I'll then get enough of a break to get myself better organized in all areas of my life and come September I'll be the model of efficiency. Thing is, I know that's a totally crock! I'll be every bit as frazzled as I am now. Oh well, such is life, I suppose.

Lisa said...

I don't have any tips. I spend all my time trying to catch up on life so I can do things I like to do. I'm thrilled to bits to get to work 5 minutes early so I can read. My blogging has really suffered lately, both the posting and the commenting.

Kim L said...

I totally hear where you are coming from. My timesaver is that I've pretty much given up watching television. I still watch the occasional movie or the news, but when I don't watch tv, I have time to do other stuff. I NEVER have enough time to accomplish everything I have planned, but I try to prioritize. Unfortunately, blogging can't be at the top of my list, but I at the very least work on it when I have time.

Marie Burton said...

The things that I need to do to read more is to get off of the computer and the iPhone!!!
Open a book instead of the laptop!!

And I read during lunch during weekdays at work.
It is difficult to read at home and watch the youngsters, I hate reading a paragraph and getting interrupted a million times through it; it's just not fair to the book!

I don't do the Audio books, & work is 8 minutes away so that doesn't really present an opportunity there like you have.

Melody said...

I don't have any tips either! I get into the office half an hour early, so I can keep up with all the mails and everything (they can be overwhelming at times, LOL). Whenever I'm not too busy at work, I sneak in to take a peek at blogs and leave a comment or two, and that's about all. I don't have much time to surf at home, not when two young ones are always vying for my attention, but I try to whenever I can! If only there's more than 24 hours a day, eh?! :P

TheBlackSheep said...

I, too, get up at 4:30am and don't get home until 6:30-7pm - this does include dog walking before work, at lunch and after work though. I really try and just limit the other things I do and obligations I have, or try to do them simultaneously, like blogging and television, or blogging during my break at work, or listening to audio books (audio books are love) while I walk the dogs, clean. I've given up trying to keep my living space as clean and all of my clothes ironed. Rest and relaxation are too important to sacrifice for work that will just need re-doing in five min. anyway.

If you find any magic solutions, let me know!

Karen said...

I don't think I can offer you any magic tips Trish - sorry!! I think my tip, if I do have one, is just to go with the flow as much as possible and try not to stress too much about not finding balance all of the time (easier said than done I know!). Oh - I do have one tip - I don't do any ironing!!

tanabata said...

Ironing? What's that? ;)

I don't have any great tips for you either as there always seems to be so many things I want or need to do and never enough time to do them all. Mainly I guess I just do what I can do and try not to feel guilty about the rest.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

I hope that you're enjoying your weekend at the lake house. It sounds like you're working in some wonderful down time. We all need that and it helps refresh us!

I wish that I had some tips to share with you as well. I think it's a constant process and juggling is what we all do and it's a balancing act! I think it's prioritizing things that you want to do with those things we have to do and not stressing over it all. We do need to enjoy the moment as well. I need to take my own advice!LOL!

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

I'm the worse! I realize that sometimes my life isn't the best balance when I look around my house and realize that it's falling apart. When we used to have one car and I had to pick up my husband at the train station I would try to get there 15 minutes early and read while the kids were strapped in their seats. Now I read in bed until I fall asleep, which has been getting quicker and quicker lately.

Hmm . . . tips? When I leave the house I'm totally disconnected and I think that's a good thing. I can concentrate on the task at hand. I used to have a system of certain chores on certain days of the week but that only lasted 3 months.

Dar said...

Uggggh, I wish I had tips. I'm so bad with getting involved in something and then everything else falls behind. I'm lucky that I work from home and can kind of go back and forth between things. I do however love to cook a bigger meal one day and have it the next day so no cooking has to be done. Or sometimes when I'm feeling extra energetic, make a big batch of something and freeze it.

Other than that, I'm mostly disorganized. lol. Have a great week Trish! Hope you had a good time at the lakehouse.

Karen Beth said...

Trish, I think just from the number of people here saying that they need tips, too, we're all kind of in the same boat! Way too busy for our own good. I don't have any magic or secret tips, but one thing I learned from my mom that I've made great use out of as an adult is that I always layer my errands. If I get out to do anything, I always try to get at least 3 or 4 errands done while I'm out. If I get gas, I also stop by the post office, pick up milk, go by the bank, etc. That saves me a lot of time. Also, I've tried very hard to make large meals and make them last for Scott and I for awhile. We have no problem eating left-overs or having tonight's dinner for lunch the next day. Finally, I have tried to be done with dishes by the time dinner is ready. I keep a sink full of soapy water and the dishwasher open and ready for anything that I am using while I cook. If I wash as I go, then the only thing I have to do after dinner is put our plates in the dishwasher or put left-overs into tupperware containers. Oh, also, I never sleep.

So there you have it--my four Ph.D. timesavers!

Shanra said...

I pretty much try to live by (flexible) lists. Er, when I use them anyway. It's incredibly easy to fall out of that use. If nothing else, it offers me a good overview of why the things on it did not get done. Like yesterday, I'd planned to do some reading, but wound up shopping, watching dvds and playing a game instead. So I know where my time went.

(I'm lucky, though, in being an arts student living at home with awesome parents. Half the stuff you mention I don't have to worry about yet. When I do, I need to get my listy act together.)

Oh, and by flexible lists I mean it's okay to decide that today is a no-reading day but wholly a laundry day. I tend to keep the Sunday wholly open to 'catch up' on everything I failed to do over the week.

Though another tip might be to think about when you work best. I write most/best if I don't plug in my laptop and without an internet connection, for example.

To be fair, though, I think 'juggling' is just the way things are, even if you're organised. Do you do the laundry today when the weather is nice or will you leave it for tomorrow where there's predicted rain? There'll always be things you can't plan for.

Stephanie said...

I wish I had some tips for you. I'm a list maker myself. But I tend to OVER estimate the things I will be able to do. Either that, or I just like to make myself look busy! Regardless, I never seem to be able to accomplish it all.

Good luck though!

Joanne said...

Honestly, I don't think there are any tips to make life run smoothly, efficiently, because for every thing that gets done more pop up.
I used to agonize over having our life, home and schedules perfect. But it wasn't making us any happier. So now I do what needs to be done in order for the house not to explode and then I do what makes us all be happiest.
I will sacrifice tidying clutter in order to make a delicious meal, or ignore the unmade beds and take the kids out for a fun day instead. Or substitute things - instead of an hour at the gym, we all go play ball with the dogs, or hike through the woods. That way I've accomplished two things at once (workout and family time.)

Trish said...

*Debnance – I’m finding myself in the past couple of weeks only being able to commit to Sunday Salon as well. But I agree that you can only do what you can do!

*Margaret – Your “boring” method is what I try to do as well. I don’t watch very much TV, but when I do I’m usually ironing or paying bills. Seems like something is always falling to the wayside, though!

*Gautami – Glad you’re having a good summer break so far.

*bkclubcare – 50+ items! Oh my goodness I would go insane with that many items. :P I’m a worrier by nature, but I agree that it sucks out a lot of much needed energy.

*Bermuda – Well, unfortunately I don’t think anyone has it completely figured out!

*Lit Feline – I’ve been feeling very unorganized lately as well. I don’t really like keeping to-do list, but I’m finding it hard to prioritize otherwise. My reading has definitely fallen through the cracks lately, which is the worst feeling!

*Debi – No, please don’t cry! I’ve always wanted to be the model of efficiency, but I think I’m gonna have to just resign myself to the fact that won’t ever be. I do hope you’re able to find some time this summer to get things in order. But don’t forget to have fun!

*Lisa – Ya, I’ve been finding that blogging and reading just can’t be a big priority for me right now. Sucks! Of course I’d probably get more done if I didn’t insist on going to bed at 10:00!

*Kim – I find that I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, but when I do I have to be doing something else at the same time otherwise I feel like I’m being a lazy bum! Growing up stinks, huh? :P

*Marie Burton – LOL! I could probably read more if I stayed off the computer, too! Crazy how much time blogging sucks up. Wonderful that you’re only 8 minutes from work. My commute is only 25 miles, but it usually takes me 50 minutes (I work at 75 and 635…what a mess!).

*Melody – Boo! No one has any breakthrough tips. Haha! I guess we’re all in the same boat…good company anyway. I could definitely use another hour or two each day.

Trish said...

*Blacksheep – 4:30!! Eeeks! I wish there was a magic solution, but I really don’t think there is. I guess we all just need to do what we have to and still try to keep some of the “wants” that are important to us.

*Karen – No ironing, huh? Truthfully, 95% of the ironing that I do is for my husband. Why doesn’t he learn? Not sure, but I’d rather take the time to do it than pay an arm and a leg. Bummer, huh? I’ve become quite quick at it, though. Not stressing is a great tip—wish I could follow it more!

*Tanabata – LOL! See comment above to Karen about ironing. I don’t mind being wrinkly, but I can’t let my husband be wrinkly. Isn’t that silly? Not self-guilting is a great point. Note to self: no guilt and no stress. :P

*Red lady-Bonnie – The weekend at the lakehouse was very relaxing, but I came home to a messy house which is never fun. Oh well, I guess it’s all balance. I agree that we really need to stop and just enjoy sometimes. It’s all easier said than done, for sure.

*Natasha – Certain chores on certain days! I like the theory behind that, but I don’t know if I could follow through. I do laundry every weekend, but it seems like I now go 2-3 weeks without a good house scrubbing. It’s hard when the weather is so beautiful, though! You ladies with little kiddos really do amaze me, though. I’m scared I’ll have to give up blogging when we start having kids. Hopefully not…I keep thinking if I get ahold of my life now, it will make things easier later. Right??

*Dar – I’ve never frozen meals before, but I’ve heard people say that they cook a bunch on Sunday and then save it for the rest of the week. I should also try to use my crockpot more often, but that means getting up even earlier! Sometimes I think I’d like to work from home, but I’m not sure I’m disciplined enough.

*Karen Beth – You truly are a machine! I’ve always been so amazed at how much you get done and how well you survive on such little sleep. I have to admit that I could get more done if I stayed up a little later, but I’m selfish and like going to bed the same time as Scott. If I could get my workouts in before work, I’d have a ton of extra time. I also like to clean while I cook and I’m very blessed that Scott usually helps with the cooking and cleaning of the kitchen (if I could just get him to iron…).

*Shanra – Flexibility is really important—and what you say about planning is a great point. I tend to be a planner and my husband is always telling me that things change and you can’t always live by plans. I tend to be a fairly high strung gal, so I’ve been trying to work on slowing down and just taking things one at a time (although most of me wants to be able to do everything RIGHT NOW!).

*Stephanie – I started to make lists until I got frustrated that I wasn’t crossing anything off. Maybe I just need to bring things down a little bit more so that I can feel like I’m actually accomplishing things.

*Joanne – You guys are no help!! :P You make some great points about trying to kill two birds with one stone and also to keep in mind the greater happiness. Will it really matter if I clean the bathrooms tonight or tomorrow night? It’s sometimes too easy to lose sight of the things we enjoy for the things we have to do.

Lisa said...

Reading all the comments makes me think to come back and share my overwhelming philosphy: Do I want my kids to remember my clean house or do I want my kids to remember that I played with them? Will I honestly be on my deathbed saying, "DAMN I WISH I'D CLEANED MORE!" No.

Laura said...

As you well know, I am the last person to be giving anyone tips about prioritizing! I'm really bad about sticking to my To Do list when it comes to my non-work life. I generally "find" the time to do what I feel like doing, not what necessarily needs to be done--hence my perpetually messy house. In the last 6 weeks or so, blogging has really gone to the back of my priority list. I didn't move it there on purpose, there just have been other things that have interested me more.

I seriously have no idea how I'll make it if we ever have kids! I'm already a bit chaotic with household things! Anyways...I'm rambling alot! To seem to have it together really well! You work full time, read a LOT, write great reviews and other posts, keep a tidy house (I'm assuming :)), work out, cook, spend time with your family AND iron! You are very wonder woman-y to me! :)

Michelle said...

Well, as you can tell, I have no tips, no posts, no finished books. Nothing. I am really having a hard time keeping everything moving. I have resorted to extra long bathroom breaks. How pathetic is my life?!

Trish said...

*Lisa - I hear ya! Play time is so important, but sometimes it just gets pushed back. :( Stupid work. Why can't we all be millionaires!!

*Laura - Ahhh, thank you! But, you also know how neurotic I am! My house is tidy, but it certainly isn't clean. If you came over right now I'd definitely have to make some major excuses about my office--although I'd hope you'd be too busy looking at books to notice all the other crap. :P

*Michelle - LOL! But you also have a baby/toddler (guess she's in that in-between stage, huh?). You'll find a balance.

Thoughts of Joy said...

I know you were looking for hardcore suggestions, but I think you are doing great with what you are doing. (Sorry, that doesn't help you.) I just like to make sure I do something each day that I really want to do - even if it's just for half an hour. As long as I get a little bit of the "wants" satisfied, it makes it so much easier to do the "needs" the next day and then the "wants" get satisfied again, etc. The operative word there is "satisfied". It's important to not take your time for granted and be thankful for even the little bits you choose for yourself. I have often consoled myself with a little is better than none. :)

Terri B. said...

You get a lot done in one day!!

I'm pretty lucky that my "commute" to work is only about 10 minutes. This lets me do some reading in the morning before work. I make myself a cup of tea and read for about 1/2 hour before going for a workout and then getting ready for work. I'm sometimes able to spend some time around lunch (I'm taking a late lunch today!) checking blogs. I like your idea of cooking enough dinner for two nights :o)

Petunia said...

I use the FLYLady system for keeping my house clean and clutter free. You can check out her site at Basically she has a morning list and a bedtime list of things to do but the crux of her system is work for 15 minutes (or 10 or 5, whatever you have) and work on one thing. When the timer goes off you are done. She says that perfectionism is the P-word and it prevents us from doing anything because we worry that it won't be perfect. It's amazing how much better my house looks since I've been working this way. Hope that helps.