February 15, 2016

Time Management on Survival Days

How do you do it all? I am a person who has wondered this about others, and mostly I feel that I have no clue at all. That's why I took Katharine Grubb's Time Management Bootcamp, which this week is about managing during "off days." 

Since we are renovating, packing, taking floors out of current house, keeping our jobs, raising our teens, it seems to me that lately, every day is a survival day.

Here's what I do to keep my sanity, and still get some stuff done in these crazy times:

Delegate or die

My dearest darling teens have just done the dishes and somehow, miraculously, the dishwasher is even running right now, as I take time to write this blog. Earlier, I sent my daughter to the garage to get the headlight on the car fixed. She not only did it, but afterwards came back fully energized, decluttered and packed up half her room!

Cooking healthy but fast(er)

Recently, after doing the exercise where I charted what I was spending time on, I realized that I spend far too much time thinking about what to cook for dinner, then shopping a few times a week, then cooking long elaborate meals. So, recently, I have found a few different ways to save time, without compromising on my many self imposed demands: fresh ingredients, warm food, tasty!, interesting and varied.
Chili and Corn bread! 
  •       Hello Fresh (much as I hate to give free publicity), this company has really saved me in the past few months during our busy times. The meals are pretty good – sometimes I have to add a few extra spices, and sometimes we feel they are a little too healthy, but on the whole, they satisfy all requirements. 
  •       An hour of research into “30 min meals” (Yummly ring a bell?)– and making a list in advance of what we’re going to eat that week – then an accompanying shopping list. In the extra busy days, I also delegate here too – both Naomi and Yoav are happy to make things such as Tacos, Pasta Carbonara, Sushi (not cheap but very yummy).
  •       Use local chefs. There’s at least one woman who has saved me more than once and her food is delicious and super fresh as well. Colleen Camastro in Amstelveen. She has a short, private list of customers, so to get in touch with her amazing food, you can ask me, and I’ll ask her…Otherwise, check Facebook: Amstelveen Buy/Swap/Sell site for other home chefs advertising their foods!

Saying “No”

Oh, I’ve become quite good at that. And also apologizing, and also telling people that in advance they should expect very little of me these days. And funnily enough, I still have amazing friends who are willing to come over, help me organize, listen to my kvetching and send me red hearts on whatsapp. It relieves me of so much guilt, that I don’t know why I didn’t start doing it earlier. Even my kids once said to me, “Mom, don’t say, “We’ll see,” cause that gets our hopes up. Just say no, it’s ok, and then we know.”

Being kind to me

Recharging your battery is essential in life. I learned that lesson, even in those hard years when I was caring for Yarden, and many mothers in such a situation would have been glued to his side 24/7.  Then, and now, I have learned that when I am fed (warm and healthy food – see above), have enough sleep and also am allowed some chill-out time, I am a much nicer person to be around. 

What I do to have fun:

When I have ‘no time’ – I still almost have time for these:
  •      An episode of House while making dinner!
  •      Listening to a podcast while on public transport on way to work.
  •       A long shower – often twice a day.
  •      Reading a few pages of a not too demanding book, before bed.
  •      A few minutes on the side of Naomi and/or Yoav’s bed, before they go to sleep. (That usually ensures that I still get a kiss – hard to come by with teens).
  •      Cuddle with my hubby. Usually these days one of us ends up snoring after a few minutes, but we still get all those warm happy feelings from the closeness. 

Bottom line

And yes, setting the timer for 10 minutes (or 30) really does help me sit down to get tasks done. I am a born procrastinator (there, my dirty little secret is out!), so I often have to trick myself to get stuff done.

And finally, THANK GOODNESS for my wonderful husband, Theo, who is an endless energizer bunny – a guy who very rarely complains, and ‘just does it.’ Where would I be without him!?


  1. YAY Audrey! So encouraged by your words and ideas! :)

  2. I need to stop and take more time for me. I'm glad people give me reminders!