Living life on a stopwatch

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

I learnt today that it takes me around 15 minutes to make myself a cup of peppermint tea and drink it.

The stopwatch on my mobile phone also showed me that it takes me around 20 minutes to shower, dress, and brush my teeth, and 10 minutes to read Morning Prayer from the Divine Office.

Allowing a bit of time extra for a bowl of cereal plus some mental prayer or spiritual reading time after reading the office means I should allow myself at least a full hour to get myself ready each day, instead of the half an hour I had been congratulating myself on making available before the children wake up.

I worked this out for two reasons: Firstly because I’m doing a little course in time management and this was a set task (it’s part of a broader course which I’ll tell all about another time); secondly because I hit a new personal low last week by driving my girls to school in my pyjamas and dressing gown.

I’ve been frustrated by my mornings for so long, especially by the fact that I would like to start each day peacefully, with prayer, and also leave the house looking reasonably well-put together.

But this has largely eluded me for different reasons at different times.

The only way to get more out of your mornings is to get up earlier.

And while it’s possible to get up at 6am when you’ve been trying to resettle a baby to sleep from about 4am to 5.30am, it’s not really sensible.

So I accept that sometimes it simply isn’t possible or desirable to be nice and organised and start each day beautifully, but there are things I can do to make sure that it happens more often than not.

One is to better manage my time and look objectively at what I spend it on and how long things are taking me.

I’ve been in denial for ages about how long it takes me to get going in the morning, telling everyone that I only need a minute to get myself ready and walking around helping the children holding a cup of tea which I return to the microwave to reheat about 15 times.

So now that I know I need a whole hour I’m keen to try, without getting anxious about it, to free up that time in the early morning.

It means beginning the night before by getting into bed earlier.

Which means giving up my Googling around time, and perhaps delegating some of the jobs I often do in the evenings, such as folding washing, making lunches, or setting up the breakfast things.

Which means teaching the children how to do some of these jobs, and helping them to manage their time so that they can do them properly before going to bed themselves.

Isn’t it interesting how by trying to put God first, everything else kind of necessarily falls into place?

It’s this work of prioritising, especially of putting my relationship with God first, which I have neglected lately, or at least taken for granted, which am very keen to do at the moment.

Then I’m sure a few other aspects of life will work a bit more smoothly as well.