How do you find the time?


photo credit: bogenfreund via photopin cc
photo credit: bogenfreund via photopin cc

I recently had a friend write to me, “You amaze me. How do you find the time?  I’m scrambling all the time, and I don’t have young kids or a job (a paying one, that is).”

I laughed. The truth is, I don’t find the time. If I harnessed even a small percentage of the time I goof off, there’s no telling what I’d be able to accomplish. I might look productive, but you should see my house. 😦

Have you ever noticed that when you have too much to do, you get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Generally, I would advise tackling the most important task and working at it until you finish. But what if it’s something you hate to do? Like housework. Or what if there’s more than one thing vying for your attention? How do you balance what you need to do, what you want to do, and what you can’t ignore any longer?

Between writing, blogging, critiquing, social media, my part-time job, a dash of consulting, and being a mom/wife/Christ-follower and part-time seminary student, I spend far too much time huddled under the covers of my bed hiding from life, tired and demoralized. Today I decided to try something different. And you know what? I think this is the answer for me. Maybe it will help you too.

I set a timer.

photo 1


Not just any timer, but the timer on my oven that doesn’t turn off until you go up to it and press a button. In other words, a timer even I can’t ignore. 😉

I set the timer for an hour and got some editing done on a manuscript that has been poking at my brain.

When it went off, I set it for 30 minutes and started a load of laundry, took care of dishes in the sink, cleaned the rest of the kitchen, collected the girls’ things for them to put away later. And the timer hadn’t even gone off yet. So I wiped off the counters and pulled all the furniture out of the kitchen and set R2 (our Roomba) to work. He’s busily eating dust even as I type. 😉

R2 cleaning my kitchen floor
R2 cleaning my kitchen floor

Now I’m at the computer again for another 60 minutes. I’m finally writing a blog post, something I haven’t “found time” to do in weeks.

The thing is, just being productive gives me energy. When my house is cluttered, it sucks the life right out of me. The less I do, the less I want to do and the more I tired I become. It’s psychotic, I know. Any rational person would know this without needing to be told. But sometimes we overlook the obvious. I thank God that he gave me the idea of the timer today. I feel great and plan to enjoy my new schedule. And, as an added bonus, it gets me up on my feet for 30 minutes every hour. 😀

Oops. Time to spend 30 minutes on laundry…




17 thoughts on “How do you find the time?

  1. That’s a good tip! For me the greatest hindrance tends to be just getting started. Once I get going, I am a force to be reckoned with, but getting going can be tough to do. Thought there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment of looking back at completed productivity. Making lists helps me. Also I prefer to whip out all the little things first and then focus on the big tasks. And things like laundry which can be started and then something else worked on while it goes counts as a little thing. Putting them away afterwards however…. Oh, and since I have to multi-task, I have to have the tv-music-anything going on to keep my mind busy while my body works. Just my imagination doesn’t work or else I get distracted. lol

    I’m the type that likes to get it all done & over with so then I can relax or work on something fun. I can remember my brother saying once that he enjoys himself more when he knows he should be working on something else. Does not compute with my brain!


    1. Setting the timer helps me focus. When I was editing this morning, it kept me from checking my FB feed or doing other frittering. I can spend hours at the computer and get nothing done. 😦

      Today has gone really well. I’m please and now I can rest and not feel guilty.


      1. I’ve learned popping on headphones w/music helps me focus on paperwork and writing. Blocking out the rest of the world, I suppose. But like you said above, I am the same – I don’t find the time – so much to do and so much time wasted everyday.


    1. I love R2. He does great on carpet and my tile and laminate flooring. I have 2 friends with roomba’s that they swear by, so I treated myself to one when we moved into this house. The tip they gave me was that they are all basically the same, just some have more bells and whistles (remotes, programmable, etc.). So I bought the highest rated least expensive one and he works great. A word to the wise, if you find ones on amazon that are certified pre-owned, stay away from those models. That just means that they break and someone knows how to fix them.

      I also have a friend that has a scooba (mops), and she loves it too.


      1. I was wondering if R2 mops. So I would need a roomba for the house and a scooba for the kitchen? I like the reviews on the link you shared. So getting one (or both) of these soon as I have the extra cash! 😀


        1. It would be nice to get a scooba, but you’ll use the roomba more. And depending on your floors, you might not be able to use it at all. For instance, our upstairs is laminate, so there’s no way it would take that much water.


  2. You and I are twins more than we can admit…LOL. This post could have been written by me. My house is in constant chaos. Since I am back to work again my husband has said I should get a “mother’s helper” to focus my energy and get some things done. I am looking forward to tackling some things with this young lady plus getting some meals prepped in advance for those night when I am too exhausted. The timer thing has worked for me in the past but the need to get so much homeschooling done is what weighs the most in my week. I have always wanted to invest in a roomba. I would also like a mini review. 😉


  3. Can we make that triplets, Lisa and Karen??? I too can relate to every thing Lisa wrote! I especially cringed at the goofing off comment–I’m really bad. Or maybe it’s that I’m really GOOD at goofing off so that’s why I keep doing it. 😉 Homeschooling would complete me do me in, Karen, I seriously don’t know how you do it. I’ve considered the timer thing but never tried it. Sounds like I need to at least give it a try.


  4. Karen – Loraine was the one that asked the question, and it originally read “I don’t know how you and Karen do it…” So now you can laugh too. 😉

    And yes, Beth – let’s be triplets! Time to go back to world building…


    1. Some tasks have to get done. For instance, I had to hem a pair of pants for my hubby today. It took a lot longer than I thought, so I would have needed to work past the timer. My rule of thumb today was I had to quit computer stuff (me time) when the timer went off. If I was doing a chore (housekeeping stuff), I would finish the task if I felt so inclined. There’s freedom in being able to put something down when the timer goes off. Cleaning all day is daunting. Cleaning for 15 or 30 minutes is doable. 🙂


  5. Hi Lisa – I’m glad the timer is working for you. For me, I’ve got to be vigilant against procrastination. My schedule is so tight that I don’t have the luxury of letting things slide.

    Recently, my Mom broke her hip, which added a whole new dimension to crazy/busy. Now, while she’s at physical therapy, I run to the gym instead of waiting for her. It’s one small example of making the most of every minute.

    Contrary to popular opinion, we can’t do it all. I try to stay attuned to the Lord and prioritize accordingly.

    Susan 🙂


    1. Oh, Susan – I feel for you. My mom broke her hip almost 3 years ago. She got back up on her feet much quicker than I expected, but she’s starting to have a lot of mobility problems now.

      And you’re right — being attuned to God’s priorities is key. Thank you for commenting! 🙂


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