How many times have you read the advice to sneak tasks into those “spare” minutes in the day? The five minutes while waiting in the car pool line, the seven minutes while the kids play in the bathtub, the four minutes while you wait for the water to boil or the oven to preheat. We’re told that these are golden opportunities to sneak in those things we say we don’t have time for.
We are told we can fill these stolen moments with:
- reading for pleasure
- taking care of ourselves
- connecting with your kids
- teaching your kids
These are just a few of the tasks we are told we can fill up those “extra” minutes in our day with. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that many unaccounted for minutes in my day. Certainly not enough to squeeze in all the suggested activities I could squeeze in if I were maximizing those seconds in my day.
For example, take bath time. After the hair is washed and the wriggly bodies are scrubbed, my kids like to splash and play for five or ten minutes (or until after the water gets cold if I would let them). So according to all the suggestions I read, I could be using these minutes read a magazine. Or to give myself a five minute facial or remove my nail polish. Or to clean my sink, toilet, etc. Or to organize my linen closet or cupboard under my sink. Or to talk to my kids about their day, their hopes, their dreams. Or to practice skills like counting, spelling, or patterning with my children. I don’t know how you do the math, but that’s at least 40 minutes worth of “stuff” right there. Talk about cold water and prune-like fingers.
So what do I usually end up doing while my kids are splashing and squirting? I usually feel so overwhelmed by all the activities I should be fitting in right then, that I stare out the window or at the wall and fret about all the things I should be doing right then. Productive and efficient, huh?
I wish this was one of my posts where I then go on to offer five or ten tips for solving this dilemma. However, I don’t have the answer, either. So this is a post where I ask YOU how to solve this dilemma. How do you spend the minutes you can fill with things you never get to? How do you decide what to fill those minutes with?
How do you prioritize the priorities?