I’ve heard people say (and even I have said), “I don’t have enough time.” However, we all have the same amount of time each week e.g. 1 week, 7 days, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes, or 604,800 seconds. I can’t put my finger on the specific day. However, one day I realized that I needed to figure out the answer to the question “Where is my time going?”
While I was taking the Women of Travail prayer class this year (2014), we had to do 3 term papers . . . yes, 3 separate essays on 3 different topics.
All of that is to say, I started to make time for the things that meant more to me e.g. living a healthy lifestyle, spending quality time with friends and family, and focusing on getting my Ph.D. in mathematics. How did I do it? I analyzed how much time I was spending each day doing any and everything. Just in making the changes below, I have more energy and more time to do all of the things that I need and want to do.
Transitioning to almost vegan (You are what you eat!)
I knew my eating habits were impacting my health. I didn’t realize that my eating habits were negatively impacting my mind, body and spirit. While going on the 40 day Daniel Fast during the Women of Travail class, I only ate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts as well as drank only water. My energy level skyrocketed to a place I hadn’t realized in years. My clarity of thought sharpened and improved. Last but not least, my menstrual cycle transformed from the 7-day devil that I dreaded to a 3-day visit from an unfortunate friend. As an engineer by education, the data didn’t lie. Now, almost 4 months in, I’m cooking more at home (roughly 90% of every thing I eat each week). My refrigerator is a colorful jungle full of fruits and vegetables. My pantry has minimal processed foods. I’ve started growing my own herbs (basil and parsley), wheatgrass, and sprouts at home. I’ve lost 19 pounds. My stomach is dwindling and my legs are slimming down. Just the change in eating habits has opened up a brand new world that I’ve been missing for a very long time. The change in my diet changed me back into the fun-loving energetic comedian who loves to eat but now eats to live.
Changing the channel on the TV
Rather than mindless watching Will & Grace, a movie or Food Network, I’ve moved to switching the channel to Music Choice, channel 1958 (R & B Classic) or my all-time favorite, channel 1960 (Gospel). I’ve learned that I am triggered by music. It helps me to get up and do something especially if it’s an old school jam or a rousing gospel get-up and do something. I’ve found myself cooking my best creations, actively thinking, and cleaning while literally “jamming on the one”.
I’ve made a choice. I’ve decided that if the TV is going to be on it’s either going to help me spiritually (gospel music), get me moving (R & B classics music), or teach me something (Food Network). Thus far, the only two exceptions are the N to the F to the L and tennis. The barbarian side of me as well as the appreciator of Rafa Nadal still needs to be tamed. ROTFL!
Changing my reading habits
I have always been an avid reader to the point where my punishment growing up was having my library card taken away from me. No joke!
However, I discovered romance novels in middle school and they had become a literal addiction. I was reading in between 1 and 3 romance novels per day . . . not per week . . .per day. Although I read fast, even averaging 3 hours per book, I was wasting between 3 and 9 hours per day reading. I’ve weaned myself to 2 -3 romance novels per week and have changed from reading romance novels to researching vegan recipes, efficient and effective storage, canning and preserving foods, dehydrating foods, etc. etc. Rather than spend my time with mindless reading, I’m spending my time learning new things that I can implement in my everyday life.
We all have things that we do that don’t give anything in return. For me, it was reading romance novels. Reading romance novels took me out of my current reality into a fantasy fiction world. Honestly, I simply don’t have time to waste. As a result, I prefer to spend my time engaged in life and living. I’ve even transferred some of the time that I lost into reaching out and staying connected to friends and family on Facebook.
Kicking the games to the curb
At one point, I spent hours on Word with Friends, Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Solitaire, Papa Pear, Pet Rescue, Farm Hero, Bubble Witch, Pac Man and other games on my iPhone. I can’t count the hours that I spent. However, I now only play Words With Friends, Pet Rescue, Farm Hero, and Solitaire for no more than an hour each day if that. Again, my time is precious and the games are not benefiting me in any way, shape, form or fashion.
Organizing my house
I have always color coded my closet to ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) as well as by clothing type (pants, shorts, short dresses, long dresses, casual shirts, dressy shirts, no sleeve shirts, and camisoles) and even further by pattern (solids and patterns). Getting ready in the morning is a less than 3 minute process as a result.
But, I hadn’t organized my kitchen e.g. refrigerator, pantry and cabinets. I’ve started doing so and have shaved time off of food preparation and storage. As a result, I still have work to do in terms of moving things that I don’t use regularly from the bottom shelves in the cabinet to a couple of the top shelves. Also, I need to find items that will help me see everything that is in my refrigerator versus find the moldy science experiment in the back that had been hiding or hidden.
In addition, I’ve started unpacking all of the boxes in my house and have found many, many, many forgotten and missing treasures from the unused $150 Amazon gift card to the program of my sister Lise’s wedding to her husband Charles from 1994. Yep, this year they will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary!
It’s been a process and I’ve finally learned that organizing my home is a continual process that will need to be tweaked occasionally due to lifestyle changes. As a result, I’ve even set regular alarms on my phone and reminders in my online calendar to remind me to do those things that are weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. P.S. If you don’t know about Any.Do and I.CAL, you better find out!!!
These are a few of the changes that I’ve made in 2014 to prepare for grad school and improve me.