With five children and homeschool, AND a business, I can safely say that it’s hard to squeeze time in for extras. But I am re-prioritizing my time to make sure I get the extras that are important to me worked in to my life. Here are a few on my list and how I incorporate them into my busy schedule.
1. Time with my friends: This is actually easier to do during school because we are involved with a co-op where I get to see a lot of my friends. My daughters are involved in extra-curricular activities with their friends, whose moms happen to be my friends. So, we get to hang during classes, etc. During the summer, I am planning coffee and lunch dates with friends, particularly those I don’t run into on a regular basis. If we’re going to the park, I send out an email inviting others to join us.
2. Hubby time: Spending one-one time with my husband is as important to me as breathing. His 50+ hour a week job is our biggest obstacle, but we try to work in several dates a month. We recently took ballroom dancing lessons together. That was so.much.fun! We hope to take the class again if it is offered in the fall. Our dates don’t have to be expensive or last all day. It just needs to be us being together.
3. Training/motivational exercises: Because I home school and have a home business, I need to stay current on both professional goals and training and personal motivation. I like to read articles in technical journals to know what’s going on in my industry (computers), plus I am going to renew some certifications this summer. So, I will be doing some of my own home schooling. I plan on taking my children’s afternoon nap time each day to do an hour or so of reading and studying. During my drive time when I visit client offices, I listen to motivational classes. When, I say motivational, I don’t mean the pump-you-up kind of lectures. I look for professional business trainers who talk about productivity, business development, and strategizing. I always get an idea or two to consider. I also like to listen to Christian speakers. Some of my favorites aren’t necessarily within my own denomination, but they all have good insight which gives me thoughts to consider and pray about.
4. Play time: Part of taking any break from school should involve play time. I don’t want to fall in the trap of watching TV (or videos in our case since we don’t have cable) or playing computer games every day. I want to give my children lots of time to run and play and get outside. We are going to have one park day a week. and at least one swim day a week. We like to hike, though our options are somewhat limited to stroller-friendly areas. We are making play dates with friends and planning day trips to visit friends and nearby attractions. We also have a ton of puzzles and games which need to be sorted. So, during the hot part of the days, I’m going to start pulling out one or two for the girls to work on. We can begin weeding out the broken ones and those missing pieces. It’s a two-fer activity. Game playing and inventory reductions all rolled into one.
Like the insurance commercial says, “life happens.” You have to purposely plan, or the urgent daily pop-ups crowd out important long-term goals and activities.