In a conversation with my friend the other day, she said, "Martha, you always seem to be so busy! You are always talking about how much you have to do and you're always doing something for someone else. When do you do something for yourself?" I told her that I didn't usually have time to do things for myself because I have so much other stuff to do. I rush all day to get things done before the kids come home from school and then when they're home, I have to give them all my attention. Then there's supper to get on the table once the babysitting kids are gone and then supper clean-up, homework time, tidy up time, bedtime snack, pajama time and off-to-bed time. Once the kids are in bed I have to clean up after the whirlwind of disaster that has been left behind. And this is usually all done with a very negative spirit. It's a never ending cycle.
That's when she threw out the lifeline comment: "I work on flex time."
I felt like I just smacked myself in the head! Duh! Of course! Flex time! She said that when her family gets home from school and work, that's when her job starts up again so she works on flex time by taking some time off during the day to do what SHE wants to do before her afternoon/evening shift starts up again. She said, "It cut out the resentment when I was the only one cleaning up after supper and everyone else was lounging around. They finished their jobs and have earned their free time, but my shift starts up again when they get home."
Now, why in the world did I never see this before?! I do NOT have to run around like a crazy woman trying to cram everything into my days, thereby burning myself out and causing resentment to flare up, uncontrolled. Even Christ went out in a boat to get away from the press of the people and to be ALONE and REST! He even took a nap!
So, I've been trying this flex time method the last few days. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!! My attitude has improved tremendously because I know that I have already had a break during the day and now cleaning up the supper mess and packing lunches and directing traffic is not done with constant griping and (ouch) whining anymore. I'm quite cheerful, if I may say so myself!
I've also found that I've been getting a lot more done in my day because I KNOW that my free time is coming up and I want to finish my projects before I stop everything to take a break. I've been focused and, yes, even more organized if you can believe that coming from me! Haha!
Is it working perfectly? No. My to-do list today was very long and my tasks were not all quick ones that could be killed off in a matter of minutes, so I started to panic this afternoon and was rushing around trying to do as much as I could in the little time that I had left. When I realized this was happening, I just set the timer for 30 minutes, grabbed my book and plopped on the couch. When the timer rang, I went back to my work and kept going, but with a much more relaxed feeling. What a difference. And guess what? I DID get it all done before the kids came home so I could sit and talk with them, listen to Christopher read his Green Eggs and Ham book to me, watched a little Peanuts video with the boys because they kept telling me to "watch this, Mommy" anyway so I just went in and sat with them and I got supper finished and ready to serve in no time!
So maybe most of you are reading this saying to yourselves, "But of course! I've always done that!" Well, I'm a slow learner, I guess. I also want to be a quick learner because I'm sure loving this new attitude toward my "job"! Flex time. Who knew?!
To my friend: God bless you for sharing this wisdom with me! You have given me fresh wind for my sails. And thank you for holding me accountable for my rest time every day. You are a blessing to me more than you realize!