Country Living Series

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Time management

I received the following email from a reader. It addresses a pressing issue for many people: time management, especially for women employed outside the home.

(Please see the UPDATE at the end of her email.)
_______________________________________

The question:

I'm a fairly new reader to your Rural Revolution blog. I have a problem (LOL, don't we all?). My DH and I live in a moderate home. He receives Social Security disability, and I am still working (although I've reached the Great Age of 62 now)... I do work full time and it's not by choice, really.

Having said that, we are trying to prepare for what's possibly ahead, do more for ourselves, etc. We have a small garden and get a pretty nice amount of veggies and herbs, considering the size of the garden. I do cook from scratch, I sew, etc.

I WANT to make our bread every week (or twice weekly). I WANT to invest more time in the garden, try to stretch the seasons a bit (and yes, that will take a bit of money too). I NEED to sew more, I need clothing, the furniture needs some covers, etc (and yes I have material already). I NEED to be more proactive about putting up our garden goodies.

But where does the time come from? As it is, I don't have time to shop garage sales, and really don't have spare money either. I don't watch TV for hours a day. We have "fun" activities like DH's tai chi class, a spiritual group that meets once or twice a week. My sewing is sometimes "fun" and sometimes "necessary". We don't have children, it's just us two. I work 3 to 11, and need to "decompress" (quietly) after work before heading to bed.

I WANT and NEED to do the things above, but where do I find time???????

I sure could use some help here. Thanks for any ideas.


UPDATE: This reader added the following in a later email: The only thing that I might want to note is about my husband (and I didn't think to put it in the first email). Yes, he's disabled, BUT we have a great arrangement. He does all the housekeeping except cooking, dishes, and laundry, and he is the primary garden person (tilling, mulching, weeding, some planting and most of the harvesting) and lawn care person. He even cleans toilets! (He can hardly cook and despises dishwashing.) I didn't intend to give the impression that he wasn't doing a great deal of work here. He does....a LOT.....for which I am very grateful!

My reply:

A lot of the reason I have the "time" to do the things I do is because I don't work outside the home. Therein is part of your time issue. Don't get me wrong, I'm not questioning your need to work; I'm just saying it will by default limit what you can do otherwise. We work long hours on our woodcraft business, but those hours are flexible -- which allows me the time to do other things such as gardening, dairy production, writing, etc.
_________________________________

I asked permission to post this reader's email on the blog and open up the topic for discussion, figuring many heads are better than one. Since I no longer work outside the home, my advice would be limited. But others may have more experience in juggling multiple obligations and interests. So...give her your best shot!

29 comments:

  1. I wish I had something to offer, but I find I often don't have enough hours in the day and I'm home...but I have 4 littles and homeschool- I have wondered how women have time to sew, so you're ahead of me on that one!
    I make bread on a regular basis. My only advice to you on that would be to keep the ingredients handy- sometimes if I know I will have limited time I'll put the dry ingredients in the bowl, set it aside and then add the rest when I have time.
    Don't know if that helps at all!

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  2. Just a thought... is there a neighbour who could help out with the gardening in exchange for some extra produce? Or a neighbour who would enjoy sewing those furniture covers in exchange from some fresh veggies? Having a support network can help.
    Also, I work outside the home (a lot), but I break activities down into smaller tasks that I can actually get done on my lunch break etc (rather than a big task that gets put off) I know there's no easy answers, but I hope this helps!
    ~Clare

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  3. *sigh* I wish I could help. I have a small flock of sheep, a hundred or so chickens and ducks, a horse, a dog, and cats. I have a small garden. I work full-time in the city.

    I look after the grandchildren on the weekends when their parents are working. My mother is ill and my stepdad is dying. They have 3 acres up in Georgia that they can no longer care for. I need to spend more time helping them. I'm stretched waaaay too thin.

    I want to spend more time with my hobbies but I barely have time to take a shower.

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  4. sometimes the juggling of multiple obligations can become so overwhelming that a person does'nt get a thing accomplished the way they would like. this is a time when you need to simplify your life and stick with priorities. this undertaking calls for putting your affairs in order, looking at all activities under a microscope, getting organized and making huge decisions. there will be some things that you must sacrifice...until such time comes available and affordable. to remain healthy and happy you must accept the fact that no one under such circumstances can "do it all, have it all" and still be content with the life you have at the moment. what can the disabled husband do to help pick up the slack while you are at work? for instance, if he could perhaps give a little time in gardening, or housecleaning, or even in bread making this could possibly free up some time for you in the area of sewing. marriage and partnerships are a give and take proposition and you need to not only ask each other for help, but it should be expected..afterall, you live together. if he is able to do taichi, then he is able to do other things..maybe if he has never baked bread he would like to learn how.. and don't forget to praise each other for the trade offs that make your lives easier. my own husband is a disabled u.s.marine..he can no longer cut the grass, but he is able to prune the bushes and use the weedeater...he is not very good at doing the laundry, but he is very good at washing dishes and cleaning the bathrooms. i was laid off from my job in 2008 which sad as that can be, it did give me the opportunity to sew and quilt and sell the things i make at flea markets and craft malls. while i do the gardening he does not mind doing the watering. when i am busy with traveling he takes care of our two dogs. life is not going to get easier as we age and as the economy goes belly up. now is the time to decide how you want to live and share your lives.

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  5. I used to do all my baking on my days off and then put it in the freezer to pull out as needed.bread dough can be mixed,and the dough shaped into loaves and frozen.When I decopress before bed I still like to have something to do with my hands,so I sew by hand during those times.Yes I still us a machine when I have time.Also you said your husband is on disablity.Is he able to do some of these things you need help with like sewing and putting up the food.By the way don,t let him tell you men don't cook and sew.My grandmother taught her son to do theses things as well as her daughters,and my granpa used to embrioder to relax after he got off work.Good luck .

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  6. I am sooo blessed to have been able to give up my job outside the home a few years back so I can now devote more time to doing things that are important to me and our family. When I was working I would take 2 evenings a week to just work the garden, weeding, preserving etc. the weekends were cooking meals for the entire week and making bread that would last for the week. Not having to cook and clean up meals every night gave me time to do a few extra's that I wanted to do. Maybe hubby would be willing to help out around the house some?

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  7. Oh, boy - I can totally relate. I find the best thing to do to feel in control is making lists and plans... and then breaking them up into the tiniest pieces that are achievable and aiming to complete at least one tiny piece a day.

    I work from home, but running a business all alone is no small feat, and I constantly struggle with prioritizing my time for the home and preparations for when TSHTF.

    I agree with the commenters above that suggest having your hubbie do some of the work. What I do is make a list of all the things I aim to accomplish in the day and then approach my man with the list. I say, "I want to do all of this today but I can't do it all myself. What on this list can you do to help out?" He's busy with his own lists but can usually pick 1-5 things to do, such as washing the dishes or researching x, y, and z or taking out the trash.

    Sometimes it just helps to let others know your goals. I hold myself to a pretty high standard, but I hold myself to an even higher one if I've told someone else what I'm planning to do. Even though he doesn't hold me accountable to my lists at all, it's like magically once I've told him I'm going to do it, I HAVE to do it so I don't lose face :P

    I also suggest doing tiny bits, as mentioned above. For example, when I was working on the garden, it used to be just a bullet point every day, "•work on garden". But with 10000 things to do out there, what does that MEAN?? So I started breaking it up day by day: today I'm going to prune this half, tomorrow that half. The next day after that, I'm going to mulch, and the day after that I'm going to plant these seedlings. Next week I'm going to sprout this plant and that plant, and make a new list of little things to do next week. It sounds silly, only committing to 10-20 minutes here or there, but at the end of the week it really adds up!

    I also plan my sewing projects into 1-project bundles. So today I'm going to sew the darts up and re-size, tomorrow I'm going to put in the zipper, and the next day I'll do the hem. I used to think, "I"m going to make a skirt today!" but that would later seem overwhelming and I'd never even start. By telling myself: okay, today all I have to do is block the pattern -- I found peace in small things and saw my workload steadily grow smaller.

    Remember, baby steps!! It was the turtle, not the hare, that won the race.

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  8. Perhaps she is trying to take on more than she really should at this time in her life. There will be time to bake bread, increase the size of the garden, and do more sewing when she no longer works outside of the home.

    Many of the people I know who have vegetable gardens, do mending and sewing, and manage the household are unemployed or retired or much younger (no disrespect meant, just stating facts). They are not working full time at 62 AND increasing their work load at home. Sometimes we have to step back, look at what is important, and prioritize our tasks. Her job should be priority one, as far as tasks are concerned.

    Anon 6:57 made a lot of good points, IMO. Prioritize tasks, ask her husband for some help, (which is probably going to make him feel more useful), and stop adding to an already full schedule.

    IOW, she should lighten up on herself. This society is probably not going to implode tomorrow, we have some time to continue to get ready. So slow down, get some rest, and tackle one task at a time.

    Good luck to her.

    Anonymous Patriot
    USA

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  9. I think No. 1 is get rid of mindless tv. Or have something to do with you hands as you watch.
    #2 Unplug a bit, take some time and learn what you like to do.
    #3 Bread takes about 20 minutes of active work and at least 2 hours of waiting for it to rise and about an hour to bake. Don't think of blocking out 3 hours for bread making. Instead think of puttering in the kitchen while you wait. Perhaps it is preparing fruit or brining some meat. Just cause you are baking bread doesn't mean you can't do other things as well.

    I knew I'd have at least 90 minutes on canning bacon. I knew I'd have to be in the kitchen and watching the pressure. So I bottled some butter along with canning bacon. It could be brew beer, juice, or hot waterbath canning or simply cleaning and cutting veggies and fruit. It might be reading a book. Just cause a thing needs supervised doesn't mean you can't do other projects.

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  10. I, too can relate. Full-time job, partially disabled, and husband works full time. I also try to do some of the things you mention. My solution is to do 'some', but I really evaluate how to do 'some' without wearing myself out. What works for me is more about deciding how to get the best 'bang for the buck' where my time and energy are the 'buck,' and then practicing expectation management.

    Here are a few of the solutions I've found, but you may need to give up being a purist. I'm probably a heretic, but it's what I need to do, for now. I made bread 'by-hand' for a few years. Now I cheat and use a bread machine -- I still grind my wheat by hand and make a healthy loaf twice weekly. It takes about 15 minutes, and then I hit the start button! We've also traded great housekeeping for acceptable housekeeping, which is worth about 4 hours a week. For a while I tried having someone come in and clean twice a month, but that did not work out and it was too hard to find a reliable replacement.

    For gardening, I concentrate on root vegies (beets, carrots, turnips and rutabegas) and my perennial producers for now - fruit, nuts and berries, asparagus, herbs and jerusalem artichokes. These are less fussy than annuals here in the desert southwest so it cuts down on the amount of tending required and provides a little flexibility in the 'when' factor. We constructed a drip system using the 1/4 inch flex line from our local Ace, as funds allowed. You can essentially do the same with cheap hoses and an ice pick, which makes watering easier! There are even inexpensive timers that you can connect to the spigot -- turn on by hand and it stops in the time you set -- up to 2 hours.

    What I love about the root vegs is that they can grow until you need to use them -- just cut back a little on the water to slow them down. I also plant them in several 'shifts' so the last ones can be pulled in winter. Because the good stuff is below ground, it also cuts down on insect management. Beets and turnips are a two-fer if you harvest a few leaves here and there for greens. The perennials are great because their harvest increases over time with minimal maintenance -- fertilize, water, prune in winter, net if needed, thin if needed -- many of these tasks (other than watering!) can be done plus or minus a week -- which gives two weeks to fit them in rather than a daily requirement. I'm also considering letting a couple of heirloom bush beans 'naturalize' in the kid's old sandbox to see if that will be a low-maintenance addition.

    It's not elegant, but some movement is better than none in my book. Hope this helps.

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  11. Oops, one more thing! I also use seasonality as a factor. The time and energy that goes into gardening or managing the rainwater harvesting system in summer, goes to spinning yarn or crocheting in winter. One year I even collected the mending all summer and worked it that winter. On days that I was too under the weather to go to work, just sat up in bed and mindlessly mended and darned!

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  12. Bread: I love to make bread completely by hand... but I also love my bread machine. Depending on the recipe, I can throw everything in the night before, set the timer, and wake up to the smell of baking bread. Or I take advantage of the dough cycle and let the machine do all the mixing and kneading while I just shape the final product and bake it in the oven.

    Sewing: I don't have time for fussy patterns. I don't work outside the home, but I have three children under 4 and I homeschool the oldest two. The patterns I use are extremely simple. Do a Google search for Scientific Seamstress - her e-patterns are simple, economical, and very attractive. Another recommendation is to learn some simple drafting skills. My husband got a book for me called Sew What Skirts. It shows you how to take your measurements and draft a skirt pattern right on your fabric. I can knock out a simple skirt in an hour using their technique.

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  13. I would like to encourage your reader. Each household is unique and she WILL find ways to manage her life that work for her household. Two suggestions: 1) Start small. Change one thing that you notice always gives you trouble; the thing that you find annoys you several times every single week. Keep the change simple and just make that one change for a month. Then move on to the next thing. Keep a list of those very specific annoyances as you go so you are not tempted to change more than one thing at a time. You'll have your list to refer to as you go. After a while, you can speed it up, but a small victory can go a long way when you are discouraged.

    2) Remove television from your life. I "entertain" myself with podcasts as I do housework. Surround yourself with good music, educational podcasts, etc.

    Jennifer in NC

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  14. I know exactly what you are talking about. I am a 58 divorced female working full time. I have to do everything! I simply could not do it if I didn't make a very specific list. A very important part of my list is that each thing that gets done gets a big scribble through it. Makes me feel really good to get lots of those scribbles on a list! I date the list as well, so I actually know how long some of the tasks have been on there which makes me realize if I am letting something slide. I also put down some fun things so it appears that my list is not a heavy "to do" list. I belong to a book club that meets monthly and a cross stitch group that meets monthly; both of those are on my list. I list things like: sweep the kitchen floor, take out the trash on tuesday night; do a load of laundry; pick tomatoes; cook pork roast tonight; pay bills tonight! I list everything so that I don't forget, although I still miss things, but not as much and there is a great sense of accomplishment when I see things marked off the list. Every couple of weeks, I have an evening that I don't do anything on the list. It is my "day off" which is nice. The list is on the fridge so it is handy to see and mark things off.

    I also need time to decompress before I go to bed. My job is stressful. I walk a block to our parking garage and have learned to relax and let the day wash away on that walk to my car. It took me a long time to get that worked out, but now it just happens. By the time I get to my car, I am relaxed and looking forward to my evening and what I will accomplish at home.

    Good luck to you, I hope you find some inspiration in the comments.

    Sue

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  15. Steward of Forget Me Not FarmAugust 17, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    Boy can I relate! I'd love to hear more ideas from folks on time management. It's probably my biggest frustration. We have two young children, a 10 acre farm, plus my husband and I work in the city. I spend a lot of time in the van driving back and forth to work plus shuttling the children to their school and activities.

    What I've learned is . . . to let things go. I'm a recovering perfectionist but now those perfectionistic tendencies are being wrung out of me.

    I make lists. If it's on a list then it's out of my head and I can rest easier. Then I can tackle the items on the list one by one or as I get the time.

    Then . . . break things up. I'd love to have a half hour every morning to read, reflect and pray but we have to milk the cow, feed the animals, pack lunches for everyone and get ready for work. So I bring a little devotional book along in my purse. I can pull it out at lunch or even in a traffic jam and read for a couple of moments.

    It also helps to assign chores. We remind our children often that we're all in this together and they must pitch in. I tell them we couldn't do it without them. Working together helps us feel we're a part of a larger whole.

    Too I've found if I go out the garden with the idea that I need to care for the whole thing then I get overwhelmed. If I go out thinking I'll do the most important then everything else is gravy - it's more relaxing plus I get done what needs to be done.

    I try to keep tools close to where I use them. It helps to cut down on your time if you're not running back to the house or barn every time you need an oft-used tool.

    I hang our clothing on the line to dry. It makes time slow down :)

    Of course, our weekends are sacred. We don't plan to go anywhere or do anything unless it's absolutely necessary. We've given up a lot of activities for the sake of working the farm.

    As we get further along on the larger projects (ie. putting in fence posts) then I plan to use weekends for cooking for the week as someone else suggested.

    It's also important to take time to chat with friends and take a nap every once in a while - you'll feel a lot better! :) It's renewing to stand for a couple of moments and watch the sun rise/set or watch the chickens scratch. I also remind myself often of why we're doing what we're doing. A long-term view helps my day-to-day attitude.

    These are the steps we've taken to manage our time. Any other ideas for us?

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  16. All the previous comments are wonderful. Time management is so hard - there's always so much to do.

    For myself, I do specific things on specific days:
    Monday & Friday - kitchen & dining area; Tuesday: Living room and computer area; Wednesday: Master Bed and Bath; Thursday: Guest/craft/sewing room and bath. Notice that Saturday and Sunday are 'free' days - days I catch up, maybe do extra cooking, visiting, attend special affairs, always free admission, etc. Because I clean/straighten on a regular basis I find the dusting & vac takes only about 15 min. Every evening before bed I make sure the house is neatened by putting away papers, dirty dishes to the kitchen, etc. By the way, a dishwasher can make life much easier - for the 2 of us I run it only twice a week. Pots and pans are done daily. I also wipe down the stove top after supper - keeps the grease and spots to a minimum.

    Lots of 10 minute, or less, jobs can really keep a house clean, a garden neat and household tasks under control. I can empty the dishwasher in the 3 minutes it takes for the water to boil for my tea and in the 3 minutes it takes for my tea to brew I can sweep the kitchen floor and wipe down the counter.

    My cooking is the same: starting with Sunday we have beef, chicken, pork, pasta, chicken, fish and something else including soup, tacos and leftovers.

    Bread making is done in the evening after supper twice a week - once a loaf, the other rolls.

    I do mending, sewing, crafts, knitting, etc while enjoying some TV. Computer time is in the early morning for about an hour - I read the local paper on line and check a couple of favorite blogs. Usually that's about it.

    There are lots of books and on-line resources for time management. Check The Flylady's site, the library and your local Cooperative Extension office - their booklets and advice are free and part of your state government that your taxed pay for.

    Good luck in finding a solution.

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  17. Common problem. I just happened to have revisited some Time Management techniques last night. I learned a ton from speaker Brian Tracy. Between him, Zig Ziglar, and Tony Robbins I learned a lot of helpful techniques on management of time and setting goals.

    It may seem counterproductive to suggest spending precious time listening to these folks but as Brian Tracy once stated, and I'm paraphrasing, for every minute spent Planning you save 10 minutes of Doing. Set your goals of what you want to accomplish and STICK TO IT.

    Good luck.

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  18. I have heard it said that we will find time for things that are truely important to us... I am a full-time nursing student, I my husband is a disabled Marine (recent war-we are not even in our 30's yet!) that I take care of, and I have two preschoolers that I homeschool. I MAKE blocks of time and designate them for certain activities ONLY. If the bathroom mirror is still dirty and it is time to teach the kids, well, it just stays dirty. If the last three addition problems aren't completed on as assignment- they will still be there tomorrow. I do set aside some time every week (sometimes an hour, sometimes 3) to either do nothing or do something on my "wish list" (like coffee with a neighbor, edging the sidewalk, etc.) Determine what you NEED to do, like cooking and laundry, and what you wish to do. Remember, accomplishing part of a project is better than not getting anywhere, and unless someone is going to die from toothpaste on the mirror it will still be waiting for you when you do get around to it :)

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  19. As a mom of 4 with a part-time profession that takes me outside of the home, I find that schedules and lists are a godsend. We do grocery shopping once a week, with a menu/list for all the meals we'll have that week. Make double recipes when it's convenient, and freeze the extra so that you have a meal already made when you have an extra-busy day. Extra trips to the store for one or two items are a huge waste of time (and gas!). Schedule time in your day (an hour, for example) to specifically tackle your to-do list.

    Cutting our TV freed up a bit of time... we didn't watch it much, but now it's just not an option. The internet sucks some time, so hubby and I have to really watch ourselves some nights!

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  20. Prayer and thanks-giving.

    You're doing a superior job of managing your life, in my view. I congratulate you and your husband for your remarkable success in taking a real life lemon into such an admirable fount of lemonade.

    That you're both physically able to the extent you are is no doubt cause for repeated celebration in your marriage. And because you articulate so well what your priorities are, I think you're going to see it all manifest in your life over time.

    Patrice made a post not too long ago about how we can wake up one day and realize we really are living our dream, although it may take us a while to recognize it because we don't know quite how it would actually look.

    A. McSp

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  21. Wow, Patrice, what a great thread. Time management has also been a struggle for me, I am a homeschool mother of one with a husband who works away for 2 weeks on, two weeks off. In the summer we are always traveling on his days off, so I really need to make sure everything is done up here at home before we leave. We have 42 acres to care for and I have a per diem nursing job so I work when I am at home. One thing I do to help with cleaning is when I go in the morning to take a shower, I clean the bathroom while I'm in there. That is a great timesaver and also if the bathroom is always clean, you just in general feel better about the house, and therefore want to be better about the rest of it.

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  22. suggestion for your bread situation.

    Try the "No knead method ". I have a book "Artisian bread in 5 minutes a day" it was worth the $18 from Edward R Hamilton online bookseller. But ,you can google the method on line and not buy the book. It makes fresh bread every day VERY do-able.
    Basic how tos:
    You mix up the batch of dough on Sunday ( do not need a bread mixer or machine) and it makes 4-5 1 lb. loaves . Let it rise loosely covered, in a tall tupperware type bucket in the fridge so the yeast does all the work . Take out what you need dough wise, form a dough ball , let dough rise on a pan 20 minutes and pop it into the oven . This is a very simple method and the book has much more complete directions .

    no affiliation for the book :) or website

    TinaH

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  23. Bread-maker....at least until the power goes off! I got mine for $10.00 from the Thrift Store. Make dough ahead and freeze.

    When you cook, make enough to freeze future meals. Chili, spaghetti, etc. A set of those tupperware type things cost about $2.00 at Dollar General, Kmart, Big Lots.

    Mix work with pleasure like they did in the old days. I hate to can...except when I am with my Can-Can club!! Even if you don't produce your own fruit and veggies, they can purchase outstanding cannable stuff at low, low, low prices...and then have a real canning par-tay to boot.

    I agree with those who have suggested sewing or knitting while watching TV. Only pay for basic service, and when there is nothing on worth watching, turn it OFF.

    Anyhooooo...there's my 2 cents!!

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  24. I use a stand mixer (mine is a kitchen aid) with bread hooks. Put your ingredients in the bowl and turn it on. It will knead the dough and all you do is add flour until it is smooth and not sticking to the bowl or hooks. Then turn it into a greased bowl and let it rise. Total hands on time about 20 minutes. I even did this while working full time as a RN.

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  25. I can offer a lot of empathy here. DH and I don't have kids, but we have multiple self-employment endeavors, a decent suburban garden, and a house that cries for money and attention regularly.

    For me, I make lists of must-do and must-do-occasionally. So, the garden is a must-do. We enjoy it, and it brings in lots of food, and it can't be ignored in season. So I try to structure my work so that additional work projects happen in the winter, not the summer, to leave garden time.

    Bread making, pasta making, and yogurt making are occasionals. I'd like to do them all the time, but realistically, I don't have time. So, they are on my list to do when I have spare moments. Winter weekends are great for making pasta, and a bread machine allows me to put in a loaf occasionally and take it out later to bake (I don't like the bake cycle). I can't do 100% of what we do in any of these areas, so it is going to have to be good enough that I am able to do it once in a while.

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  26. I feel like I should have something to add...but I don't really. Everything's been well covered.

    Sometimes life is just putting out the biggest fire first and hoping the little ones run out of fuel.

    Just Me.

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  27. I'm glad I'm not the only person who has gone to the breadmachine! I love that thing.

    What else? I am a big fan of cooking in one day what i'll need for a couple weeks worth of suppers - my favorite recipes for that come from the book called Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer. I take those same frozen meals with us camping - and pan frying Honey Pecan Chicken at the campground has gotten an inordinate amount of attention 'cause it smells wonderful -lol!

    We watch about 3 hours of tv per week. (Really, we watch 2-3 MMA fights on a DVD from Netflix every other night, that's about it).

    Most sewing gets done when the weather is bad - rainy or winter. I quilt. My husband makes hammocks and backpacks.

    I use the square foot gardening technique because it takes me less time/effort than rows, and I have limited space/sun here.

    I go to the Farmers Market and buy stuff by the bushel and spend the weekends canning/dehydrating/freezing. It saves me time to only have to set up and cleanup once, while canning a year's worth of whatever.

    I can't think of anything else. I wish I had some 36 hour days...

    Xa Lynn

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  28. I might also add - 'Simplify' and 'Routine'

    For instance,lunches and snacks were the easiest to simplify and turn into a routine. I keep cans of beans & soup at work so I don't have to worry about thinking about what to bring for lunch or packing them in the morning. I love oatmeal so I'll keep little bags of quick oatmeal around so I can just add hotwater and go, without having to worry about finding a snack or wasting money or eating junk food instead. I know these will seem like small examples but the make my days easier. Lunches and snacks are something I just don't worry about anymore!!! I'm in such a routine that I wouldn't even leave the house without throwing a pack of oatmeal into my purse.

    Pick something you don't mind simplifying and turning into a routine, and it's one less thing to invest time into.

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  29. I don't mean to sound heartless, but one of the things my father taught me was "those that can do, those that can just talk about why they can't". I work full-time out of the home. My husband and I work things out. He is home with our daughter and home schools her. He totes her along everywhere during the day. I tote her along every where on the weekend and vacations. He gardens, works, the property, repairs, fixes, cooks, shops, whatever needs done. I work outside of the home, cook, sew, crochet, harvest the garden, whatever needs done. We both shop, do laundry, whoever see what needs done does it. We get up early and workout. We stay up however late we need to. We don't talk about making time, we make time.

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