Posts tagged ‘moshi monsters’

October 10, 2012

Making things happen.

I’ve been feeling a bit glum recently. Nothing major, but just a bit unsettled. Partly it’s because I’ve realised it’s October and so 2012, a year I had high hopes for, is almost at an end. I’m not exactly sure how we’re in October already. With that comes the realisation that I’ve not managed to do many of the things I had planned for this year. In some cases, that’s because I’ve done different things instead, which is fine, and in some cases there are reasons beyond my control. But in some cases it’s because of nothing more complicated than my own behaviour.

I’ve talked on here before about my top time wasters – the things I do instead of the things I should be doing. I’m still battling with them, although I’m relieved to report that my Moshi Monsters obsession has abated. To be replaced with a Blythe obsession, naturally. Honestly, sometimes I don’t quite understand myself, so I really don’t expect anyone else to…

The other night I had a bit of a revelation though. Mildly inebriated (which is when I’m the most honest with myself) I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I reach forty. Now, I’m a bit scared of forty. With apologies to those of you who are there already, but it feels incredibly grown up to me, and if there is one thing I don’t feel, it’s grown up. I have dolls! I also have a mortgage and two children, but I sometimes still wonder how I got to be thirty six in the blink of an eye. What I began to realise as I looked at my list and thought about the reasons why I’ve still got to make some of these things happen,  is that often the things I consider to be helping me achieve my goals are in fact, hindering them.

Take, for example, my magazine habit. I buy a lot of magazines. I love them. Many of those are travel magazines. I have a list of places I want to visit as long as my arm. Yet many of these places have been nothing more than a pipe dream for years and years. Imagine if, instead of buying a forest’s worth of travel magazines, I saved up the equivalent amount of money. Where might that have taken me?

Another thing I do is look at design magazines, books and blogs. I spend hours and hours of time reading, and  thinking about decorating our house. At the moment, I’m focussed on the bathroom. I’ve even had the stuff I need to do it (sander, paint, willing accomplice) ready and waiting to go for weeks. And yet, the bathroom remains undecorated, because of all the time I’ve spent being inspired to do it, by reading about other people and their perfect bathrooms. If, instead of reading about all those perfect houses, I picked up a damn paintbrush and started work, it would have been finished by now.

My tiny front garden is another thing. I’ve got a plan to re-design the whole thing with bee-friendly plants. I’ve had that plan for ages. But instead of picking up my trowel and getting on with making it happen, I spend ages looking at beautifully designed huge gardens in old copies of Gardens Illustrated.

I’m not saying for a moment that seeking inspiration is a bad thing. I’m not saving that I’ll stop buying the odd travel magazine. But the proportions are all wrong. I need less time spent researching, or reading about other people having adventures (or perfect bathrooms!) and more time doing, whether that is saving up harder (by wasting less money on dolls or on food that gets thrown away – more on that subject in another post) or picking up that trowel or that paintbrush.

So, that’s my goal. I’ve got dates booked in with my willing accomplice to get the bathroom finished, and I’ve got myself a savings account (and home designed money pot for loose change!) to make some of those travel plans less of a pipe dream. I’m going to change the proportions of my behaviour and make the things I want to do before I reach the grand old age of forty a reality, instead of something I read about someone else doing.

Oh, and one last thing. Never, never, introduce me to Pinterest. Because  that seems like the ultimate way in which I could lose hours, days even, just thinking, planning, dreaming and researching. I need to act

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June 27, 2012

Finding Time

I had a really busy week last week. So much so, that I missed two blog posts. It doesn’t take much for my ‘carefully planned’ schedule to go completely to pot. In some attempt to regain control of my time, I made a little table and populated it on hourly basis with what I was doing. I thought it would be a useful way of seeing where there was time I wasn’t making the most of.

Of course, there are huge chunks of time that are given over to work or parenting so they’re easily written off, as they are non-negotiable, obviously. But what I’ve discovered is that I claim to be busy, when actually what I’m doing is:

1) Playing Moshi Monsters. I set myself an account up so I could play with Eve, and now I’m playing it all the time. Even when she’s in bed. What’s wrong with me? I just need to complete my Moshling zoo and then I’ll be sane again. Honest. So much for not liking computer games…

2) Compiling the Net-A-Porter wishlist of my dreams, complete with evening dresses costing as much as a round-the-world cruise. For when I win the Lottery, obviously. And then get invited to the Met Ball. Which is a fairly improbable set of possibilities. It’s good to be prepared for all eventualities though, and it’s a bit like shopping without spending anything.

3) Searching for Antarctic voyages. Which, if you sail from Australia like Scott, are roughly 25 thousand pounds per head. It’s the travel equivalent of my Net-A-Porter wish-list.

4) Reading Grazia. Every Tuesday, I spent a couple of hours with this little addiction.

5) Spending time on Twitter. Ah, Twitter. I love Twitter, really I do. It changed my life. The eclectic group of people I follow means that I can be simultaneously immersed in conversations about politics, shoes, zombies and allotment gardening at any given moment. It’s utterly and completely amazing, but it steals time like nothing else.

There is obviously nothing wrong with any of these things. After all, time spent enjoying yourself isn’t time wasted, and after a day of working and parenting, it’s necessary for my brain to decompress a bit with something light and fun. The problem only comes when I think I’m too busy to work on any of the bigger things I want to do. If I fail to make some of them happen, because I’ve spent the whole year building a Moshling zoo and an imaginary wardrobe, how am I going to feel? Recording how I’m spending my time has been a bit of an eye opener. Although there is also the possibility that I need to get up earlier in the morning (like my writer friend who starts writing at 5.20am) if I reduce the amount of time I spend on these things, I might actually make progress on the things I really want to do!

So, I plan to spend no more than fifteen minutes on any of my ‘timewasters’ for every spare hour I’ve got, before putting them to one side and using that time more productively. We’ll see if it makes any difference in a month or so. For really good time-management-ninja help, I recommend you spend some time with the fabulous Marie Forleo. I’ve learnt a lot from her site.

How do you like to ‘waste’ time? And how do you stop yourself from letting those things take over? I’d love to know…