I have a superpower. I can create time.
Or, at least I thought so. For a while there. Let me explain.
I spent my teens and twenties doing practically nothing. Sure, I had uni, then a job, but nothing outside of that. No extra-curricular activities, no sports, no hobbies – unless you can count drinking and going to clubs. I can remember whole weekends where I’d stay in bed, ordering food to be delivered and watching stacks of DVD’s before the sun would rise on Monday morning.
Do things = achieve things
I never really understood this until I was in my early thirties. It didn’t make sense to me, it just didn’t connect in my brain. But now it’s so clear. If you want to become something, you need to do things. It sounds simple, but I never really, honestly thought it was possible.
I wasn’t raised to be ambitious, to want more, to further myself. If you were to ask my mum, she’d tell you I’m a liar. But the underlying expectation of my teenage years was that I would find myself a suitable husband, preferably a tradie of some sort, get married, and have kids. My grand purpose would be to serve my family.
My sisters fell into line. Two out of three of them married diesel mechanics named Steve. All three of them married men from my home town and had 4 children. I bucked the trend, moved to Australia and married a Myotherapist called Jimmy and only had two kids.
After I had my daughter, I discovered Ambition.
It only occurred to me then that my mum had tried to get me to better myself. She’d told me to go to uni, to study something better than just doing an Arts degree (sorry mum). She told me lots of things.
So therefore, it was only when I was holding my daughter in my arms that I realized I couldn’t just tell her things.
I had to show her.
So I decided to do all the things that I dreamed about doing, but never thought would be possible. I wanted to show her that she could do them too.
The first one was that I was going to run a marathon.
The second was that I was going to write books.
Except, now I had two little kids, one small business, and one part-time hairdressing job. I literally had no time at all.
But I did those things anyway.
So it was that I decided I was a Time Lorde. I must have made the time to do those things.
Of course, in hindsight, I didn’t make the time. I stole it, I borrowed it, I re-prioritized my life.
So here are my tips to make the time you need to get your shit done.
Mine your time from your partner
Men don’t do enough of the housework and childcare anyway. That’s statistics, amirite ladies? You’re only enabling him by taking the lion’s share of the housework. Just leave him to it, and go for your run/write your blog/design your website. If you come back to a bomb site, tell him he’s done a shit job and leave it for him to clean up. And no, it’s not “easier if I do it myself.” It’s not. It’s easier for everyone, especially in the long run, if you leave it for him to do. It takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth it.
And if you’re a man reading this, and you’re looking for tips on mining time from your female partner – you can seriously fuck off right now.
Seriously, don’t. It takes up way too much time. No one cares if you made those cookies, or if you picked them up from Woolies. Unless your grand ambition is to be a pâtissier, just buy your cupcakes from the café down the road and pretend you made them yourself.
I’ve got this one nailed. Stop cutting your hair, and it will get long so you can just whack it in a pony. There’s nothing more chic than a chic pony. And it takes less than thirty seconds to do. Whatever you do, DON’T get a short haircut, because you’ll be spending an hour or more every six weeks to maintain it, not to mention all the minutes you spend trying to style it.
Also, if you can’t give up colouring your hair, just get a few highlights. They blend in your grey, and your roots won’t be as noticeable so you can get away with having them done every few months, instead of every four weeks. No more spending hours at the salon!
Also, do most of your beauty stuff yourself, then you can utilize the waiting time to do other things. I once did my grocery shopping with eyebrow tint still on my eyebrows. It was unintentional, but it had the added bonus of alarming all the other shoppers so I got my own checkout queue opened up for me and I got out of there a lot quicker. Highly recommended.
Don’t clean up until the day is almost over
This one is mandatory for my sanity – as a parent with kids who love pulling out all the toys, all the time. But it’s not just for the parents, it can apply to everyone. Don’t just wash one dish six times. Do a bunch of dishes once. It takes almost the same amount of time to pick up three things off the floor rather than just one. Wait until the end of the day, and go into a cleanzy (a cleaning frenzy) and get shit done.
If you have unexpected guests and you’re embarrassed about having a messy house – well, snap out of it. They were rude enough to call in without giving you notice. Don’t apologize. Fuck them.
Make the most of your dead time
Got to take the kids to the doctor? You know you’re going to be waiting a while. Get your mates to meet you there with a thermos of gin and tonic. You’re not going to be able to pull out your laptop and do any worthwhile work, because you still gotta watch your kids. So turn it into a social event. Catch up with your girlfriends and have a good gossip right there in reception. The best part of this is that the doctor can’t complain about you having fun with your girlfriend while you’re in the office, because if they weren’t running late (and they always are), this wouldn’t happen. It’s their fault, not yours.
Schedule your exercise to factor in some fear
This one was crucial in my marathon training. I could only do my intervals in the short half-hour gap between leaving work and picking up my kids. If I was late to pick my kids up, it could potentially cost me hundreds of dollars and put me on a childcare blacklist. So I ran. I ran bloody fast.
It could also work if you schedule a run through a park late at night. Not recommended, but the fear of getting murdered would probably put some jet fuel in your pins.
Stop asking for feedback
You were probably right the first time. Second-guessing yourself takes up too much time, time you could be using doing some other sort of mental labour. This applies best in your creative endeavours, not so much when you’re doing your tax returns.
Your art is yours, it’s subjective, and it will have an audience that loves it. You just have to find that audience.
So stop worrying what other people think, and just get the fuck on with it.
XOXO Lauretta the Time Lorde.