Find the small spaces

This is not a post about scheduling every second of the day. It’s not about filling your day from the moment you wake up til when you sleep.

This is a post about how sometimes, the perfect chunk of time never comes, but don’t let that stop you.

In my last time management post I talked about how in an ideal world I would have full days to get things done, but that never happens in reality. In that post I talked about how breaking big jobs into bite-sized chunks, putting each stage into an Action Plan can help you get to your goals.

In this post, I’m on the same thread, but I wanted to say, don’t forget you can get lots of little jobs done in 3 minutes, 7 minutes, or 30 minutes.

This time management post probably relates more to household chores, but it can definitely relate to work too. As someone who works from home, my messy kitchen is less than 4 metres from my desk where I’m writing this post. That pile of washing is a 20-second walk down the hallway.

I often don’t have full days to allocate to housework – did I ever! Most weekends I’m working, have a family commitment, sometimes I’m out exercising, or just bloody sleeping.

Since I’ve started working from home and since the business has gotten bigger, as my spare time is gradually less, I’ve learned to appreciate the small chunks of time, the small spaces in between.

What do I mean by the small spaces? It’s in-between the meeting, or while I’m waiting for something. In the early days of social media (15 years ago) I used to talk about how much social media I could do on my phone while standing in the line at the shops (in the days before scheduling).

Looking for the small spaces in between can help get control of limited hours in the day.

Lately, I’ve realised that –

  • while I’m waiting 3 minutes for the microwave to finish, I’ve done a quick sweep of the kitchen.
  • in 7 minutes in between meetings I’ve jumped up (good for the body!) and sorted the recycling from the redcycling (we can never seem to keep it separated).
  • waiting 15 minutes for someone to get out of the shower I’ve folded all the sheets from the washing basket (I’ll hang clothes up later).

Sure, you may only have folded half the basket of washing, but that’s still half a basket you don’t have to do later.

I’ve gradually learned that trying to set time aside for ‘housework’ just doesn’t work. I just never get it done if I limit myself to that. Incidental time / small spaces of time – THIS is when I get things done. And I realise it doesn’t just relate to housework, it’s work too.

Housework gurus probably already knew this secret (sorry for being late to the party).

None of these things mean my house is sorted. If you’ve visited, that’s pretty obvious. It also doesn’t mean I’m not way behind on all my jobs, I probably owe you an email (!?!? insert squiggle-face emoji).

But when I’m overwhelmed, reminding myself that I have lots of little spaces of time – helps my brain a little to cope more.

Lots of small spaces can make a difference.

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