As most of you may already know we are in the middle of a big life change- work from home parents of a 5-month-old. For the past few months, we were just running like a headless chicken to get through the day.
Both of us don’t want much in life- but one thing we most definitely want is TIME and lots of it to play with our son, read, discuss things, and to even sit idle and stare at the wall :-). Free time each day is one of the key needs for us and also one of our reasons for pursuing Early Retirement.
Before our son arrived, all 3 of our meals used to end with a long conversation on whatever occupied our mind that day. And the day used to end with a stroll on the beach or in the park.
Time isn’t the main thing. It is the only thing.Miles Davis
As you can sense, we are very possessive about our carefully curated S.E.M.I Retired lifestyle that allowed us this luxury of time for the last 5-6 years. This free time allowed us to go deep into our area of interests. Such as pursuing Early Retirement, writing this blog, trying out a few businesses and hobbies.
Off late things were getting hectic and we decided to take a pause, reflect and take matters in our hand to reclaim our time.
Do you also feel pressed for time all the time?
🙂 No that is not our advice!
Here are some of our solutions that freed up our time and mental bandwidth-
Scheduled our overall day
This was the toughest because both of us were so used to our fluid schedule for the last couple of years.
In order to get any control over our time, we had to fix Kabir’s schedule- Which meant to schedule his – feed time, sleep time, play time. Out of these three toughest was to sleep train him.
He now sleeps from 7 pm till 6 am in the morning and wakes up every three-four hours to feed. And takes two naps in the day. We have also scheduled his outdoors playtime in the garden for one hour in the morning and evening.
His sleep training is one of the best wins for us. We now have a reasonable sense of our day and we get about 5-6 hours throughout the day for work.
If you are interested in how we sleep trained our son, drop us a line in comments.
We already write about our child essentials.
Followed the work schedule
Now we usually get anywhere between 30 min-2 hours of an uninterrupted stretch to work. So, it has become even more important for us to break our tasks down to small achievable goals every day.
Sugandha has these tasks on a post-it on the wall, right at her eye level. Anything that needs to be done in that week goes on the wall. It is a visually gratifying method- As and when things get done, post it are removed from the wall.
Naren uses Trello which is a digital version of post-it.
Created a Capsule Wardrobe for all three of us
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”Joshua Becker
These are the clothes we wear 99% of the time. The other clothes which we need on special occasions such as a wedding, party, winters etc are tucked away out of sight in labelled boxes. The ones we don’t use are in the charity box.
Sugandha’s wardrobe is organised in 4 different coloured hangers- One each for home clothes, outside tops, outside lowers, dresses. The visual segregation makes it even easier to pick clothes in the morning.
Naren’s wardrobe is even simpler- on one side he has casual and another side formal clothes.
Everything Kabir wears fits into this chest of drawer. Only one rule here- everything in this drawer should fit him. We quickly clean out small clothes and keep bigger clothes separately.
If you want us to write about how we created a capsule wardrobe, drop us a line.
Optimized day-to-day activities
We looked at our lives to identify areas that if optimized free up our time and mental bandwidth. These are usually minor things around our house or work that took up extra 5-10 mins daily.
Charging dock for all electrical device
How many times did your device not have a charge at a critical moment? Or does it happen every day? For us, it was a frequent occurrence because we did not have enough spare plug points in the house. Typically we need to charge a phone, laptops, iPad, and an emergency light.
I am not exaggerating when I say Naren and I would reach out for these things (we share iPad, Phone for taking photos and emergency light we use in the night) and feel irritated!!
I don’t know why it took us so long to come up with this simple solution-An inexpensive charging dock with power surge extension board. Now we can charge up to 5 devices at the same time :-)))) Every morning we charge all my devices with one click!!!! Bonus- the desk looks more organized.
We now do 4-5 days of meal planning the day we buy veggies. It just takes extra 15 mins, while I go through all veggies and pair them up with dal, chole, Rajma or other Conti, international dishes. This saves 10-15 precious mins in the morning. This is just a beginning we want to optimize it further by creating season menus and online grocery shopping list. More on it later
Reduced number of food-related decision
We cook one dal and two veggies every day in the morning. For lunch, we eat it with roti and for dinner, we eat it with rice. This is fixed so that we again do not have to think about dinner.
We have a whats app group where we both keep adding stuff as and when stuff is about to get over. We are slowly training our house helps to let us know well in advance before running out of groceries or cleaning supplies. Once a week we WhatsApp the same list to our local grocery store.
We identified items we run out frequently and added them for subscription service- It saves us both time and money.
Saying no to indoor plants, decoration items-
we removed all non-essential things that need extra care or collected dust in our house.
These are few changes that save us time, energy and most importantly mental bandwidth. We are motivated to keep looking out to further improve our lives and increase our free time.
What do you do to optimize your time and energy? let us know in comments!!!