Time Management Queen resigns.

Well. Who knew having the kids out of school for the summer would be such a time drain? Oh. I guess I should’ve known.

I have always prided myself on my time management skills. It’s something I consider a strength. It’s something I give advice on to others. Seriously. I’ve done great at time management since I began learning the concept in school in Boston… back in 2004. Okay, so not a long time (about six years). But over those six years, I’ve learned a bunch of techniques for squeezing lots of activities into a short amount of time without feeling overwhelmed and spread too thin. I mean, cripes, I write for about seven places now (some will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead) all at varying degrees of frequency but two places are SUPPOSED to be daily. And then I have personal blogs (this one, sometimes posting to neuroaster’s blog, and my autisable blog).  I have also been in school before doing this, raising two special needs kids, taking care of my physically unhealthy husband, up to 16 cats at some point, and five dogs (we’re done to six cats and 2 dogs!), and I take time for myself to just goof off on Twitter and Facebook. I also have an organization called AAFA that I actively work on… (www.advocacyfraud.org). I mean.. there’s a lot going on, right?  Not to mention the book I’m writing! So, I’ve gotten good at scheduling those activities around doctor appointments, grocery runs, time with family and friends, boys’ soccer events (practices and games), sleepover, the three hours a day M-F someone is in my home cleaning that I have to “supervise,” plus the bath lady 3x a week and the physical therapist 3x a week and the boys’ appointments with school, therapists and so on.

So, I was in a groove. I aced (literally!) my first two courses. I managed a frequency of postings that I was happy with at the sites that paid me and/or depended on me to keep them in fresh content. Well, that took a nosedive slowly but surely. I haven’t posted at any of my sites this past Monday and this week hasn’t been good either! And I don’t see it improving. I looked at what changed to see what the big drain is.

My kids. The only substantive difference in my schedule is that my kids are no longer at school during the day. So, I went back to the time I was homeschooling them to see why it didn’t make a difference then. Well, because I did my homework while they were doing their work. So, it balanced out. They weren’t pestering me with the “I’m bored” thing. I thought I had trained that out of my kids… but apparently it’s making a comeback for summer 2010.

I also have something else interesting to note. I had put Thomas on some medication the doctor prescribed for his ODD (oppositional defiant disorder).  The medicine is called Intuniv. It works with kids who are argumentative and so on. He’d been doing really well on it and I began to wonder if I wasn’t biased. Maybe I was remembering the “before” a little too harshly. Plus, I wanted to see if the changes in our discipline technique were responsible for the change or the medicine. So, I took him off the meds (weaned him off). It’s been two weeks since he’s had a pill. I can tell. I did not falsely remember crap! Oh. My. Goodness. In fact, I think I may have thought it wasn’t bad enough before or he really is worse now. So, back on he’s going first thing in the a.m.! Don’t get me wrong, in some areas he’s still improved (like, he thinks before he acts now) but he still acts on it anyway. And the argumentativeness is still there to the nth degree.

So, maybe I won’t know the exact reason that the time management blew up in my face but I think I’ve got a handle on it now. Now comes time for possible solutions. I rather think my kids need more to do. More places to go. This way, they are out of my hair. But as we’ve recently found out (see EP blog), finding a babysitter is troubling here.  I’ve become really good friends with my PCA (personal care attendant) and she recently took the boys camping with her family. They ended up coming home early so that Thom only spent one night away instead of two and Brandon just spent the day with them. Hey, that’s still a load of my arms! I was able to read through a chapter of my psych text in one day! Just like I used to (this reading includes initial skimming, reading all the way through, reading to highlight, note-taking and completing exercises in a study guide). I worried about how the kids were doing. We haven’t been away from the kids for any extended period of time, outside of their going to school, in a LONG time. In fact, since Jerry and I met and got together, the kids have never been anywhere overnight. They always have friends (okay, Thomas has always had friends) spend the night here. There was one time recently he did spend the night with a friend. I forgot that. But the last time Thomas was to spend the night somewhere, he came home instead with his friend to spend the night here. So.. anyway, our time is usually spent with the kids. I remembered while chatting via email with a former classmate of mine what I did last year and I think that’s a solution too if I can’t get a regular babysitter to take the kids out during the day so I can focus.

It’s a no-sleep cycle as I call it. I “sleep” for 3-4 hours at a time. Each time I wake up, I work on something. One time will be work, next time school, next time is time spent with the kids, etc. Of course, having insomnia it takes me two hours to fall asleep. And the kids are always in and out of the bedroom waking me up for little things or are fussing at each other and I can hear it and it wakes me up. Hubby has done his level best to try to get them to come to him with problems/questions/etc during my naps since they don’t bother HIM when he’s sleeping but they just naturally go to me. I’m their mom. I’m the answer-queen. I know it all. HA! If only it stays that way 🙂 But there is a negative aspect to that: no time to myself! Hence why I’m writing this post at 2 a.m. They’re asleep and I can think! The sleep and learn cycle works for me. I’m learning about the brain and see some studies show that people who sleep after learning tend to remember it as opposed to those who don’t. So, that explains why it has worked for me. It’s my natural sleep cycle too. So there’s less physical stress trying to sleep for eight hours in one shot and being awake for 16. So that ought to help!

If I’m not fighting my natural rhythms, then I’ll be less cranky and more patient and Thomas’ arguing won’t be as much of a stressors as it is now.  And if I’m less stressed, then I will be able to focus more and get more done with my time. That’s the hope. I’ll hopefully have the time to let you know how it goes.

Now, I’m off for my next 3-4 hours of sleep 🙂


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