Friday, 20 November 2015

Vicar's Study - I Know How She Does It

I'm a bit in love with a new book I am reading. Do you remember that film (or indeed the book) 'I Don't Know How She Does It' with Sarah Jessica Parker? I remember watching that with this sinking feeling about the future. This was going to be me, I thought, the Mum who fakes homemade pies by bashing them with a rolling pin or who is always rushing from one place to the next trying to maintain a career I love and a family I am devoted to.


Well, scrap all that 'I Know How She Does It' by Laura Vanderkam is like the complete reversal of all this and has actually given me some semblance of hope that I can pursue goals at home and in my leisure time as well as at work. If you too have vague hopes of (or indeed are attempting to pull off!) combining a full personal and family life with a busy and successful work life, then this book could be a bit of a revelation for you too!

The book is like going to Time Management Bootcamp. Week One with the book and I was filling in a time log of my every movement every fifteen minutes, 24 hours a day, for a week. My goodness this in itself was a revelation! It turns out I make a massive big deal about some things that use hardly any of my time and allocate next to no time for some of the things that are most important to me in life. Who knew?!


Laura encourages you to start looking at your week as 168 hours rather than 24 hour blocks when looking for balance and fulfilment. Yes, some days may be crazy with work, but other days you can leave at 4 and have drinks with your best friend or take your kids to the library. Adding up how much time I spent on different activities gave me much more of a sense of calm and challenged that little voice saying 'You are so busy! This such a nightmare!'. Yes, my work life is busy but actually it only takes up about 50 hours a week. With 56 hours of sleep that still leaves 62 hours in my week to do with exactly as I please. Not too shabby!

This is a lovely thought when you are in the midst of a busy work day. Laura even suggests that if you want to make inroads at work then you might consider working more hours. Steady on! But the thing about thinking about your time is that it allows you to take control of it. To make informed decisions about how you want to spend it rather than dashing from thing to thing headless chicken style and exclaiming 'I don't have any time!' Likewise she also suggest that we really consider how we want to spent our leisure time rather than assuming we have none as this is a sure fire way to lose all your personal time into the blackhole of internet browsing and watching endless reruns of The Big Bang Theory (or is that just me?!)
Laura presents life a mosaic and encourages you to move the slots around as it works best for you and gives you a huge wealth of tips, based on compiling time logs of many women in high level careers, on how to get the best out of your work life, family time and personal life. Getting all you want out of life, she suggests, is about playing around with the tiles until you get an interesting, varied and full picture emerging. The picture that you really want. For me this picture includes growing in my new role at work, working on this blog, praying (I have to say that as Vicar right? but it actually keeps me sane!), sewing, cooking meals from scratch and having little adventures in London visiting all the museums and eating and extraordinary amount of cake. I can indeed do all of these things! Hurrah!

I can't recommend it enough, particularly if you are currently looking at your life and wondering how it is all going to happen in the hours you have Or if you have a bucket list as long as your arm and feel like the time just isn't there to pursue the interest you want to. I would practically press it into your hands if you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment by all the demands of your life. So basically, read it! This is a great little book.

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