Wow! I can't believe how fast time is flying by at the moment. It doesn't seem 10 minutes since I was writing all about my last book and here I am again now talking about my chosen book for June: The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner. I brought this book after Siobhan Watts over at Bless The Weather posted about it in one of her Nice Stuff posts. It's been one of those books that has really got me thinking about how I spend my time and the priorities I have week in week out.
The book is broken down into 4 parts, each one looking at a different aspect of our 'fringe hours' (a term coined by Jessica to refer to the small chunks of time available to us to spend on ourselves and our passions). It's about the little in-between times that can sometimes get squeezed when life is busy and we're struggling to keep-up with all the roles we have as women. Throughout the book, Jessica poses questions and space for you to consider how you currently use your time and what you may want to change to increase those fringe hours. This is what my fringe hours action plan looks like:
- Record where my fringe hours are going. Download the time tracker chart from the fringe hours website and see where my time goes over an average week.
- Recognise that I can't do it all and sometimes it's about streamlining your schedule to only focus on what's good/important right now.
- Say 'no'. I really need to use this word more in my vocabulary, especially at work. Saying 'no' is a good thing as it lets people know where your boundaries are and it ensures that you don't become over-committed and stressed out, something that I recognise all too well!
- Reduce overload and distractions. I don't know if it's because I've been really busy with house move stuff recently or if it's because I've really taken this on board, but I've significantly reduced my time spent aimlessly scrolling on social media. I've also started a bit of a digital de-clutter by un-following social media accounts and blogs that no longer resonate/connect with me. Social media is terrible for giving me comparison guilt and generally my mental health is better with limited time spent on social media.
- Self-care is number 1! To be 100% productive you need to look after yourself and take care of your body. That includes eating well, exercising and getting some good quality zzz's.
- Invest in yourself and make time for learning, developing yourself and things that bring you joy. I spent a lot of time deciding on a photography workshop to attend this year and worried about justifying the cost. I don't know why I did this. I can't wait to go and do something I love, learn some new skills and meet some fellow photo-buddies. Surely that's worth the investment!
- When we're most busy, we most need fringe hours. I was going to hold off implementing my fringe hours plan until after all our house move stuff. but this didn't make sense as it's one of the main principals of the book. Jessica talks about how our fringe hours will look different in different seasons, but that we should make time for ourselves even during the darkest times.
- Identify my pockets of time and explore whether I'm making the most of them. As someone that works full-time this means looking at my mornings, lunch breaks, evenings and weekends. I definitely want to improve my mornings and get away from my desk more at lunchtimes. I also need to use my 'Get To Work' planner to prioritise these times. Someone that I once knew used to say 'plan the work and work the plan' and whilst I sometimes forget this, it really does work.
- Sometimes it's ok to let the dirty dishes pile up! To prioritise myself more, sometimes I'm going to have to reduce my expectations, honour my limitations and prioritise me first. Enough said!
- Build in time for rest and relaxation as well as time for busyness and productivity. I love my new Sunday coffee routine and can't tell you how much joining in with the #theyearinbooks has changed things for me this year. Reading is all about slowing down the pace of life and it's something I'm sticking with!
I'd really recommend The Fringe Hours if you're constantly frazzled and want to stop, hit the pause button and reassess things. I'm hoping to make some big changes after reading the book and am so glad to have read it at the half way point in the year as there's plenty of time to bring in some new habits.
If you want to play along with #TheYearinBooks project you can find out more here. I can't rave enough about this online book-club from Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees. It's been so lovely to read more, go through my neglected bookshelves and share my experiences in a fun little group once a month. It would be great to see you there!
In the meantime, happy reading! xox