Something’s gotta give….

I don’t know what is going on but somehow I seem to be even MORE busy than I was back home in the UK. I had visions of actually being able to take it slowly and enjoy my time here – but instead I seem to be manically rushing from one thing to another, writing to-do lists every evening as long as my arm and never quite doing anything properly because I have to move on to the next thing.

As busy as a....

As busy as a….

It’s starting to get to me a bit. Having newly arrived, I really want to take a bit of time to get to know my new home. I want to explore, visit places, meet people. Experience all there is to experience – including all the yummy cake and coffee shops there seem to be round every corner in Pretoria. I also REALLY want to finish the first draft of a novel I started writing nearly five years ago while we were living in St Lucia – I have had it on the back burner for a long time now and feel the time is right to get it out and dust it down. But I just don’t seem to have a spare minute.

The other day I wrote a post about this for the Expat Focus website – called Why Time Flies in Pretoria! In order to write the post I had a bit of a think about where all my time was actually going – especially bearing in mind that I should, in theory, have more time here than in the UK as the children are out of the house at school for around an extra couple of hours a day. But, I realised, all that extra time was being eaten up in the extra time you need to shop for food here, sitting in traffic jams, driving to the gym instead of stepping out of my front door to run…..

Hopefully some of this will get easier as time goes on (I still plan to get a bit more organised about meal planning and food shopping as, at the moment, I seem to go to a supermarket every other day). But there are some things that will still take more time.

So where can I find these extra needed hours? I work 15 hours a week from home and those hours can’t really change. I could give up my job – but I realise how lucky I am to have such a flexible job that I actually really enjoy, and that brings in at least a bit of income of my own. It will also mean I will have something to go back to when we return home.

Exercise is very important to me, mentally as much as physically, so I am not going to quit the gym. I have really been enjoying it and in fact, if anything, would like to step up the amount of time I go there. Well, one can dream!

There will always be chores. This week I have been sorting out presents and cards for three parties, swimming lessons, hallowe’en and international day events,  an upcoming family trip to Cape Town and a couple of other social events. Not to mention the ongoing saga of the plumber, the cushion cover man and all the other stuff that still needs doing in the home. All of this is part of life, it ain’t going nowhere.

So when I look at my week the only thing I can see that I do on a regular basis that I could perhaps cut down on is blogging. This will make me very sad as I love blogging – I love writing basically and I also love connecting with people. But I have been finding it quite hard sticking to my self-imposed schedule of three blogs a week (sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less). I think the pressure of feeling like I HAVE to blog a) makes me more stressed and b) makes me enjoy it less.

Which means I am reaching the conclusion that I will need to blog slightly less often if I am going to retain my sanity. We are hoping to get a puppy soon and I realise this will be even more work for me. I need to be able to make room for this extra little bundle of “fun” in our lives and so perhaps it’s time to start cutting back a bit on the blog.

I may, I may not, I will see. But in the meantime I would be REALLY interested to see how others manage to fit blogging into their lives. Does it mean you have to drop something else – or, like me, do you find yourself manically trying to do it all? How often do you blog? How often is too often – and how often is not enough? Give me your thoughts, you might even help me to decide what to do!


23 thoughts on “Something’s gotta give….

  1. I think I agree with you. We seem to be rushing all the time. I find that in myself. Whilst I am having my cappuccino I already thinking for next think I need to do. We need to create more time for our loved ones… They are always there for us…,,

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  2. Blogging does take up a lot of time, indeed. When I started I set myself the aim of a post a day for six months, which I achieved, but once it was done, it felt good not to have that pressure any more. One can get very caught up in it so I’d say, yes, get back to that novel instead!

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  3. I totally agree with you. I work full time, plus I blog at least once a day and then there’s all of life’s other little challenges to contend with. I tend to sit up until 4amish most days doing blog related things, that’s how I fit it in, but I’m sure I would advise people to do that. It works for me because I’m a night owl anyway 🙂 #effitfriday

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  4. I post rather haphazardly at the moment, but try to at least post once a week. I have WordPress on my phone so construct posts in the little bits of time I have while getting up, going to bed, waiting for metros, on the bus, etc. Then usually at the weekend I’ll have time to catch up with the reader and people who’ve commented on my blog. I hope that when things settle down I can get into some kind of routine – but that’s never happened yet!

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  5. I think one of the hardest things about moving to a new country is getting the hang of your new schedule and figuring out, exactly as you did, what’s eating up all your time! In Spain, my kids, like yours, had long school days (it was so nice!) and everything was within easy walking distance. But unlike home in the US, I had to shop at 50 (perhaps that’s an exaggeration!) different stores to get my shopping done and had to do it almost daily. It took a long time to sort out my schedule there but once I did, it was infinitely easier. Flash forward to the NL and my kids have much shorter school days and this year each has a half day on different days (last year it was on the same day but now 2 different schools)…add in no school bus and activities 4 days per week and I pretty much feel like I play chaufeur most of the time. Work has been taking a back burner as well as my blogging lately and I’m not pleased about it, but I suppose it will all come together eventually. Your readers will be here when you have time – so do what you have to do to cut down on the stress!


  6. Wow this post really resonates with me, I am a teacher and work all day and then once the kids are settled I blog till nearly midnight and something has got to give I want a little time back, but don’t want to blog less so totally get you here, I hope you find your balance x

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  7. Blogging is a discipline, that’s for sure. We’ve just moved countries too and even though I’m back in my home town, I’m still struggling to find my groove after 10 years away. As I’m driving from store to school to activities, I’m mentally planning my next blog and then snatching whatever time I can during the day to write down my thoughts. My blogging time generally starts around 10.30 p.m. until late which is not sustainable as I’m about to start full-time work this week. I think I’ll be doing a lot on the train while I commute. I wrote my first chapter book this way and I found it was amazing how much I could get done in an uninterrupted hour! It’s not easy juggling the family’s expectations and needs but it’s important to have time to do things you enjoy. Good luck with whatever you decide.


  8. Definitely don’t quit the exercise! I’m missing it more than almost everything else on my year away with my girlfriend. Although this has allowed me to start a blog which I’m really enjoying. Bizarrely, you’d think that travel offers unlimited opportunity to write (and post) but actually you need time, headspace and the logistics (wifi access at least) to get it done. Consequently, I’m running about 6weeks behind!

    As for blogging at home… No idea! I have a few issues namely lack of time (same as you) and lack of content! I have no idea what I’d write about! Travelling floods you with new experiences daily so there is never an issue when it comes to what to write!

    I haven’t really answered your question at all here, have I?! Hey ho! Keep on running (and writing!)


    • Well I made it to the gym this morning and have just scribbled notes for a post I hope to write up later. I definitely won’t quit the exercise, I know how important it is. I think I just need to be smarter about using my time. Trouble is having children takes up so much of your energy even if I’m not physically doing something I find it difficult to concentrate when they are at home. Hey ho, these are all First World Problems really 🙂


  9. Yes it is such a challenge, I think it is very dependant on the posting. England was hectic whereas home help in KZ and Borneo made life much easier. Ipoh is much more like the UK. We have just managed to get the kids in school a little longer. Last term I was collecting our older daughter at 1.30 and our son at 2.30 so had an hour to sit around and do nothing, the school was too far from anywhere to do anything. Now they are both collected at 2.30 or sometimes even 4 which is much better although I do miss my hour’s special time with our older daughter.

    I don’t have an office in the current house which makes work much more difficult and we have gone from having full time household help over the last four years to just two days a week in this current posting and having to do housework on top of everything else is a real pain in the neck. It also means that I can only walk the dogs when the older children are home from school as I can’t leave the baby at home anymore and need one of them to push the pram for me.

    I find that if I ‘read’ in the car by listening to audio books (thank goodness for audible). Clear my email while feeding the baby and grocery shop only when I absolutely need to I can manage to fit most householdy things in, I try mentally to plan work and blogs while doing anodyne tasks such as groceries, cooking etc. If I can I try to run when my husband gets home so just after cooking and while everyone else is eating. Work and blogging happen around everything else, typically late at night/very early in the morning but sometimes when the baby is playing happily for a half hour in the day. I have been known to cook. write and feed the baby breakfast simultaneously although this is only in extremis with a work deadline looming and makes me very very crabby.

    Like you I cannot quite work out what to give up to make more time except perhaps, sleep.


    • Now you’ve made me feel bad because it sounds like you are doing much better with getting things done in less time than I have!! I’ve decided I just need to be smarter with my time and use any “down time” to write bits of blogs or even just notes. We will see how it goes – it’s definitely not something to get too stressed about, I’ve got enough of that with the children 😀


      • Oh no I didn’t mean that! I think it is all about falling into a routine in a new posting more than the hours in the day (although 27 would be good).

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    • Firstly huuuuuge congrats on the pregnancy! Nice one. Secondly I would totally recommend joining an antenatal class (eg NCT but I know there are a growing number of alternative private courses these days) as a great way to meet a support group of like minded mums for the early days of parenthood. Thirdly wow on doing all that you’ve done AND while pregnant. You definitely are superwoman! I relocated back to the UK from Jamaica when I was pregnant with my first, it’s not easy, but I did find having the baby was a great way to meet people and set up a new life for myself. Good luck with it all and go easy on yourself!


  10. I find I try to blog on the go on my phone. If the Toddler is occupied in soft play. When I feed the baby to sleep at night. Sneaking in when and where I can – I feel a little overwhelmed at the moment if I’m honest but we’ve had a lot on and the toddler is driving me demented……thanks for linking with #effitfriday

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    • I find writing on a phone or even a tablet impossible. However I do sometimes jot down ideas or rough drafts onto paper. Back home i used to sit in my car while the girls were at football and type a post out. I found having no internet was a great way to get stuff like this done. I just don’t seem to have those chances here .


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