Monday, June 28, 2010

Sandwich Hours

I've often recalled a bit of wisdom my middle-school principal bestowed on my class many years ago. She taught us the importance of Sandwich Hours. We all looked puzzled when she first asked us what we were doing with our Sandwich Hours. I immediately thought of my peanut butter and jelly, but she went on to explain it's not about food - but time. The parallels she used were more honed in on a middle-schooler - but I've come to pattern her wisdom in my life as an adult today.

Sandwich hours are those minutes that fall inbetween what we have scheduled. All added up - they surprisingly turn into hours and she told us we could waste them frivolously, or spend them wisely. In between classes, for example - the bell gives you 3 minutes and it only takes you 1 to get to class. Those other two minutes could be used jotting down your homework to-do list or bookmarking where you need to start reading or working on a math assignment. The time spent on bus rides and in carpooling all added up to valuable study time as well. We could virtually knock out our homework or get a major chunk of study time completed before setting foot in the door at home.

Now that I'm a wife, mother of two and work full time, I can use every spare minute I can get my hands on. I have tried my best to use my Sandwich Hours in ways that will allow me plenty of quality time with my family. Some examples of "grown up Sandwich Hours" for me are: When a conference call at work ends early, I glance at my to-do list and work ahead on other projects where I am able. Before work or during lunch I'll try to do several loads of laundry. If I'm waiting to pick up my kids from school, there is time to file a few coupons, read a chapter in a book thats been neglected or catch up with a friend I've been meaning to reach out to. I try to manage all of my errands during a specific block of time so we can then go to the pool or playground and I'm not scattered with 20 places to drag everyone to on a weekend. In a doctor's office I can catch up on emails on my blackberry or work on a menu for the lunches and dinners for the week.

The key is maximizing the time you have, to make the most out of what you are trying to accomplish. I will also double up on meals and freeze half of whatever I'm making to have it at a later date. There are so many opportunities to capture during these 'in-between' times. I'm sure my middle-school principal would be amazed that I've remembered and still put her words into use after all these years. Now, I'm certainly not perfect and will be the first to admit my mistake in using commute time to put my make-up on that lead to me rear-ending someone in traffic - but we're all human, right?

What are you doing with YOUR Sandwich Hours?

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