Sunday, January 30, 2011

OYOL Week 4

I have so many things that I want to write about, but I'm really having trouble getting motivated to do it. So for now, I'll stick with this :). I might get to more later...but no promises!

Anyway, Week 4 on One Year to a more Organized Life was creating a pie chart (or in my case a list) of your roles and how much time you spend in them. Once you've decided the most important down to the least, and how much time you want to spend doing them, you are to take it and use that to sort through the list from last week.

I'm not good with pie charts, I get too hung up on getting each to be a perfect representative slice, so instead I made a simple chart/list. I put each category of my life across the top and then while thinking through my average day, I put down the general time I spend doing it. We're pretty scheduled around here, so everyday that we are at home looks pretty much the same, making this fairly easy for me. Then I totaled up each column for easy comparison.

Here are the totals:
Spiritual- 0:30
Personal- 1:00
Housecleaning/Homemaking (includes preparing/cleaning meals)- 4:45
Kids- 4:25 (time solely focused on them, though I'm not sure even then it's the best quality of time as it includes diapering, getting dressed, basic hygiene, etc.)
Husband- 0:30 (again, focused solely on him and this might be lower depending on the day...I know, I know, we're working on it)
Exercise- 0:30...ish...maybe...
Time-Stealers- 4:20 to 5:20 (if Kent's not home that night and I don't exercise)

So sad to look at, but very informative. Especially the time stealers. My excuse has been that I do a lot of my TV/computer time while the kids are sleeping (my children go to bed early), but that still doesn't mean that I shouldn't make more of that time. One of the things this doesn't show is our weekend schedule of visiting extended family and going to church, but it's a pretty decent representative of our week. I definitely will be working on redeeming my time more in an attempt cut back on that wasted time.

One other surprising thing was when I split the homemaking category out a bit to see how it was divided. I discovered that I spend roughly four hours per day just making food and cleaning up from meals. No wonder I feel like it's a never ending job! That's a full quarter of my day! I also only spend about 45 minutes doing actual housecleaning as of right now (out side of cleaning the kitchen after meals). Of course, I'm working to change that, but I wanted to take an honest look at my habitual day. No wonder I feel like I can't keep up!

I'm not going to try to put percentages on each area, because, quite honestly, I'm not sure how. I am, however, going to be cutting down on the time stealers and also making sure that I keep my priorities in the proper order. That means, if there's a question of what to do the top priority always happens first. Oh and if you were wondering, here's how I ranked them:

1. God/Spiritual
2. Kent
3. Kids
4. Housecleaning/Homemaking
5. Personal (except showering, which ranks higher, lol)
6. Extended Family (not on list because isn't a daily thing)
7. Exercise
8. Hobbies (again, not daily)

Anyway, definitely want to do some tweaking. I've mentioned some of the changes, but one I failed to mention is increasing my time spent in spiritual pursuits. That one is a big one as well. I try to mix it in with the others (unfortunately, this kind of format doesn't show where things overlap very well) but it's a category that deserves more individual time as well.

Sooooo, to wrap this enormous post up, I hope this is helpful to you, it certainly was to me!

A Bit of Encouragement

I am working on my OYOL Week four assignment (I'll post about that later), but I came across an article that I think is immensely encouraging as we go through this journey. It's called 10 Things NOT Found in Proverbs 31. Hope that gives some encouragement :). I'll catch up with all other items later.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The TRUE Bare Minimum

Last post I put up what I considered to be my bare minimum amount of house work to be done each day/week. This week, my husband and two kids all ended up sick. I now know what the true bare minimum is to keep my house running (though not really presentable, I think that's where the division comes in). So here it is... laundry and keeping the dishes up to speed. That's it. As long as I kept up with those two things my family could survive because we always had plates to eat off of and we always had clean clothes to wear.

So now I'm trying to start that as my bare minimum and adding a few things at a time that would be nice to accomplish. Things that up the "presentable-ness" of my home or that make my day easier through maintenance. We'll see how it goes :).

The challenge this week (#3) was to start a list of anything and everything you'd like to accomplish on a routine basis and to write it down under the headings of weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. (You can find the post here.) I have worked on it sporadically this week and will probably continue it for a while as things pop into my head. Looking forward to what the assignment is for next week now that I can actually focus on something other than pure and basic survival!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taking the Plunge

My good friend Jackie recently posted about her goal to get more organized this year. As this is my neverending quest I read her post with great interest. The concept is "One Year to a more Organized Life" a weekly challenge/guide directed by Brenda over at her blog Unsolicited Advice. (I realize that's a lot of links in just three sentences, but I wanted to give credit where it's due!) As they are already three weeks in, I'm a little behind, but I'll make it up here.

I hesitated at first to join in with this as I'm already trying to follow FlyLady's system of babysteps and I didn't want to add too much to my plate, but having looked through the ladies who are also doing this, I really felt like this is a group of like minded moms that live in the chaos that I live in. I looked through the links of all the other ladies (lol, stalker much, I know) and if you're looking for someone to understand that you didn't get things done because your kid puked all over the floor (again!) or you baby woke up screaming and kept you up for hours so you're exhausted (for the third-fiftieth night in a row) or you can't find the funky smell because it's coming from your laundry pile (mountain!), then this is the group for you. I've come home :).

With that being said here are the first two week's assignments (I'll do the third next time after I actually do the worksheet):

#1 My Purpose(s):

To get my house running smoothly so that...
~drop in visits won't stress me out
~my children will no longer live in dirt and clutter
~my husband can come home to a tidy house and happy--well, peaceful--wife
~I have time to do things OTHER than barely keeping the house tolerable (including but not limited to: spending more quality time with God, my husband, my kids; reading (wait-what's a book?) or other hobbies; exercising and taking care of myself, etc.)

This a a general list, the main catalyst being, as many of the other ladies mentioned that I have realized that I am just not being a good steward of my time. I spend so much time running around putting out fires and looking for whatever it is we have lost (again!) that I waste precious time that I could be spending with my husband or children or using to minister to those around me. Most days we spend in crisis mode where I run from one HAVE to get done item to the next. I want to be rid of crisis mode. That is my goal. It's hard to be intentional with your day when you're in crisis. This leads us to assignment #2...

#2 The Bare MINIMUM (so hard to just leave it at that!)

Daily Do or Die:
~Fit in some prayer time (so sad to have to include this...I'm good about getting my Bible reading in, but prayer is a different story)
~Laundry! (Wash AND fold AND put away)
~Clean dishes out of sink after each meal (or before bed at the worst)
~Clean up toys before Abigail's bedtime (keeps chaos to a minimum in case of surprise drops ins)
~Not just brush, but floss and Listerine, too (I tend to get cavities otherwise...) oh, and TWICE a day
~Ready for bed (i.e. computer off, teeth/mouth done, clothes ready for tomorrow) by ten (gives me a time limit so I'm then forced to have time to unwind)
~30 mins. of FlyLady cleaning (this is where I'm trying to tie FlyLady in...in case of emergency, this will be the first to be dropped)

Weekly Do or Die:
~Wed: Grocery List

Somewhere on there exercise needs to be fit in. I don't know where yet, but the importance of taking care of my health has been brought home to me the last few years and so it is becoming something that I'm trying to remember is important enough to go on the "do or die" list.

Well, that was a monster post... I apologize for the length, but now that I'm caught up, the next ones should be shorter. If you are searching for a way to get organized I hope you'll join us!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool

That is my question. It's really not one that I'll be able to answer right now, either, which is driving me crazy. I hate not making decisions about as much as Kent hates making them. There are just so many variables and I have yet to get a real feeling for what we should do one way or another. Honestly, I'm wanting more of Kent's input, but he (rightly) wants to put the decision off until Abigail is older. I know this is really the best option because so much can change in the next two and a half years before she can start kindergarten, but it's so hard to wait! In the mean time I can at least busy myself with doing our homeschooling stuff now (I bought some fun 3-5 year old stuff!) and just try to enjoy without worrying about the future. Would be nice if it were that easy, wouldn't it?

Until that time, I'll just continue to document the uncertainty here. If you get tired of my vacillating, just skip that particular post...I'll try to stick more to information than whining about the future, but no promises, lol!

On that note, I'm going to go work on my plan for the new week so I know what activities we'll be doing, which books we'll be reading, and how I'm going to attempt to keep Nathan busy while we do this :). I might try to lay out the different options/websites I'm looking at later, but sometimes the overwhelming amount of info makes me even more frazzled about what to do. On the other hand, it might help me to get things laid out so I can examine and evaluate more clearly. Oh well, thoughts for another time...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I always have the best of intentions...

...yet some how they just don't always work out. Sigh, I'm so bad to start something and then stop only to begin again MONTHS later. God has been showing me lately that I really need to work on my follow through on things that I begin. In a lot of ways it's tied in to my patience struggles. I get impatient with the lack of results, with how long something takes, or any number of other things and I quit or give up or move on, pick the phrase you like but it equates to the same thing. Also, I get busy and side-tracked and then leave projects to sit and sit and sit. Anyway, I'm trying to learn to have more discipline in my daily life, which leads me to my one and only true goal for the year: practice more self-discipline! I have many different areas that I want to be more self-disciplined in, so it's definitely a broad and far-reaching goal. I'm trying to just work on it in babysteps by building good habits over time, to hopefully keep the stress of feeling like I have to do it all (and do it NOW) to a minimum. I love to play at being organized though it doesn't usually last very long, so we'll see how it goes.

If you're interested, here's my plan:

First, I put the areas of my life into general categories. For me this is spiritual, physical(exercise), meal planning, homemaking, homeschooling, kids (as in what we need to work on for them, like schedules) and personal (hobbies, "me time").

Then I sat down and made (or found online) lists of what I wanted to accomplish in these areas. Anything was fair game and I'm adding to the lists as I come up with more. For the most part I'm trying to stick to things that lend themselves to building good habits. I have a separate list for "to do"s that are one time things.

Each Sunday I sit down and pick out a few habits to work on for the week. lol, I say each, but really it's just been last Sunday and today, but this is my plan for the future as well. Today I looked over my list from last week and some I did well on while some I completely missed. I pretty much kept all the same habits from last week, though, because I didn't feel like I was one hundred percent nailing any of them. But you know what, that's OKAY! I didn't make this my list of what I wanted done in a certain timeframe, I just move on as I finish each one. I saw improvements in a lot of my little habits this week and to me that's what matters.

To borrow a phrase from the FlyLady, Marla Cilley, "Progress, not Perfection!".