“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” ~ Zig Ziglar
If I had a penny for every time I’ve been told, “I don’t know how you get so much done!” — I’d be a very rich woman! It’s really not rocket science, it’s just planning.
One of my favorite sayings is: Plan your work and work your plan.
I start every day by reading my devotional verses from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). These are emailed to me and appear on my phone about the time I awaken. My entire days seems to go better when I start with my Scripture reading and prayer.
I plan my meals by using a printed menu template that I created. From there I plan the grocery list which is planned around my paydays. Everyone gets to make suggestions as to what goes on the menu. If a suggestion doesn’t get included in the present menu, it is added to the next one.
Cleaning the refrigerator is done on Sunday evenings as the trash goes out Monday morning. Scrubbing the sink happens every evening after the dishes are done. I absolutely hate coming downstairs first thing in the morning to a sink full of dishes and gunk. Setting up the Keurig at night is also a staple event — when I’m stumbling to the kitchen each morning, all I have to do is push the buttons to get my wake-up Java.
I plan the housework by the day of the week or around the activities taking place. Each of us has specific days to do our laundry. Sheets and towels are done at the weeks end.
I plan my blog posts *gasp* – they are written on Sundays and scheduled to post on various days. UNLESS . . . something comes up that would make a compelling post, then I may add it in and delay the next scheduled one.
Each week I focus on renovating a certain room of the house. There is so much to do — some of it major tasks such as painting, some of it not so major such as deep cleaning and scrubbing, but when you toss it all together, it becomes a mish-mash of confusion and utter wonder at what to tackle next. Each room has a “to-do list” of needs and if I can only spend 15 minutes a day it eventually gets done. Some days I may spend more than 15 minutes, but that is the minimum and you’d be amazed at what you can accomplish in that amount of time. By portioning it out to one room per week, the work never gets old or relentlessly mundane (such as pulling carpet staples out of wood floors). Besides, I have found that taking a break from a certain area leaves me free to brainstorm and consider ideas for those spaces that I may not have considered were I to get boxed in and develop tunnel-vision.
I schedule time to read. I am an avid reader but it goes in waves, either I want to sit and read and let everything else go by the wayside, or I get busy and end up having books gathering dust.
I plan time to create. Whether it is sewing, or crocheting or photography or looking at paint colors, or simply wandering through Lowe’s to get ideas . . . that creative outlet is fed on a regular basis.
I plan major purchases. I do my research and cost analysis and then plan for the purchase and set the savings goal in place.
I plan time to be silly and relax and play with my kids. Whether it’s going to the movies, or thrifting, or staying home and playing card games or board games, family time is very important to staying connected and in tune with what’s going on in the kids lives. One of my favorite times of day is when we do the dishes together — it gives me some 1:1 time with each one to listen to their thoughts and ideas.
I plan time for myself. Going for a walk alone, exercising, taking a hot bath, pedicures or just applying a foot mask at bedtime — all these things contribute to a sense of well-being for myself. I cannot be a good Mom, employee or friend if I am running out of steam. Self-care is just as important as taking care of everyone else.
I plan time with my sister. Every Monday evening we talk on the phone. These calls are full of laughter, anecdotes, and prayer requests. There is no bond quite like the one between siblings, and being 700+ miles away, this is our time to stay connected.
If you were not gifted with planning genetics, start small. Plan a week’s worth of meals. Then two weeks. Then add something else. Anticipation is the key. Review what is going on so you can adjust your schedule accordingly. This requires being able to stay on top of kids school schedules and work schedules. Above all, remain fluid. Do not get so locked into your plans that you become rigid and unbending.
For example: Our menu is set, but if we don’t feel like having X for dinner, we can switch it to another evening and substitute Y. Why? Because I have all the ingredients to make any meal on the menu at any given day during that two-week period. Occasionally, about once in a two-week period, we plan an evening out. Sometimes we know where we’re going, other times we’ll take a vote to see what we’re doing.
Every one one of us gets twenty-four hours in our day, it’s up to you to decide how it gets spent.