(I started this post last week and was too tired to finish it! Hence it starts off a bit in the past…)
I am in a post Holy Week stupor. Last year at this time I was returning from our “trip from hell” to Key West. This year we were full blown involved in Holy Week preparations at our church due to the fact that we are still (I can’t really call this temporary anymore) kind of sort of bumbling our way through leading music. Everything was new for this weekend and since I spent the week before battling “the crud” there wasn’t nearly as much time to learn everything as I wanted.
It gave me a little taste for what full time ministry is like. I’ll never know it fully and honestly I don’t want to know. At least my patients don’t call me at home or show up on my doorstep at odds hours. I don’t have to worry so much about not appearing charitable when I say no to something. I can adhere to my office hours and go home to rest when I’m done.
I do think that is whee most of us get into trouble. I’m done with “work” now what do I want to do? And what do I have to do? After the “musts” like laundry and making dinner do I have any time left for “wants?” Is that necessary? And what about the things I “should” do? Like volunteering at church or my kids’ school? None of these are bad but how do we balance all of these things?
Historically, I have been the type of person to seek fun first and the laundry could wait. My children usually look like little ragamuffins but I swear they bathe regularly. My older kids never had a bedtime and often accompanied me everywhere, often falling asleep in the car or on my lap somewhere. But things have changed and now we have (sort of) a bedtime and a (sort of) routine. I come home from work, make dinner and then hustle people upstairs. Daddy usually takes over by then while I sit downstairs like a zombie. I know that kids are supposed to have a routine but really, it’s not much fun. Unfortunately I get so hung up on doing it all “right” that I often get a bit militant and then it’s really no fun.
So right now I am in the middle of trying to figure out the whole what I want vs what I need vs what I should do. My first inclination is to ditch everything that isn’t fun. That would eliminate A LOT. However, I still think a bedtime is a necessary evil since the girls go to school now. And although I don’t find music practice “fun” every week, it’s the only way we are going to sound half way decent on Sunday morning. SOME of the not fun stuff is going to have to stay but I also want to add in something that I want to do that I haven’t been able to.
First I think it helps to make a list of what your “perfect day” would look like. I’ve done this before and it changes over time but in general I like to have a pattern.
Second, make a list of what has to happen every week or month. Like laundry, cleaning the toliet, baths, giving the dog a bath, cooking dinner, whatever makes the house run. This can be bare bones. Most of these things we need to do can wait if something else more fun comes up at the last minute!
Third, List the things you feel like you should be doing. Include why you should be doing them. Does this list include visiting your grandmother? Then yes, you should even if you don’t want to. If it’s volunteering at school and you don’t want to, don’t do it. The why here is key to determining if it’s something that needs to be added to your schedule but if you decide not to then just let it go. Don’t fret over the shoulds. Unless it’s your grandma. Then fret. And go visit her.
Fourth, write out your bare bones schedule. I use my Filofax* for this. Then add in your “need to do’s” and sprinkle in some of the fun things you want to do. Make sure you leave 8 hours for sleep! If you don’t schedule in some fun stuff (especially if you’re not used to doing fun stuff or its a new activity for you) it will be too easy to let your time be filled with “fluff” and you’ll go to bed wondering where all the time went. Well, at least that’s what happens to me…
I am definitely a planner. I like to have my schedule for the week written somewhere for reference and I try not to fill it up too much but some weeks I just can’t help it. This week I had a dinner meeting last night right after work, today was my day off to get stuff done but I’m sick and we had a pukey kid this morning so not much happened and my appointments got cancelled. Tomorrow is a conference and then a church meeting. Thursday morning I drop off dog for surgery, go to work and a friend’s party (this is a fun thingI’ve been looking forward to). Friday is work, pick up dog after surgery and a couch delivery (yes I got a comfortable COUCH!). Saturday is a vet appointment for my cats, swim lessons for my girls (so they don’t drown) and a concert in the evening. Somewhere in there my husband and I have to go through music form Sunday since there is no room for choir practice. Phew! Um is there room in there for eating? I know laundry isn’t getting done. Again.
TRY to leave some wiggle room because like today with 2 sick people, you just never know what’s going to happen. The emergencies aren’t so challenging if you leave wiggle room in your life. I’d also add to not hold on too tightly to any plans you have just in case. I’d rather be thrilled something actually happened than devastated because it didn’t. Set you expectations LOW! 😉
Oh, one more thing, it’s ok to cancel stuff. In fact if you’ve planned on something that you have second thoughts about or you get into the middle of and don’t like-cancel or bow out gracefully. Feign an illness or someone else’s illness of you have to. Be honest with yourself and don’t think you have to torture yourself because you planned on it. It’s ok to say no. Let me repeat, it’s ok to say no. In fact, it’s GOOD to say NO. Practice it if you need to. Make plans and cancel them for practice if you must. Don’t get hung up on details. The whole point is make things a bit simpler but life does happen, there are things you have to do and I think it’s much smoother if you plan at least a little.
I’m working on this so don’t think I have it all under control. Ha! Far from it. I have a dream however….
Stay sane and plan ahead!