Friday, January 29, 2010

Simplicity- Step Four

How has your week been? Simple? Ours has, and I am loving it! So what is the simplicity tip for this week? There are so many that I have found just going along in my day-to-day routine. Better ways to do the things that I was already doing. Discovering things that I have been doing already, but adjusting them so they are less complicated. So today I am going to talk about one aspect that has two parts (my complicated side is coming out here).

Have a schedule/plan.

  1. I actually use both of these on a daily basis. Addie has been on a schedule since the week after we brought her home from the hospital (the first week we were trying to figure out what we were doing). For safety/common sense reasons I won't go into detail about what our daily schedule is, but her schedule includes wake time, feeding times, nap time, school time, bath time, and bed time. The rest of life fits around that schedule. Now in all reality, life happens and sometimes schedules have to be adjusted, but having a general schedule to work from helps a lot. For a couple of weeks, towards the beginning, I fell into the common thinking that Addie would tell me what she needed whether it was food or sleep. Believe it or not, at only 2 months, she had a bad mood and a bit of an attitude. When I took control of her schedule again and planned when she ate and slept, the attitude left, she relaxed (because the adult was taking care of the needs of the child before the child realized the need was there), and she was generally in a good mood most of the time. The schedule also helps me to gauge what the best times for us to leave the house are and when it would be best for us to get home. I am able to plan grocery trips, visits, and the occassional picture taking session (it is so nice to know what time of the day your child is the happiest since the pictures will be around forever!) around our schedule.

  2. A plan is also very important. You wouldn't go on a trip without knowing what your final destination would be, so why go into your day without knowing what you want the final outcome of the day to be. When Addie was much smaller, I would literally plan my day to the minute with our activities. Now that she is older, the main schedule stays in place, and I keep a piece of paper on a clipboard with a list for myself of what I want to accomplish during my day for myself and for her. As things come up they are added to the list. The goal is to have everything crossed off by the time Brian gets home (or before).

My plan works like this:

  • I make a list of things that I need to accomplish in my day. The list ranges in size from day to day. Some things are always there, and some things change. These are some of the things on yesterday's list: Me-(devotions aren't on the list because they aren't a "thing-to-do", they are the first thing I do) exercise, review dinner, quick clean, Addie school, dust our room, organize 1 drawer and 1 cabinet in master bath, laundry, vacuum living room and bedroom. Addie's school- letter: Rr, reading: flip books (blue and orange from the Your Baby Can Read curiculum), color: red, shapes: square, coloring page.

  • For my list, I circle the three most important things on my list. Yesterday, those things were exercise, Addie's school, dust our room. Then I decide which is my least favorite item to do. Exercise wins the award on that one. That becomes the first thing I do. I then write a number next to the others to gauge their importance and the order they will be done in.

  • My plan requires that I wake up earlier than my family. I am up with the birds. I am able to have my devotions with plenty of time, and I get my exercising done before the house wakes up (I'm sure I look ridiculous and don't want anyone seeing me). Because Brian's lunch is ready to go (prep the night before) and the coffee is set, just before I exercise I push the button on the coffee maker, put his sandwich in the lunchbox, and toss a load in the washer.

Side note: For me, review dinner means that I need to get the meat in the fridge to begin thawing and check to see how long dinner is going to take for me to prepare and cook so it will be ready when Brian gets home. Knowing that early in the day helps me plan when to get started with dinner.

One mistake I was making early on in my new role as stay-at-home wife/mother was filling my to-do list too much with very unrealistic goals. I was so used to having only two weeks at Christmas and 2 months in the summer to accomplish all of my projects in my home that I went into staying-at-home with that same mentality. I tried to do everything in my home in the first two weeks. I finally realized that I had the rest of my life to clean and organize, and that I was not limited to a short time span. This helped to relieve a lot of stress for me.

Different people have different ways of making their lists and schedules. Some use Day planners others use printouts of daily plans. What I have outlines above is the plan that has worked for me and helped me the most. Find what feels comfortable for you and works best for your family. Hope you have a great Friday!


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