But it's more than just the guests. I have realized that for the last ten years my job has been mostly reactionary: change a stinky diaper, wipe a runny nose, change wet sheets, feed hungry people, do the laundry when the hampers were full, show guests around town. Very little about my day did I control. For the most part it had to be that way. There's only so much we can do to control when a child poops and pees, when they are hungry, when the floodgates open in the middle of the night, when guests can make the hellish trip overseas. But the kids are older now. Most of our guests have been there, done that. There is less for me to react to. So, of course, I've been finding stuff to react to.
I've tried to take control of my life. I've had my share of depressing, continually growing to-do lists. I could never finish the List. Things would stay on the List for months; I'd become overwhelmed, then discouraged, then depressed. Finally after decades of this, I ditched the "to-do" lists, reveling in my new found freedom. But then I started forgetting stuff, lots of stuff.
I trucked along for a few weeks, trying to adjust time frames for activities I hadn't realized sucked so much time out of my day (laundry). But, I kept having to check the "schedule" to see if I was on track. Most of the time I wasn't. I still had to be reactionary. Kids still threw up in places other than the toilet. The garage still flooded. I had to shift stuff. I'd end the day totally missing stuff in the later time slots. I started dreading opening up iCal every morning. I began to hate iCal and it's "efficient" little time slots. What was wrong with me that I couldn't follow a work schedule? More guilt. Discouragement. Frustration. I became distracted by a closet that needed to be purged, sick kids at home or having guests, until I felt so lost that I
stopped. (That would be about 3 weeks ago)
The pressure dissipated, but so did my self-worth. I was feeling just plain empty. I needed to write. I needed to manage our house. I needed to be a mom and a wife. I needed to find a solution.
So, being the wonk that I am, I went into research mode. I scoured the web for "work-at-home mom" info and time management advice and came across some pretty useful information. This quote from homemakersdaily.com, "I want to live my life on purpose, not by default," grabbed me by the collar and shook some sense into me.
Much to my chagrin, I found that day planners are a favorite time management tool. Although they look suspiciously similar to iCal, I thought I'd meld a few together and give them a try. The ones I prefer are a bit more free-formed, directing me back on track to the most important elements that I want to accomplish each day without the hour increments. What I have to remember is that some important things are MORE important than others. I must begin my day with the most, most important thing or it gets bumped. If I do that one really, really important thing, I have succeeded.
Homelifesimplified.com has a compilation of planners from various sites on the web. My favorites in the compilation were, homemakersdaily.com, homelifesimplified.com, and lifes-a-journal.com. Inspired by these, I made my own. Now each evening before or that morning, I fill out a form. Then, throughout the day, I highlight what I accomplish when I accomplish it (this makes me feel really good). Most importantly, I forgive myself for not completing everything on the page. It's a guide. Life happens and superimposes itself onto my day. The nerve of it!
|Day Planner Simple Day Planner Simple/Empty|
|Day Planner Color/Shapes Day Planner Color/Shapes/Empty|
Here are my beautiful, ridiculously time-consuming creations, but your free, click-of-a-button printables. Click on the links to take you to the original site for downloads. See how much I love you?