Category Archives: Organization

Enough

 Photo: Some rights reserved by cursedthing

Have you seen it yet? Have you seen the fabulous photographic call to end the mommy wars? If not you can see it here.

I applaud these women for standing up and saying enough to the crazy war we are waging against each other. This war can have no victors only victims. There will never be a clear winner because there is no clear objective. It only serves to beat ourselves senseless instead of building each other up.

It takes courage to parent. It takes courage to make the best possible choices for you and your family in your specific circumstances. Regardless of what “everyone else” is doing, your family situation is your own, unique and challenging. You need to do what is right for your family, not what is right according to the consensus of others (who are probably not being totally honest anyway).

Recently our family had the privilege of bringing a 6 month old infant into our home for ten days. With baby came the instant reminder of what life looked like when our littles were preschoolers. It was as if instantly our family schedule, order and organization went out the window and the victories I had gained in keeping our house clean and orderly (not spotless or H&G worthy) went out the window. Laundry started piling up. Dishes didn’t make the dishwasher. Dinner was late. We were late. Schoolwork started to fall behind.

I started to wonder if I had somehow started to lose my ability to keep up. Then I remembered. This, this is exactly what life was like 24/7, 365 when our littles were this little. I fully remembered feeling like my housekeeping skills were non-existent, my ability to prepare and serve meals had gone out the window and I had zero energy for anything but survival!

At that very moment I felt compelled to tell all other mommas going through this stage to hold on sister! Hang in there beautiful! It does get better. It gets better not because you figure out how to get it all done, nor because you wake up earlier or your kids get better at letting you accomplish things. It gets better because your kids get older!

That’s it. Simply. Honestly. Truly.

Your kids get older and more independent and you find your way through the tasks that need doing. You find a system that gets the important things done. Your littles get big enough to learn to take responsibility for some of the load (we’re not raising men who can’t find the laundry hamper, right?).

Eventually you’ll have new systems, new challenges and new levels of chaos. But that season where it feels like you just can’t succeed? That season will pass. I promise.

Hang in there momma. It will get better. Every momma who has weathered that season before you knows in her heart what it’s like to be there. Those of us who have been there are not judging you on your ability to keep up. We’re cheering you on… you can make it and you will!

Photo courtesy Creative Commons:  Some rights reserved by cursedthing

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Finding my Groove

Photo by:  tdreyer1What’s the difference between a groove and a rut? Finding your groove is good, being stuck in a rut is bad. They’re both well worn indentations aren’t they? Both restrict you to a specific track. Both define where you are and, more importantly, where you’re not.

Maybe it’s perspective? When we say we’re stuck in a rut we imply that it’s a negative experience. We are doing something so mundane, boring, or undesired that we feel like we are stuck. When we say we’ve found our groove we seem to imply that we have found a way of doing, being and working that leaves us satisfied and fulfilled. Yet the groove we find by nature restricts us from doing things in other ways and in other places. Hmmmm.

These random thoughts come as a result of feeling like I have finally found my groove with homeschooling, keeping my home, working, writing, teaching and speaking. Well at least so far anyway. This past week or so I feel like I have accomplished a lot and knocked off large chunks off my to-do list. I realized that happened because I finally found a routine that works! And a routine, by nature, is a rut (or groove if you prefer). It’s a way of doing things that is predictable. It enables me to get the work done quickly and efficiently. I don’t waste time thinking about what should be done first. It’s just part of the routine.

So you could say my rut has made it easier for me to enjoy my life because it eliminates wasted time, provides predictability to the mundane and necessary, and creates space for me to do all the other things that make life meaningful. Perhaps my rut, er groove is not something that should have been avoided after all.

I Should But…

ProcrastinationI should start my project, but the laundry needs to be folded. I should start my workout, but I feel so tired already. I should sit down and prepare the budget, but I don’t want to look at my statements. I should follow up with that client, but I really don’t feel like making any calls right now. I should schedule that appointment, but I don’t really want to see the doctor.

Why do we procrastinate the very things that will actually get us to our goals? Maybe you don’t, but I do and I’m pretty sure that most other people do too. We know working out will leave us feeling better, give us more energy and get us closer to our goal, but we put it off. We know that preparing a budget will help us keep on track for our financial goals, but the idea of seeing the bank statements in their current condition feels overwhelming and we put it off one more time. We would rather keep letting our money tell us where it’s been rather then us telling it where to go to work for us.

Yes, in the back of our mind we know that following up with our client will at least help build trust and could even potentially lead to a re-order, but we put off making the call using a variety of excuses to assure ourselves our procrastination is the wisest choice.

I’m not going to offer any psychological insights. I’m not going to offer any arguments for why we do this. All I am going to say is that I realize that if nothing changes, nothing changes. If I don’t put my big girl panties on, be an adult and do what I need to do then I don’t have any business wondering why life is not getting any better and I’m still chasing my tail, my life not improving and my reach staying small.

Change is scaring. The unknown is unknown. Truth be told though, staying put and not taking a risk is much more frightening than taking a risk, facing the unknown and staring fear down. So off I go… now where did I put those big girl panties?

Teaching an Old-er Dog New Tricks

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I’m a recovering perfectionist. Yes I admit it, I have this internal need for things to be just right. Nothing less will do. And yes, you’ve guessed it, the standard I measure things by is my own. I love clean lines, finished edges, precise angles and uncluttered spaces. I love order and function. And if you know me at all you know that my life looks NOTHING like the precision I crave.

What my life actually looks like is functional but utilized. The desk is covered with bits of paper that I mean to address in an hour, but never get around to. The filing that sits beside the files and not in them. The laundry that is folded, but not put away. The dishwasher that is clean, but still full! The floor is covered with little bits of train tracks and miniature horses. There are about a dozen notebooks lying around my work space and throughout my home. Each one started but not completed. Each one intended to be finished from one end to the other before the next one was begun. There are drawings and charts and graphs scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, the house is not a complete mess but rather very lived in if you will. You see there is another side to me that craves creativity and must create solutions, systems and discover new possibilities and that side of me could care less about order, neatness and precision. That side wants to take bunny trails in every direction. That side wants to pursue a possibility and capture its every nuance. That side can’t see what’s around me until it notices a moodiness and anxiety rising with me that prevents it from focusing on the latest train of thought. When I stop and notice those signals I realize that the perfectionist in me is feeling overwhelmed by the chaos the creative side of me has made. And so the dance continues.

I take time away from creating to reorganize my space, my life and my things. I determine I will stay on top of it this time. I promise my perfectionist self that I will not allow paper to pile up, but will file it immediately. I will not let laundry stay folded in the basket, I’ll put it away as I’m doing it. I promise my perfectionist self I will finally finish the profiles on all my social media accounts and I will plan out and prepare my blog. I do my best for a few days to stay on top of those tasks and then I notice a sadness and lack of energy and I realize I’ve been maintaining everything, but creating nothing. And the cycle begins again.

But I’m learning. I’m learning to identify those signals before they become so loud they drown out everything else. I’m learning not to let the perfectionist side of me dictate long to-do lists that prevent me from accomplishing them. I am learning to actually enjoy my children and not just plan their daily tasks (we home school). I’m also learning to not let the creative side of me get so engrossed in every bunny trail that nothing gets accomplished. In other words I’m learning to be a peace keeper between the two sides of me.

This old-er (not old) dog is learning some new tricks and giving both intense sides of who I am come out and play. I’m trying to give both sides equal billing and you know what, its kinda starting to work!

Am I the only one who feels like I’m at war within myself?

Problem or Outcome?

The other day I heard a commercial on radio (I know, how antiquated) and it actually got me thinking! This ad was for some weight management program that offered all the bells and whistles. I don’t know what it was and I didn’t even catch the name of the brand so I can’t give them direct credit except to say their ad started me on this train of thought.

Problem or Outcome?

When I am problem oriented in my thinking whatever changes I make are done to fix the problem. So if I diet I’m trying to fix the problem of being over-weight. If I join the gym as part of my new year’s resolution I am trying to fix the problem of being out of shape. I may succeed for a while, but once the problem is fixed more than likely I will go back to the old way of doing things and eventually the problem returns.

Athletes do not think of winning a game as solving a problem. To an athlete winning the game is an outcome of the training, practice and discipline they put in when playing their game or training for their sport. When they win they don’t stop doing what they did in order to win. They keep on practicing, training and perfecting their skills.  They are outcome oriented.

So far I’ve shared the commercial with you. Here is where my brain took off. How many times have I started learning a new skill or attended training in order to fix a problem? Once the problem appears to be fixed I eventually go back to my old ways. I stop following the budget. I eat whatever whenever. I don’t track my sales, prospects, referrals. Eventually the problem resurfaces because the fix wore off.

What could I accomplish if instead of trying to fix problems I focused on creating a healthier lifestyle? Systematic approach to sales or managing my finances? What if I made changes to my outlook? Perhaps the outcome I’m after would be the result of the process and not a solution from a fix?

What about you? Can you recognize times you’ve opted to fix the problem only to have the problem return once you’ve stopped doing the “fix”? Are their any cycles of problem solving you can recognize in your life?