Today's Topic: SANITY! Most of you can relate to a hectic day (or week), and it seems that I've had quite a few of those in a row, lately. It seems that we cram way too much into a 24 hour day, then beat ourselves up when we forget an appointment or don't check off all the items on our to-do lists. So how to manage it all and stay sane, not to mention even happy or flourishing?
I was voted "most organized" in high school - mostly due to my neatly tabbed 3" binder for my human anatomy class complete with hand-drawn diagrams - and have tried many different "systems" to conquer the chaos in life. Let's review:
- To-do lists - these are handy little lists of everything your crazy mind can dream of, jotted down on random scraps of paper, post-its, envelopes, receipts, etc. I have found them handy for very short term projects, like getting ready for a dinner party. Beyond that, my lists grow legs and run away to be lost forever. And being organized by not very self-disciplined, I tend to write a lot of chores on a list that never get done.
- Planners - I was a devoted Franklin Covey planner gal for a while. This is a glorified version of the post-it to-do list in a swanky leather binder. They take up a lot of space, cost a bundle, and the hundreds of pages to flip through make figuring out where you are in life a bit tricky. My Franklin is in storage somewhere....
- Wall Calendar - The bigger the better, provided you've got the wall space to devote to it. But don't hang yours behind a door, as I have done, because you or anybody else of reading capabilities in the home will never look at it! Not so great for organizing the daily needs of your life, best for synchronizing schedules of various family members.
- Online Drill Sargeants - there are various forms and methods out there to keep you in line with everything from menu planning & housekeeping to dieting & excersize. Their influence bounces off your computer screen with all the other phosphorescent electrons. You may feel "techy" but the automated messages tend to lose their punch after a week.
- PDA - I have every bit of personal information in my Palm Pilot, including the pregnancy statistics from EVERY prenatal visit for my three children. You know, just in case I need to know what my blood pressure was at 29 weeks pregnancy 4 years ago. I've used this for grocery lists, menu plans, chore schedules, calendars, contacts, yarn conversion charts, even have the Periodic Table of Elements on there (yes, I'm a geek). For the downfalls of this plan, see "Planners" above and add in the frenzy that can be created when your battery dies (ask Steve).
My experience has taught me that these handy-dandy tools actually create more chaos in my life. My dear 85-year old Grandma has been the most helpful tool for eliminating the frenzied feelings that can develop and disable me. No big secrets here - her long life has given her PERSPECTIVE. Here's my take on it:
- God gives you only what you can bear and will also help you through each moment
- reread the above: each moment - focus on what's at hand and don't worry about tomorrow
- leave some margin in each day: mental, physical, time, financial.... don't overbook!
- laugh a lot - a whole lot! That microwaved cell phone will most likely make you laugh, not cry, tomorrow.
- remember whose life you're living - not your own, but the one God has given you by his grace (that should make you reschedule a few things, eh?)