Thursday, March 10, 2011

How To Organize Your Priorities

"Does it ever feel like you spend all your hours and days doing but not living?" This question, posed by author Jennifer Ford Berry in her book "Organize Now," really hit home with me. If you are a wife/mother who wears a plethora of hats daily, then I'm sure on some level it resonates with you too.

This week we are focusing on organizing our priorities (I actually exhaled deeply as I wrote that last sentence! Do I need this book, or what?!?). As a mother and a wife it seems as if my life is consumed with the details of housekeeping and child rearing... as it should be. Because I didn't marry until I was 28, it was an adjustment for me to shift gears from worrying about me and only me all the time, to devoting my life and my work to my husband and the two adorable children that followed suite. Ironically, now I struggle to find balance in putting myself "back on the list" as they say, and making myself (my emotional and physical health, my goals and aspirations) a priority. Berry must have written this chapter especially for me! LOL!

For this weeks goals, we were asked to make a list of our top 10 priorities. Remember, Berry says that they "...should reflect what is important to you. If you don't decide what they are, others will decide for you." No truer words have been spoken. Here are mine:

1. My relationship with God and my spiritual growth

Of course this would be number one, right? But sometimes, if I'm honest, I struggle with putting God first. Lent is making me acknowledge this about myself and I'm making strides to do better.

2. My relationship with my husband

Like "the Man upstairs," my husband gets put behind the children most days. Heck, sometimes even the laundry gets put before him. Sorry, sweetie. I'm making progress here, too. Once the kids are asleep, me and the hubs have been making an effort to stay up and talk, watch TV, or (ahem) whatever.

3. My relationship with my children

Having a more organized routine in the house has helped me be a more attentive mom in the afternoons when the girls come in from school. I try to have the majority of the housework done so I can be available to them in the few short hours we have between 3:00pm and bedtime. We've been playing the Wii after supper together some nights and it has been great "family" time for all of us.

4. Healthy eating

I have the best husband in the world. Not only does he cook, but he also grocery shops when needed. He's always so supportive with whatever I'm doing diet-wise and right now we are just focusing on eating "healthy." For me, this means 4 small meals a day. I need to be better about meal planning, though. Still working on this one...

5. Exercise

I've been doing "From Couch to 5K" for over a month now. This week, I've joined the gym for the first time in ages. I'm finally making this a priority and I'm exercising first thing in the morning that way it's done and out of the way and I don't even have to think about it for the rest of the day. I'm feeling better in general (which gives me stamina to complete all that I have to do in a day) as well as feeling better about my looks (which helps with priority number two... the hubs may say he doesn't care what I look like but I do!)

6. Becoming debt free

This has fallen down a few notches on the priority list, but needs my attention a few days out of the week when I pay bills and budget the rest of the money. Gotta tighten the reigns here again...

7. Teaching Sunday School

Anna's seizures has kept me from teaching Sunday School for about a month now, but this is something I dearly enjoy. I love working for my church this way and also heading up Vacation Bible School. At least one day a week needs to be devoted to planning my lessons so I'm not running around last minute.

8. Free time (AKA: ME time or play time!)

Okay, here we go. Momma needs down time too, right? This week I've scheduled two naps into my schedule and ya know what? I've been a better mom and wife because of it. I've also allocated Friday as my sewing day so I can get caught up on some projects that are lying around. And truth be told: being creative is therapeutic for me. It's good for my soul. Having a day at the end of the week to play is like a reward for doing all the stuff that needed to be done earlier in the week. So there. Enuff said! ;)

9. Organizing the house

The condition of my house is usually a reflection of what's going on in my life. It's the reason I bought this book. Duh. :D But it's getting there. I'm proud of my progress.

10. Extended family

My parents and Chuck's parents live about an hour to an hour and a half away. My sister lives even farther. I want to make an effort to visit with them more. Chuck and I are also talking about going to North Carolina to visit my brother this summer. And if nothing else, I'm trying to be better about calling regularly. A quick call to say hi and I love you doesn't have to take half an hour. Pick up the phone, Linds. It's not that hard.

11. Special Needs Advocacy

Yeah, I know we were only supposed to have 10 priorities, but what can I say? I'm an overachiever! Being a mom to a special needs child has put me in places and around people I never thought I'd be in or around 10 years ago. I have always had a heart for the handicapped and I adore spending time in the Special Ed classroom at Anna's school, going to Miracle League softball games and watching sweet angels compete in the Special Olympics. I have spoken on two different occasions about Anna and her disabilities and I am always honored to talk to, answer questions, and share stories with other parents who have similar circumstances like we do. I feel this is a great calling on my life and I would like to do more for people who have special needs in our community. I don't know where this will lead, but I feel God has big plans in this area of my life. I'm trying to be open and listen to his call here.

Two other things that are worth mentioning in this section of the book deals with setting boundaries and learning to say no as well as limiting time spent with negative people. First of all, we are not responsible for the entire world. Look at your plate. Is it half-full, brimming, or running over? The world will not stop on it's axis if you say "no" to the PTO, your next door neighbor, or the Ladies Auxiliary. If you don't bake the cupcakes, organize the block party, or book next month's speaker, they will find someone else to do it. They always do. And second, nothing will suck the life out of you faster than a negative friend. Look at the people you surround yourself with. Search out ladies who you admire and who can be a mentor to you and invite them over. Or better yet... meet somewhere for breakfast and pick their brain over pancakes or have your kids play at the park together. Attitudes are contagious. Surround yourself with positive people and keep yourself emotionally healthy.

Next week focuses on organizing your papers. Are y'all ready for this? I'm no psychic, but I see a LOT of work for me in the next few days! LOL! Check out House of Grace today and see how others are organizing their priorities and get inspired to start setting some of your own!

1 comment:

  1. YOu are really funny! I am glad that you are enjoying this series. Thanks so much for linking up!
    Bonnie :)