Monday, August 17, 2009

Time Management Part 1

I mentioned previously that, after coming home with a newborn, there seemed to be a lot of chaos and very little order at home. As someone who can be obsessive about organization, this was driving me a little nutty.

Now, a while ago I read Holly Pierlot's A Mother's Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul and I very much enjoyed it. I do really recommend reading it. But, like some other mothers I know, I had a really hard time implementing some of her suggestions with little children. Little ones thrive with predictability but only abide by schedules so well. They don't tell you they are going to have a meltdown on Thursday at 4pm or refuse to nap on Saturday afternoon. Infants don't send you memos informing you of their upcoming growth spurts and increased need to nurse or give you advance notice of the days they are just not going to stay asleep for more than 1 hour at a time. So living by the clock is really really hard when your day is dictated by little ones who don't live by the clock.

So I decided to ditch the clock. A schedule by the  clock was simply not going to work for me with three children aged three and under. The only exceptions to this would be a (hopeful) nap time, dinner time and bedtime. Otherwise, to heck with the clock that seemed only to stress me out and mock my attempts.

But Pierlot was definitely on to something in prioritizing my day and my time. She broke it down into the 5 Ps: Prayer (God), Person (myself), Partner (my spouse), Parent (my children) and Provider (my home). So I decided to make a list of the things I either should do or want to do for each category. Then I divided my list into "Daily," "Weekly," "Monthly," and "Continuous" categories.

I then made a chart so that I could mark off which I did each day, each week, each month, and continuously. If I do something, I mark the box with an X. If I get started but don't finish, I put a slash through the box. If I just don't get to it or can't do it, the box is left blank and sometimes, if there is a good reason I didn't get to something, I might make a note why I didn't do it. I still haven't gotten everything done every day but it helps me stay focused, reminds me of how much I do get done, and gives me a guide when I do have time to get something done. It also helps me see if I have neglected something too much.

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