If I’m not going to post often, I’ll at least make them really long.

Last week a friend called me at 8:45 in the morning while I was putting on my running shoes. She was in a pinch for someone to watch her toddler that morning, because something came up. I mentally ticked through my plans for that day, and decided it was doable, so I finished tying up my shoes, put the kids in the car, and went to pick up the extra kid.

My goal for that morning was to be at the gym by 9am. But in thinking through my plans and goals, I realized the actual goal was to not dink around all morning until time was wasted and we were chasing our schedule. Having somewhere to be was simply the gimmick I used for sticking to my goal.

Therefor, driving across town to pick up a cute boy and getting back to the gym by 9:45 was still sticking to my plan, because by the time she called I was nearly ready to walk out the door anyway. I was on the treadmill by 10, and had a great workout.

I’ve noticed that on the days I carefully lay out a plan of what we will do and/or accomplish, I’m much more productive. I was busy that day, but because I knew exactly what I needed to get done, it was easy to figure out whether an extra person would disrupt my goals. Also? This may sound like a contradiction, but sometimes having extra kids around makes my life easier, because everyone is happy to play and leave me to get something done.

I’ve also noticed that when I plan days filled with lots of activity – regardless of whether they are fun adventures or boring errands – we are all much happier, and I’m more productive. When I leave large blocks of time for us to wander around the house, we all become aimless. But when I come up with a good mix of being out and staying home, we all appreciate being home much more.

I’m laughing at myself, because the week before this happened, I had another disruption to my day that didn’t go over so well for me. In that post I lamented over the possible misconception that I was flexible:

I’ve always considered myself a very flexible person, but maybe this isn’t so true? Maybe I’m only flexible when I have 24 hours notice? Or when I didn’t have plans to start with? Or when I’m in charge of what gets sprung on me unexpectedly?

I think I now understand that I am flexible when I have a plan.

Proverbs 16:9 says, ” In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” When I have a plan for my day, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to readjust when something unexpected gets tossed at me. What probably happened the day I wrote that post, is that I started off too slow, or perhaps a little behind schedule. Or maybe I didn’t have a plan at all. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m very familiar with the feeling that I don’t have any idea what I’m supposed to be doing, so I don’t really know what I should do next.

My friend Trisha wrote a great post on being Frantic Busy vs Smart Busy, and I felt she well articulated my ongoing struggle – particularly in this line:

This busy gal [frantic] is not ever getting time to rest or to enjoy those she loves or she does do those things and lets everything else fall apart around her.

If you’ve been around my blog very long, you know the roller coaster ride I’ve been on regarding the enjoyment of my children vs Getting Things Done. Forever I have felt it wasn’t possible to do both. Either my children had a blast hanging out with their mom and my house was a disaster, or I kept a decent house and sacrificed time with my kids, making me irritable to their interruptions and prone to use the tv as a babysitter.

Trisha writes:

I could work myself in to a sweat and “miss” those moments that God has called me to, like playing with my children, affection, words, tenderness, laughter, all in exchange for a folded load of laundry? No, thank you!

This week I’ve been tending to the particulars of Ruthie’s Kindergarten for next year. Like facing your own morality late in life, this has caused me to face the reality that my kids are slowly leaving me, that I will not always have them with me. This reality has swept me into a new perspective on Time. I suddenly realize just how much I am taking time for granted, and how my disorganization with time causes stress on my relationships.

When I’m feeling “frantic busy” I give off the vibe that my children are a burden to me, because their interruptions are disrupting an already chaotic situation. This is not the identity I want my daughter to carry around with her, that her presence in this family is a bother. I would rather she enter Kindergarten knowing that her mother cried all the way home because her presence will be missed.

I’m feeling highly motivated to stay ahead of my schedule, to carefully plan out my days and weeks so there is plenty of room for focused work and focused fun, and enough wiggle room for surprises or adjustments. I’ve been going to bed at ten, falling asleep after reading a half hour, and getting up at six. Did you know that’s nearly eight hours of sleep? Do you know how good it feels to get eight hours of sleep?! Are you aware of how much one person can accomplish in one day on eight hours of sleep?!

I never knew, because I was always dinkin around until the wee hours of the morning.

Oh, and Bryan? You can shut up about being right.

2 thoughts on “If I’m not going to post often, I’ll at least make them really long.”

  1. Wow–this is good. Smart busy verses frantic busy. That really succinctly sums up the issue, doesn’t it?!

  2. I love to keep intouch with your blog.Our lives would appear to run along similar lines,you are doing brilliantly.
    love,light and happiness to you all

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