Monday, August 8, 2011

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

Free spirited. Fun loving. Flies by the seat of her pants. Spontaneous. Open ended. Flexible.

These are all descriptive phrases that others have used to talk about me at various points in my life. What you don't see there are words like...scheduled, consistent, on time, reliable, dependable, orderly, organized. Why? Because those words do NOT describe me. Oh how I wish I were more of all those 'grown-up' traits, especially when the responsibilities I have begin to overwhelm me.

I have always resisted a schedule. Truth be told, I have a planner graveyard going in a box in the garage. It has always felt so stifling to be 'told' what to do with my time! I *do* like to be flexible and spontaneous! I want to drop everything and have coffee with a girlfriend who needs to chat. I'd love nothing better than to declare it a silly holiday and take my kids out for milkshakes at the drop of a hat.

What I have come to realize is that living this way is neither effective or productive. I was definitely created with a bent for people and relationships over tasks and keeping busy. I recognize that and am trying to find a way to embrace my love for people and pursuing friendships and balance that against the demands of homeschooling my children and managing my the demands outside my home that I have become involved in. Most are important things that are a natural extension of what I do at home like helping lead our local homeschool support group, speak at monthly meetings and teach at our co-op. Some reflect my desire to help others, like serve on a community board for storm recovery (our community was hit hard by the April,2011 tornadoes). ALL take a level of commitment and intention that I sometimes feel is above and beyond my natural abilities!

Praise the Lord that "in our weakness, He is strong." I couldn't do so much of what I do with out the daily grace of God. I hear young moms say all the time, I could never do what you do, I don't have the __________!" Fill in patience, organization, ability, belief in myself that I could actually TEACH my name it, I've probably heard it. Let me tell you something: I CAN'T DO THIS EITHER! I'm no hero or saint. My house is messy, my kids rooms are dirty (one more than the others...her room gives me hives!), we have cereal or mac and cheese for dinner a lot more than we should, we sleep in, clean laundry is moved from the bed to the basket to the bed again before it is ever folded and put away.

What I have found when it come to those daily responsibilities is that a checklist is a good thing. It gives a sense of purpose to the day with out restraining one to an hourly schedule. It helps a free spirit like me (who would frequently be distracted by facebook or twitter or sparkly things) stay focused and intentional. And I actually get things done! It gives the best of both worlds though as a 'list' system lends flexibility and leaves room for spontaneity while still giving direction and purpose to the flow of your day/week/month.

What do YOU do to stay organized while still embracing who you really are??