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Organizing and Simplifying my Calendar

A few days ago, I crashed.  I had virtually made it to the end of an extremely busy season when I felt I absolutely couldn’t make it another day. My poor loving husband happened to call me at a particularly bad moment when it all came spilling out.  Because I am married to the nicest man in the world, he gave me the day off. I picked up Martha Ramsland’s Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way. In the first chapter on organizing your calendar my problem was revealed: “Calendar overload exacts a heavy price, which is why it’s often not worth the ‘big push’ to attend to everything and please everyone. A calendar without breathing room wears any normal person out, so guard your calendar to reflect the pace of life that you can personally handle. Discouragement and fatigue may be a reflection of a time schedule out of balance.” She suggests that in order to avoid this burn-out, you need to schedule at-home time — at least 2 weeknights (Monday through Thursday) and 1-2 weekend evenings (Friday through Sunday). As I looked back over my calendar, I realized that for the past 3 months we had 0 weeknights and at most 1 weekend evening at home due to sports practices, church activities and other various things that came up. On top of this I’m homeschooling, trying to organize a home and blog about it, trying to maintain a household (cleaning, meals, laundry. . .), training for a half-marathon, and maintain a certain number of daily on-line work hours. I realized I needed a change; I needed to simplify our calendar.  So I came up with the following plan:

1) Simplify (somewhat) my homeschooling – I am going to spend the summer on the quest for different curriculum.  What I currently use requires a lot of involvement, preparation and research from me. I came to the conclusion, after talking to a homeschooling mom I greatly respect, that it is okay to let someone else who has already done this successfully, do some of the work for me. It’s okay to buy a prepackaged curriculum that I trust. I can still put my mark on it.  With 3 kids at 3 different levels and a very busy preschooler, it just might save my sanity.

2) Simplify our sports schedules – I’m still working out exactly how this will look, but having practices every night of the week and games all day Saturday just doesn’t work for us. My husband and I are looking at sports programs like Upwards that seem to be a little more consolidated with all ages on the same nights, or possibly having our children stagger their participation. I’d love to hear from someone else on this . . . how do you keep your activities with multiple children at a sane level?

3) Re-schedule my Runs – I like to run at least 2 half-marathons a year.  It keeps me running and challenges me with longer distances, but I need to think about all that is going on in our lives when I schedule a run. I was starting to stress out about getting long  runs in and taking away our one free day as a family in order to complete it. I had to re-evaluate and decide that I don’t need to run this particular race.  Rather than forcing a spring-run into our schedules, I’m now planning for one this summer when the schedule is much lighter.

4) Clarify my work schedule – I am mostly a stay-at-home mom, but I work for a standardized testing company and have a 10-day (give or take) period of on-line scoring after a test is administered.  During a scoring session I commit to a certain number of hours and in order to get those in I spend every spare minute on the computer – 10 minutes til dinner? I’ll score a few papers.  I get tired, and the kids, house and my husband get neglected. I’ve decided to schedule undisturbed work hours each day; hours the family knows I am working (most likely when their sleeping or otherwise occupied), then stop and spend time with the family when my hours are complete.

5) Simplify my organizing – This blog is fun and it is my accountability for getting myself organized, but it is just that – fun. I need to make sure that when things get busy I’m not taking time from my family or work just so I can make a blog entry. Sometimes I may only blog once or twice a week and that’s okay.

6) Schedule down-time/family time – My calendar needs to include down-time at home with the family. In addition to reducing the number of activities on my calendar, I need to schedule in time with the family and my husband so they aren’t neglected.

7) Protect my Quiet Time – I know I’m too busy when my devotion time starts getting neglected. Why is that always the first thing to go? It shouldn’t be! When I miss my time with the Lord, everything else gets off. I need to keep my daily appointments with Him first.

We’ve all heard that the typical American family is over-scheduled. I never thought it would be me, but apparently I am typical. It’s time to go against the norm and put our sanity first.

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About easygoingorganizer

I am wife to the world's nicest man, mother to four lively/intelligent/beautiful children, daughter to two incredible parents, sister to four amazing siblings, aunt to nine fun-loving nephews and two sweet nieces, friend, teacher turned homeschooler, runner and aspiring organizing maven. Most importantly, I am a woman of faith and unapologetically blend my faith and my God into all that I do because it is ". . . in Him we live and move and exist . . ." (Acts 17:28).

6 responses »

  1. Great advice! It’s so easy to forget what’s really important to us and then fill our days with less fulfilling tasks. Thanks for the reminder to prioritize and simplify.

    Reply
  2. Well said!

    Reply
  3. teacher4life

    Hi! I am glad to follow another homeschooling mom! I homeschooled my three for several years before putting them in our church school…BIG mistake! We will be homeschooling again in the fall and we are very excited about it! I use the ACE curriculum, which is great! It is self-paced and doesn’t require a lot from Mom. I used to think it was too slow and my children wouldn’t get enough from it, but when they are working at their pace, they catch up and fly by! They will learn everything they need to graduate and go on to college through this curriculum. My three learned to set goals for the day through this curriculum. My oldest daughter is prepping for the ADN program at our local community college so I will only have my younger two. It is Accelerated Christian Education.

    Reply

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