Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Task Lists: I Give In

I have been a stay-at-home mom for the past seven years. I have had a very lenient schedule, a must with little kids; everyday is a surprise. I am a very scheduled person, always have been, but when you are home with four little ones your day-to-day life is very unpredictable. I had a routine in place, but always knew that nothing was set in stone. I had no deadlines, so-to-speak. It was my way of coping. All of that has changed. Going from a home-minded routine to a working-minded routine has really taken some adjustment.

I have talked the last two weeks about the changes going on in our household. My work-load, my attitude, and my stress-level. I have been extremely stressed. When life takes an unexpected turn sometimes it catches you off guard. Sometimes changes are necessary even when you think you're getting by.

I would say that I'm a very organized person in many ways, but having Erik home has made me realize he totally has me beat. I have been mocking him for about a month about his task-lists, calendars, and daily schedules. I would walk by as he was typing it up with a chip on my shoulder, "what a geek!"

I was just fine without a minute-by-minute schedule. I didn't want something telling me what to do...I wanted freedom. But, I wasn't feeling very free, quite the opposite. I found myself a complete wreck.

The other night after a big rant, I decided to cave. Cave to the thought of being a slave to a schedule. Cave to the idea that I was jealous of Erik. He was calm and at peace with life and I was a flippin' mess!

I used to be an "agenda-type" person. I was the little girl that laid her outfits out a week in advance with socks and matching hair bows. For some reason over the years I got away from those habits; I guess I thought it would simplify my life.

I was trying to become more career-focused while still maintaining my non-scheduled, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants family life; it was swallowing me whole. I had so many things to accomplish in one day; the thought of it became so overwhelming that I wouldn't get much done at all. Without a plan you fail, and I was failing miserably. The time I did have with my family I was grumpy. I didn't think I had the freedom to enjoy time with them having all of those tasks hanging over my head. I didn't have a schedule and so I wasn't allowing myself the much needed family time, house-cleaning time, and work-out time. I would rush through those things and "squeeze them in" but wouldn't enjoy them. With everything else I thought I should be doing I couldn't enjoy my most precious treasure, my family.

I feel free now. I'm a complete believer in my husband's geeky schedule, haha! I am now a saleswoman for the whole task-list thing. It just goes to show that you should never judge anything before you give it a chance. Most likely if someone is enjoying their day-to-day life, it might be because of a great strategy. It really works and you might want to give it a try.

The very first thing we did was sit down and make a mission statement. Initially, I was rolling my eyes at the whole idea (I have major attitude if you haven't noticed), but honestly it's really cool...and really easy. You can also get a great task sheet that incorporates the roles you operate in, the goals you have and the values you cherish. It really can help focus you on what is truly important in your life. I highly recommend you check it out. Here is the link, it's free.

I compiled an ongoing list of "to-do's" on my desktop. When something comes to mind it goes on that list. If it's on the list, it doesn't stress me out. Everything from cleaning the kids bed sheets to confirming a shoot with a client. I use my calendar and my task list to create my daily agenda. It's so fun crossing things off that list!

I know it sounds uncool, but seriously, it's awesome. So much stress has been lifted and I'm smiling again. I feel like I can do this. I can be and do all these things, but do them in a healthy, fun, fulfilling way. Of course there is always a need for flexibility in life; things happen. So if something doesn't get done then it just gets carried over to the next day... no biggie!

Ah... organization feels so good!

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  1. Love having a schedule and a list... I'm the same. You'd probably laugh at mine though, because I put things on there like: shower, get dressed, etc! I guess that feeling of crossing things off is a natural high for me, so the more I can cross off, the better!!! I'm gonna have to check out the mission statement!!! :)

  2. Oh how I love organization! :) I have a to-do list every day at home and at work. I love when I get to cross things off the list. I feel like I really accomplished something.

  3. Yeah for organized lists! Good for you Lins! You are after my own heart. Now I just NEED to follow my own list! haha. Love this blog; and I'll be looking into that website. Thanks!!!!

  4. great photo and proverb. I might have to use that one in the future :)