April 15, 2010

Living an organized life, part 3

Recap- We covered how important a routine is, what your priorities should be and why, and the first steps of establishing a routine. And, yes, I know its Thursday when I said I would post this on Wednesday-let that be a lesson to you all to check your calendars before you commit yourself to something! Moving on! Rule #3 deals specifically with setting up a routine-

Rule #3- Work on no more than 3 habits, for at least 30 days. Set yourself up for success by having realistic expectations. Your life didn’t get where it is in a day, a week or a month-it’s taken a lifetime. Changing anything in it is going to take more than a day, a week, or a month. Unfortunately, some things may even take a lifetime to change, just don’t get discouraged and quit! Pick three things to change, not three areas, three things, such as-getting to bed at a set time, brushing teeth before bed, and getting up at a set time. After 30 days, it will be a habit-even if you sometimes didn’t do what you said you would do. You don’t necessarily have to choose three things that go together, you can choose fixing lunch instead of buying lunch, charging your phone and putting your shoes in the closet-it doesn’t matter, as long as you only work on three things at a time.

The most efficient way to change your routine is to work in sections of time, starting with your evening, then your morning, next your afternoon. Once these areas have a basic structure, you will have seen a change in not just the flow of your day but the material organization in your home. I’m not someone who tells you a general idea then leaves it at that, I’m a detail person, so I’m going to give you lots of applications.

To begin, get a daily calendar that is by the hour. Outlook is a great option, but plenty of day planners come with these pages. You can make this yourself, writing the time (6 am, 7 am) down one side of the paper, leaving space to write next to the time what your activities are. This is going to sound like I’m having you make a schedule, but I’m not, this is to keep you from putting too much pressure on yourself. You must plan a full week at a time, because most days are different, and sometimes, each week is different. When you write something on the calendar, consider how long it should take and how long it does take. At this point you will be figuring out what is possible for you to do in a single day, so block out the time for each activity-showering and dressing, eating, driving somewhere, etc.

Begin with the time that you will get out of bed. End with the time you will go to sleep-not get in bed and read for a while, what time will you go to sleep? You have now established your sleeping schedule, next put in meals. You cannot live for very long without sleeping or eating, so they go in first. After that, put in showering and dressing, if you do those things(those around you will appreciate it). Now it’s time to check the things you have to work around-if you’re a SAHM, or a WAHM and you have a child that naps on a schedule, put that in. If you work outside the house, put that on there. Do you or anyone else in your household have weekly/monthly lessons? Do you drive your children to school during the week? As I said, these are the things you have to work around; they aren’t flexible to what will work for you. Once those things are on the calendar, it’s time to look at your priorities. I’ll remind you that you are your first priority, so have you put on there taking care of yourself? Not just showering and dressing, but giving to yourself; time to pray, meditate, journal. Separate from that is being selfish in a good way. These are two separate endeavors, one gives you focus and purpose, the other revitalizes and refreshes you. They can be similar activities, but I would recommend branching out and trying new things in the selfish in a good way category. I’m not suggesting you go online and shop ‘til you drop, but trying a new activity that you’ve always been interested in, reading a good book if you don’t usually take time for that, those are what you can consider selfish in a good way.

Priority #2 and #3 are spouse and children, and if you don’t have either of those, it’s the family and friends you choose to be your #2 and #3 priorities. Put them on the calendar. Yes, I mean it, pick a time and put these beautiful people in there.

I must interject something here. We all have biological clocks, which make us “morning” or “night” or “afternoon” people. What that means is that we all have a time that is our “best” time. It’s a time of day where we are just predisposed to getting it right, handling crisis better, frustrations and life in general. When is that time for you, and the individuals in your house? Once you know what your best time is, there are some things that you should do during that time. Do things that you don’t like to do-you will have better attitude in general if you do them during your best time. Give to other people in your best time-especially your family and anyone you may be upset with. Giving to someone you are upset with leads to reconciliation, and you will be more sincere if you’re in a good mood. If you and your spouse and children are all at your best at the same time of day, that’s when you should be spending time together, if not, work it out so that someone is at their best when you have quality time with your family.

Now you have what can be called a basic routine. Look at the gaps you have in there. If after going this far you have no gaps, some things must go, and not necessarily from your routine, but maybe people in your house need to contribute or give up things that may not be necessary. Here’s why-you haven’t put in there time for taking care of your house-not just cleaning, but regular maintenance. Nor have you put in there buying food, and the other miscellaneous errands that are a must in everyday life. A busy life does not equal a satisfying life. The people I know that are truly satisfied usually have very little on their calendars outside of the basic schedule. Cut back and give yourself room to live.

There are a few more things I’d like to share with you, so in the next couple of days I’ll finish.

Happy Thoughts!

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