Early to Rise Challenge: Day 19

Wow.  I haven't been this exhausted since I was having trouble controlling my pregnancy anemia.  It's amazing how a semi-incapacitated spouse can increase the workload, especially when one is already working near one's limit.  And my husband doesn't even need much - just painkillers now and again.  But he's stretched out on the convenient comfy couch which means I don't have a good place to sit down and rest myself.  Even worse, when he does get up he's moving around more quickly and easily than I can.  My hips tell me this is Not Fair, but the more rational parts of me know that his resting isn't just about mobility and pain.  At least tomorrow he won't be under a prescription to lay flat anymore.

That rather long digression was, in part, a way of saying that we both just needed some extra rest this morning.  This was confirmed when I hit snooze for the third time and I heard my husband mumble, "No, I don't have the phone."

The clock looks worse than it really is.  I got up at 6:50, and before I could go hunt the camera down there were physical therapy exercises, children who woke up, coffee to make and cats to be fed.

Today's topic is "Don't Live Today By Accident."  It is a rather overwhelming challenge when our lives are currently in so much disorder from the pregnancy and surgery.  To keep stress to a minimum, I had exactly three things I planned for today:

  1. Clean the dishes
  2. Plant the garden
  3. Drink a caffeinated beverage
Ironically, I was to tired that I forgot to do #3.  I just about fell asleep instead.  But I washed all the rest of the standing dishes and planted my spring veggies.  Pippin was ecstatic to be involved in sanctioned digging.

Okay, so I didn't quite finish planting the garden.  My broccoli seeds have gone missing, and my seed potatoes need to sit overnight before going in the ground.  But I got the more tedious seeds in the ground (onion sets, beets and carrots).  I hope I didn't wait too late to plant them - I'm still very much a novice gardener, and I never even tried cold-season veggies until a couple of years ago.

In general, the idea of planning your day reminds me of a post I saw on The Happiness Project entitled "Don't Get Organized."  It's not that it's bad to be organized with your time, tasks or tangibles.  But you can't necessarily try to organize everything that occurs to you to keep or do.  It's ridiculous to try and stuff mounds of clutter into as many plastic boxes, cubbyholes, bins and over-door storage units as you can possibly buy.  That's just a great way to convert mounds of clutter into mounds of plastic boxes.  And it's equally ridiculous to jam every little task that "seems like a good idea" or that "Suzy Star Homemaker from MOPS is doing too" into a day's plan.

This is a struggle for me.  Others (like the Money Saving Mom) who seem to just organize everything effortlessly uniformly agree that keeping your to-do list small is the key to success.  I haven't been doing terribly at prioritizing my to-do lists and dropping the lower-priority tasks.  What I am coming to realize is that part of that key is to stop thinking about those tasks that didn't make the cut as "things that would be a good idea to do today if there is time" and to start thinking about at least some of them as "things that maybe need to be cut out of my life."  Because if your to-do list has too much "rollover," eventually you will get to the point where you are trying to prioritize the top five to ten items from a list of thirty or forty.  And that's a fabulous way to organize your life into a nervous breakdown.

Another struggle for me is trying to walk that fine line between a satisfactorily busy schedule and enough flexibility to cope with unexpected crises.  This is really more of a learned art than a science - just setting an arbitrary limit on the number of tasks for the day isn't going to work.  One of the reasons I have so much trouble is that I have a terrible time estimating how long a task will take.  Even worse, it changes every time I try to make an effort to be more scheduled.  It was different when I wasn't pregnant, and it was even different each trimester.  And it will undoubtedly be different again in a couple of weeks when I have three kids instead of two.

All I can do at this point is to try and do at least some planning every day.  Practice and consistency, even on a small scale, are going to do more long-term good than trying to do a full organizational makeover once in a while and slacking off in between.


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