Are you a spouse? A parent? Do you manage a home? Do you have a vocation and/or a ministry? Are you breathing?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you likely feel as if you are living beyond your capacity. You are stretched and challenged to manage more than you can handle. I know its true because I, too, am breathing. I can also answer yes to all of the above questions and it seems I have too many plates spinning to keep everything moving forward as it should. I know that in 2013 and especially here toward the end (fall and holiday season) I began to realize that I spend a very high percentage of my life being reactive to things. Calendar events, weekly meal planning, holidays, birthdays . . . they all seemed to catch me by surprise. Almost every room in our house is incomplete as far as wall decor and furniture, I ordered almost every gift last minute, more often than not I grocery shopped AS I was meal planning. NOT A GOOD IDEA especially while pushing around 2 kids under 2.
I know I had a baby this year (and one last year too) so I have to have some grace on what I expect from myself. I get that. But I know I can do a better job staying ahead of the wave if I can just put a system in place to pop my head up once a month and look ahead. Not because I’m trying to be perfect but just because I’m sick of being behind on everything! Can you relate? Good! Then I’m normal!
I’d like to share with you a plan of mine for 2014 that I believe will be a significant tool for me to accomplish my goals (not new years resolutions, which to me ironically have a temporary connotation) and stay ahead of the wave. I am so excited about this plan. I can proudly say this is the mort organized I have ever been heading into a new year, and I hope at the end of 2014 I’ll be able to look back and see the difference this plan made. I work on staff South Bay church . . . many of us to this first step below, but the second is the one I’m initiating this year that I believe will be the golden ticket.
1. At the beginning of the year I have a 30,000 foot day.
This means I pop way up for the majority of a day, or a weekend (on years when I’m not nursing and can get away for that long) and take a look back at the previous year and reflect on themes and experiences, and then look forward toward the coming year and put my mind on each of the major categories and roles in my life. My husband is a Family Pastor and he does this every year for a couple of days. I am not able to do a weekend but I can do a day at Philz Coffee! This day is usually in the beginning of January, like the first week or so, and it not to do things, but to think about things. Here is my basic template for the categories of my life. . . I’m copying the general categories right out of my google doc:
Personal/Spiritual (Includes physical fitness, spiritual routines and rhythms, goals for myself personally in these areas).
Wife (Includes goals and things I want to emphasize/improve on as a wife. One big thing for me this time around is to prioritize going to be earlier so I can do a better job of being up and ready in the morning in order to spend time reading the Bible and be prepared to help my husband with what he needs to accomplish in order to get out the door for work)
Mother (A category for thinking through the development of my children such as what milestones they will pass this year, what could be some goals for their intellectual development, what heart characteristics would I like to see them develop in and how I can help cultivate those things in them, also how I can pray for them as they develop. . . also spiritual rhythms (what can I do as a mom to help my kids develop spiritually?)
Home (This one isn’t as self explanatory so i’ll show you my categories here)
- Meal Planning/Health. What are a few changes can I make in what I buy for our home to make us more healthy? Do I need to make/tweak a system for couponing/meal planning?
- Hospitality/Character of our home (What do I want people to experience when they are in our home, and how do I want our family to influence others?)
- Decor (I like to try to be intentional about what is on my walls, not leaving things half done (I have a painting I started in our bedroom that has been 65% done since summer!)
Ministry (Prayers for clarity on my involvement at South Bay church. Prayer through my role, every three months reevaluate my level of involvement. As a mother of two and hopefully one day three my capacity fluctuates a lot!)
2. At the turn of each month I will have a 10,000 foot day.
This day is solely to think about some specific categories for each month. Who is having a birthday that I need to buy gifts for? What holidays are coming? What can I emphasize with my kids in their spiritual and intellectual development? Are we traveling as a family? And I’ll also take some time to “check in” on how I’m doing with my 30,000 foot goals for the year to evaluate my trajectory. I’ll copy in my 10,000 foot template here:
- Special events (weddings)
- Church calendar
- Doctor appts
Thank you/encouragement notes
Personal spiritual evaluation/goals
Family spiritual emphasis
There you have it. Each month I will get away for a few hours to think through each of these categories. This will hopefully enable me to prioritize my time better to accomplish things and not feel stressed out as much. I can be ahead of the wave instead of playing catch up all the time. That’s the goal anyways. Now I have two more important things to say:
- A HUGE part of my being able to follow through on this system is my wonderful husband being willing to watch the girls during the times I’m away. He is amazing. Talk to your spouse and see if you can serve one another in any way to help one another make a plan for smoother sailing in 2014.
- I am not a rockstar wife or mom. I am making it day by day just like you are! As a matter of fact since I just recently had a baby I am just now beginning to focus on more than just getting food on the table at night and making sure everyone has clean diapers and underwear. Feel free to copy this whole deal and customize it for yourself. Make it work. Join me in my efforts to anticipate the events of life rather than chasing after them! Let me know how you do!