Friday, March 26, 2010

Fried Brains, Anyone?

I used to have a fairly decent brain. It worked well in 'the olden days' (back in 2009), but I think I've overused it. It's now looking like a shriveled raisin, with the memory capacity of an Atari 64 processor.

It must be all the latest changes.

Not only am I trying to do the mom thing, the wife thing, the weight loss/healthy eating thing, the writing thing, the sewing thing and the house care specialist thing (I like the sound of that much better than saying the housework thing!). There are a few other 'things' I could mention, but I risk an overload if I do- besides, I've already forgotten them!

And now comes the worst part- the scheduling thing.

Don't get me wrong- I actually like making schedules- I'm just no good at keeping them. At least until now.

A little advice here from one who knows- When making a schedule for yourself, it tends to be much harder than doing so for someone else. Why? Because, as humans, we tend to overrate ourselves personally. We just know we can do so much more than Ole whats-her-face in the next room. So we overschedule, and wind up with fried brains and a worn out body that's crying out for chocolate.

You need to sleep, you need breaks, and you also need a good healthy dose of perspective. You have to know what you're truly capable of; if anything you should be underestimating yourself when it comes to making a good schedule!

One thing I've learned through the years is to have a little breathing room penciled in on the list. That way if you're running a little late in one area, you're not up to your armpits in unfinished tasks by the end of the day. Ask me how I know.

You also have to have a sense of proportion as well- sometimes I just can't do all I want to do that day. I might have to reschedule it, or I might just have my husband or the kids chip in to help. Both ideas work well, and I still get my goal accomplished sooner or later.

Patience is indeed a virtue, and not something I possess in massive amounts. But it's a muscle I've had to stretch and strengthen a great deal as of late just so I can remain sane. Why? Because sometimes things happen that get in the way and capsize even the most organized of schedules.

Like the kids getting half days. Or Easter break. Or my husband has to work late. None of this stuff fits into my regularly scheduled program, and my brain turns into the Emergency Broadcast System, flat-lining with that dull monotone signal that says "Sorry, my brain is not here right now, but if you leave a message, I might get back to you- if it decides to come back. This is not a drill."

Being patient and flexible has saved my scheduling (and my sanity!) many times. Especially around the holidays.

For me, I have blocks of scheduled time I use to get things done, and in between those blocks are the 'flexibility minutes' that help keep me on track. Those minutes are spent walking the kids to school, doing errands, or having a little computer time to myself.

Don't forget to also allow some time to relax. And time to get used to the new schedule.

One of my very bad habits is that I do something for a week, decide it isn't for me, and let it go. You have to think of it like getting on a treadmill for the first time. You're using muscles you rarely (if ever) used before, and it will take more than a week of you doing it to see if it's a good fit for your day. I suggest you try making out a schedule and doing it for a month- write down things you might want to tweak a bit, but stick to it as much as possible. After the month is up, redo it if you need to and have another go. Pretty soon you'll find yourself much more productive- and a lot happier!

This week has been a hard one, but I know it'll get easier as I go. I'll refresh my poor little raisin brain over the weekend, and do it all over next week.

So...who's with me?

Remember that you're not doing this just for you, you're doing this for your family and most of all, God. And if you start getting a raisin brain, just take a deep breath, and thank God for chocolate in all it's glorious forms!


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