It’s been two days since we returned from vacation, and school has started.
What better way to shake the vacation out of a mom (or dad)?
With a bang, here we go: homework, sports practice and games, dance class, meetings, signups, volunteering, all of it starting simultaneously. Seven meetings this week alone, just related to the kids’ activities.
Not to mention the cleanup and laundry from the trip. Laundry, laundry, and laundry — and more laundry.
And bills — lots of mail, lots of stuff in stacks awaiting me. Stacks I thankfully forgot about for a few days.
Wasn’t I just on a chaise lounge two days ago, looking at a glistening beach, mai tai in my hand, taking deep, restful breaths?
I’m certainly not complaining, but the mental, physical and emotional shifts coming back (after having the trip later in summer) were harder this time. There is literally so much to do, so much to catch up on, that there’s seemingly no time to write.
But wait – I have a deadline in a week.
But wait – I took some great notes over vacation.
But wait – Everyone wants to meet, have coffee, discuss this or that. PTA wants me to sign up for — everything.
Just wait. Don’t try to do it all at once, I’m trying to tell myself. One thing at a time. Breathe, and wait.
And the light bulb over the head this time is this:
START EACH DAY WITH A SPECIFIC PLAN.
Of course we may not stick to a plan perfectly each day, but it is definitely better to go through the day with one. The more often we do, the stronger the routine, the more productive we will become, the less frazzled we will be. Divide the day into tasks and appointments, and let them reflect your separate list of main life priorities — which for me are to encourage my family, friends and community to learn more about God, others and themselves through relationships and writing/speaking.
What are your priorities? What do you feel MUST get done each day for you to feel satisfied, progressing and at peace? And how do you plan it all?
–Exercise, prayer and writing are the three things that I have to schedule early in the day or else they will not get done. That’s when my physical and mental energy are strongest (everyone is different when it comes to determining when their primary/secondary energy is. See my blog post, Time-Saving Tips for Writers – Or Anyone.)
–Errands, calls, emails, can wait until later in the day when we need a ‘break.’
–The more we work off our plan/calendar, the better we’ll get at estimating how long things take, how much time to allow for certain tasks or meetings, or how much buffer time we need to build into our lives. This practice will help us protect our priorities.
So that’s what I’m going to try, anyway, as this school year, family year, work year, and creative year get under way: better planning.
And still taking breaks for an occasional mai-tai.
How are you ‘starting’ your fall season? Anything different this time in the way you plan? How are you avoiding the daze and protecting your priorities?