Thursday, May 3, 2012

Intentionally Simple

At the beginning of the year I stumbled upon this website and came up with my own word for 2012: Intentional. For January I focused on becoming intentional with my time and for February I focused on becoming intentional with my words.

Then I . . . kind of forgot about it. March and April came and went in a blur. My best intentions (ahem) fell by the wayside.

For the month of May I'm making a renewed commitment to this whole idea of intentionality and my focus is on simplifying. (Perhaps that should have been my word all along?)

Because you know what happens when I forget to simplify?
  • I get grumpy, and start to spiral, and have a terrible time pulling out of my funk. (You know how it is when everything. just. seems. overwhelming. Yes, that.)
  • I yell at the Agents. I hate this most of all. I don't want to do it, I just do. And then I need something like this to get back on track again.
  • I stop taking care of myself . . . I don't sleep well, I don't get enough time alone, and I literally make myself ill. (Seriously. This week I came down with my first UTI in probably 15-20 years. Apologies for the TMI, but I seriously forgot how truly awful a urinary tract infection is. Ugh.)
I read somewhere recently that stress is what happens when you try to do two things at once. (I don't remember where or I would totally give credit. I'm nice like that.) Anyway, yes, that is me. I mean, to some extent if I couldn't multitask at least a little I could not survive life with three small children. However, I find that often I bring on the stress of tackling two (or three, or four) things at once myself. I don't need to be busy for the sake of being busy. And the thing is, even when I feel busy and productive I'm not necessarily getting more done, I'm just spinning faster.

Basically, I got caught up with trying to do too much, ended up getting nothing accomplished in the process, and now I want a do-over.

Okay, perhaps do over is not completely accurate. What I really need is an action plan. I've been so bogged down with, well, existing, that I haven't really stopped to assess in a long time.

So, what's a Momma to do?

I think what I'm really looking for is a better routine. As much as I enjoy our adventures with homeschooling, the past eight months of not "needing" to be anywhere in the mornings have taken a toll on our days. Yes, I like to be flexible, and it's nice to not always need to conform to an outside schedule. But . . . I think we've swung to far in the other direction. 

On some level I wish I were one of those people who can go with the flow and remain calm and zen and all that, but the truth is I really like a good schedule to follow. While it may sound counterintuitive to some, I believe having more structure actually simplifies my days. I like knowing what to expect. I like a good list of this happens, then this happens. I like the repetitive feel of a well-planned week. We've been all over the map lately, with everything from bed time to meals to outside activities, and it's starting to show. I believe we will all benefit if Momma gets her act together and encourages a regular, simple routine. 

For now, I'm going to try to make more of a conscious effort to focus on a few specific events to anchor our days. Of course we're in the middle of getting ready to move across an ocean so maybe now is not the best time to revamp the way we do things. And then we'll be off visiting relatives, and setting up the new house, and then we have a planned trip to see Mickey Mouse, and after that Hubby will be getting ready to leave . . . 

Okay maybe this will be more challenging than I think.

Do you aim for simplicity, or do you thrive on chaos? What does your daily routine look like? What do you do to get back on track when you are feeling off kilter?

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day.


Tara said... [Reply to comment]

Stress is what happens when you do two things at once? Ahem. There are some who would point out that a man said that. Because men's brains are wired to do only one thing at once. Many of us do many things at once without even thinking about it - and we have to, whether it's changing a diaper while noticing that another child has climbed on to the roof or nursing and managing a conference call. We do it without even thinking about it. Honestly, to do only one thing at a time is not a luxury most of us can afford. Really, I think the stress comes from the story we have about doing more than one thing at once (that it's not enough or my children wouldn't be upset if dinner was on time or if I could three things at a time, my house wouldn't be trashed or whatever). And not all stress is bad - we have it that it is, but we need some degree of stress to keep us moving forward. Personally, I think stress comes from letting ourselves get disempowered and forgetting we have a say about it.

Rox Buckman said... [Reply to comment]

In our family, we say we don't have plans, we just have outlines and we fill in the rest as we go. On a day to day basis, this generally means having an idea of what's going on (we need to walk the dog, go visit your mother, clean the house, and come home and make dinner). But always having plenty of flexibility mixed in, like doing things in a different order than planned (let's wait till we get home to walk the dog so we won't get muddy before we go out), swapping things out with a chore or errand on the next (we can go to the grocery on the way home from mom's and worry about cleaning tomorrow), or having back ups (whoops, forgot to thaw dinner- left over night!). Also, I've found that when I get that "must stay busy" feeling, a walk is perfect. I feel like I'm doing something, it's family time, and it really helps me center and reassess.

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