Tag Archives: organization

Priorities

2 Mar

Like I posted a week or so ago, I created a schedule to organize my free time. Days upon days of having nothing that I have to do are piling up and I want to put them to good use, as well as make sure that I’m not neglecting anything that I should be doing (like editing the curriculum I volunteered for) in order to the things that I’d rather be doing (like reading and working on my book). The interviews I had on Friday and Monday kind of messed up my schedule but I’m slowly getting back on track.

[Side note: Both interviews went fairly well but I heard back from the one on Friday already – they went with someone else. The company I interviewed with on Monday is doing more interviews this week and next week and then are going to call people back in for 2nd interviews. So while I wait, I’m going to get back into the unemployed groove.]

While my free time schedule addresses the big things related to my career goals, it doesn’t address everyday things, like exercise, food, time with the hubby, etc. I have more things that I want to get done in a day than I can possibly do. After I found out about my rejection on Monday, I took Katy on a walk and was telling God that I wasn’t as excited about writing as I had been before the interviews because I felt slightly overwhelmed with all the ambitions I had. Getting a job would have given me an excuse to not achieve those ambitions – at least, not any time soon. Now that at least one job was out of the picture, all those ambitions came screaming back and I felt like I had to scramble into productivity or else something bad would happen.

Then I remembered something that Gary and Betsy Ricucci, the couple who presented the marriage conference at our church, said. Betsy seemed to be a lot like me, with her to-do lists and efficiency mode. She also seemed to me like me in that her ambitions often overwhelmed her. Whenever she got frazzled, Gary would ask her, “Betsy, do you really believe that God has given you more to do than you can handle?” Of course, the answer was no.

As I asked myself that question, and discovered with a joyful heart that indeed the answer was no, I was overwhelmed with God’s goodness. He doesn’t expect more from me than He knows I can give. He is utterly realistic about what I am capable of. And He will accomplish His purposes even with my meager efforts. For the rest of our walk, I felt like I was walking on air.

So how do I decide what to do everyday? Part of it is taking each day one task at a time. If there’s something I know needs to be done, and I’m at a good spot to do it, I do it then and don’t worry about what will come next until I have to. Then I take enough time between tasks to ask both God and myself, what is the next most important task or thing to do? Sometimes it’s just reading a book. Other times, it’s finishing that project I’ve been putting off for weeks.

But the main way I decide what I should do with my time is my priorities. I start with the most important and go on down the line, so if some things don’t get done in a day, they weren’t the most important ones anyway. So here are my priorities:

1. God.

The first thing I do every morning is spend time with God through reading the Bible and praying. God is my greatest good and He deserves to get my first attention every day. My desire to know God more also influences my other priorities, in that they are bound up in pleasing and obeying God, as well as wanting my time to be well spent.

2. Husband.

Over the past couple of weeks, God has really convicted me of my role as a wife – not only in the context of submission, but also in serving my husband. This priority has many implications. I make an intentional effort to provide Travis with lunches and have dinner ready when he gets home (or at least be ready to start it). I also am making exercise and eating right a priority because I see how the way I feel about myself physically affects how much I want to be close to Travis – and since physical touch is his main love language, I am loving Travis by taking care of myself. Additionally, I keep up on laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, dishes, and different errands for Travis.

3. Fellowship.

God has also convicted me that relationships with other believers aren’t just nice – they’re necessary. So I try to be intentional about getting together for coffee with a couple ladies every week, to talk about God and encourage one another. I also make it of utmost priority to attend our weekly care group and women’s meetings, as well as my women’s book study once a month.

4. Friendships.

Travis and I are trying to be more intentional with inviting our friends (believing and unbelieving) as well as people we would like to get to know out to dinner, either at our house or out. We are getting better at this but still have a lot of improvement we can make.

5. Writing.

I feel like this time in my life, sans job, is a very unique opportunity I have to pursue my dream of being a writer. So I’m taking it seriously and may need to cull some lower priorities in order to devote more time to this than I currently am. This also involves blogging, because the book project is very long, and not so much writing down my current thoughts as sifting through old ones.

6. Jobs.

Even though the unemployment office probably will never check how many jobs I apply for because they’re so backed up, I want to be honest about how many jobs I apply for. So I am trying to keep up with the quota of 5 a week – although that is definitely easier said than done, mostly because there aren’t that many jobs out there in a particular field.

7. Editing curriculum.

I’m not totally convinced that I want to continue with this volunteer opportunity. But I am committed to what I have right now, so I do need to keep working on it.

8. Everything else.

There are definitely times and places for fun – like going to a used bookstore (which Travis and I did last weekend), shopping at an antique mall or thrift store, going hiking, watching TV, painting my nails, doing crafts and other projects, etc. The best approach to these is do them with someone else, so that I’m growing my friendships while also doing things I enjoy. ūüėČ

So there you have it folks – what my life looks like right now.

 

Doing My To-Do List

22 Nov

After a summer of accomplishing pretty much nothing except working, sleeping, eating and running, I find that there are way too many things I’ve been putting off for way too long. So instead of letting them overwhelm me and keep me from sleeping at night, I have started one ginormous To-Do List. If I think of something that should be done, but can’t do it as I’m thinking about it, I write it down. My goal is to do 1 thing on my To-Do List every day until my To-Do List is gone. I am also trying to do things as I think about them, if it’s possible, instead of seeing something that needs to be done and making a mental note to do it later. I figure I can avoid a lot of unnecessary brain clutter this way.

This has several benefits. First, it gets these thoughts of things to do out of my head so that I can fill my brain with more important thoughts. I don’t have to constantly be remembering the things I wanted to do.

Second, it has helped me balance work with rest. I can be productive and still have some free time. I am a person who swings from one extreme to the next. I can spend one day lying on the couch and doing nothing but watch bad movies or re-run marathons and then spend the next doing chores and errands from dawn until dusk. (More than once, I’ve wondered if I might be slightly manic-depressive.) The usual result of that whirlwind is that I’m exhausted the next day and feel like I spent my whole previous day doing things I didn’t want to do but “had” to do.

This list has helped me balance my 2 extremes out. After work or church, I look at my To-Do List and find 1 thing that I can (and want) to do. Some of them are small things like organizing the shoes in the closet by our front door. Or writing a letter to our Compassion child. Or finishing the painting that has been sitting in our living room unfinished since last Thanksgiving. Some of them are big things like painting our bedroom. Or writing and mailing our Christmas cards. Or transferring my 401(k) funds to my Roth IRA (ugh).

After I finish the task, I go scratch it off my list. If I feel like doing something else on my list, great. But if not, I have accomplished my goal of doing 1 productive thing. And then I have the rest of the day to spend as I wish. I CAN have both work and rest in the same day!

This past weekend, I succeeded at this. On Friday night, I wrote a letter to our Compassion child. On Saturday, I finished the painting in our living room (only took me a whole year!). Yesterday, I sorted out the enormous stack of magazines I had collected, ripping out articles I wanted to keep and recycling the rest.

Third, this list has helped me get things done that I want to get done without having to really rack my brain to remember what they were. When I have some free time, I can use it effectively instead of walking from room to room trying to think of something to do or just wasting the time by watching TV. I have been convicted lately that watching an inordinate amount of TV like I had been doing is just a huge waste of life. I feel just as relaxed when I read a book but I feel way more productive and more educated from reading. So I’m trying to only watch TV with Travis or when there’s really something good on (like Thursday nights with Bones and The Office).

So what’s on the docket for today? Scheduling dentist appointments. (Boo.)

The 9 to 5

1 Oct

I guess it’s more like 8:30 to 5:00 with my now-mandatory lunch break (poo on the mandatory lunch break!! I have so much work to do during the day that I don’t like taking lunches. I don’t like taking walks. I don’t like sitting outside because it’s either a) too hot, b) too cold, or c) there’s nowhere comfy/quiet/isolated to sit.) But alas, I have to take a lunch break (because I’m not going to lie about it).

Some days I do the crossword. Some days I¬†read a book. Some days I¬†check email and blog. That day is today. And I figured that I might as well write about work since¬†I’m here and it’s what is bothering me.

You know what my¬†problem is? I get way too easily sidetracked. When I see an email pop up on my screen or I see that little envelope/mail icon at the bottom right¬†of my toolbar, it is all I can do to NOT check my email right at that moment. That’s why it’s so hard to take a lunch break at my desk.¬†I¬†usually end up working on my break still because of those darn emails!!

Add to that, I usually have about 5 different projects¬†going on at¬†any given time,¬†all of which have their own¬† emails flying back and forth across cyberspace. Then I have all these little random things come up, like¬†“Can you send me this file?” or “How much did we¬†pay for this last year?”

It’s¬†a good thing that I am the queen of multi-tasking or this job would¬†drive me NUTSO! Honestly…And things lately have been¬†a little more chaotic than usual because of¬†the upcoming release of GOSPEL Journey Maui.¬†It has been a huge project–very¬†worth it but very time-consuming all the same. Then there are¬†all the materials for our next conference, Invincible,¬†starting in¬†November so we’ve been cranking away at getting the Student Notebook sent to print (hopefully by¬†tomorrow morning!!) Then I’ve been doing a lot more¬†graphic design than before, tweaking this ad, creating that ad, mocking up¬†other ads to¬†send to the pros for real design. ūüôā

Anyway, that’s my work world right now. And then my¬†boss thinks that she’s leaving on October¬†10th. I¬†joke that the ministry is going to get pulled into the black hole of her absence. Honestly, she knows so much about everything around¬†here that it would take just as long to teach anyone else what she knows as it did for her to learn all of it (which was about 6 years).

Anyway, I know that, for my sanity, I need to be better about sticking to one project and getting it done before moving on. Because I flutter around from thing to thing like a hummingbird and I feel like I’m spending more time remembering what I was doing before than spending time doing what I’m doing now.

And now I have too many thoughts in my head so I’m going to go back to work.