From stressed to best

When I was in school I was habitually unorganized. My backpack was full of crumpled papers and bits of food. When assignments were due I pretended to search for said homework, knowing I had lost it and had only partially completed it. High school was a little better after transferring to a very strict school with high organizational standards. College was one step closer to organization after taking ownership of my habits and success, but when I really became organized was after having kids. With my first the daycare we used didn’t feed the children and we were responsible for bringing food for our own children. Small containers with pureed or bite sized food had to be made the night before and portions of our meals saved for the day care lunches and snacks. We used cloth diapers so when I was irresponsible or lazy and didn’t empty the daycare bag I was greeted by day old (or worse) poopy diapers. Eighteen months later we had our second child and moved when she was just three weeks old into a house that we were excited to fix up. If anything was going to get done it was either during the hour nap or with a baby in a hiking pack. Just a few months after moving my son stopped taking naps, further complicating any productivity. Two months shy of my daughter’s second birthday I gave birth to twins. Now more than ever if anything is going to get done it has to be planned and organized. I need to see projects getting done and lists being checked off for personal sanity so this planning is crucial for my mental health. It’s not driven by a need to impress but a need to feel free and like my self. which ironically is not organized. I plan the year, the month, the week and the day.

  1. The year is planned on our anniversary and we think about five categories. I really love this one because my husband and I really open up and think and connect. I think he slightly dreads it but enjoys it in the end. I look forward to it for weeks and look back once a month at what we wrote. Theses are a few OK most of our goals for the year.
    • Financial goals (put so much money toward mortgage or savings)
    • Relational goals (in home date night once a week. Go out once a month)
    • Fun goals (Visit a national park)
    • General personal or career goals (write everyday, work on research)
    • Physical goals (Go on weekly family walks)
    • Spiritual goals ( read a book I’ve been trying to finish)
  2. The month is planned by trying to align my monthly plan with my yearly plan. The most important thing is not to overwhelm myself. I give each month one thing I’m working on or one thing we (Johann is working on) Last month we (Johann) built a climbing wall and I watched and took care of the children and offered enthusiasm. Each month I make a list of meals for the month (based on what is in in the house) which includes eating left overs every three days and shop for the ingredients. The goal is to go to the store once a month eating vegetable that spoil quickly first and the ones that last toward the end of the month. (asparagus, squash, then carrots, and brussle spouts) That’s the plan, it never actually works out but in theory it would, and I no longer go to the store multiple times a week like I did without kids, or with just the one kid. This is an example one of our monthly plans.
    • Go on weekly walk. Four locations for walks are listed.
    • Build a climbing wall
    • Write
    • Weekly in house date (card game, sit and look at stars with wine, exercise together, movie night)
    • Put $___ toward mortgage. Put $___ in savings
    • Read a little
  3. The week is planned vaguely with five meals for the week
    • walk at the lake
    • play cards
    • write so many words
    • put the plywood on the climbing wall
    • Read 10 pages
  4. The day is more specific with no more than three goals a day. and the proposed meal for the day
    • Walk
    • laundry
    • pizza

I couldn’t get anything done or have a moment to think without this system. I didn’t need anything like this pre-kids but would have been so productive with just a tenth of the organization. I was stressed, embarrassed and my thoughts felt just as disorganized as my life. I am still a free spirit and don’t hold myself to these goals stringently but when things are going crazy i need a plan. Even with four little kids I have a better idea of where I’m going and what I want to achieve. Perhaps is age, perhaps it’s a little planning.

One thought on “From stressed to best

  1. It’s a high accomplishment of self-awareness to realize that organization is not necessarily innate. Good for you on creating a system that works for you. It helps to have a partner who believes in the merits of a collaborative system. Here’s to happy healthy babies because they have happy healthy parents.


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