Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Room To Breathe

You know how things get cluttered up around you and you feel like the walls are closing in? And then you clean things out and once again you feel as though you have room to breathe?

Well, closets aren't the only area that can get cluttered! During this first month of the new year, I've discovered a few changes that are helping to make my days run a bit more smoothly and giving me a little room to breathe.

  • Daily schedule. On New Year's Day, I quickly scrawled a new basic daily schedule on some scrap paper while at a friend's house watching a football game. Bright and early the next morning, I began to implement it. It's been 4 weeks now and I'm still following it and have experienced tremendous freedom from such a simple plan. On a typical day, I can get the basic household stuff accomplished without feeling like I'm letting everything else go. In a nutshell, what I'm doing is focusing on what needs to be done rather on all that could be done.
  • Rest. I've established a daily rest time for myself. If I worked at a 'real job' outside the home, I would get a lunch break. What I do is set aside 30 minutes once the littles are down for naps and I've cleaned up the lunch and breakfast dishes. I set the timer so I don't oversleep and then settle in on the couch and close my eyes. Sometimes I doze off, sometimes not. When the timer dings, I get up and go on to the next thing. Some may like to read, use the computer or craft during this time. That is certainly fine although I've found that I really need the complete mental break. My husband has noticed the difference this short break has made on my mental/emotional state and energy level for the rest of the afternoon. I am an introvert and the quiet time does wonders for me! God created rest and we would do well to make time to pause during our busy days. 
  • Computer time. I've cut way back on the time I spend at the computer. It's amazing how much more productive I can be! And I'm much more focused on what I'm doing online when I set limits on my computer time. I've reduced the number of blogs I read daily--down to 10-15 of my very favorites--and then I catch up on others when I have time here and there. My mind feels less cluttered-- a very positive thing! Blogs, emails and Facebook will still be there when I get to my computer time for the day--they aren't going anywhere!
  • Delegating. This is something new I'm having to learn. I've never been a good delegator. It's easier for me to do things myself than ask someone else to do it! But it's necessary, especially for this season. One reason is that I simply cannot do it all. Another is that I don't want to do it all--I want to be able to sit down in the evenings sometimes and watch TV or do something fun and not be working all the time. My husband is completely on board with this and is more than happy to help out when he knows what needs to be done. He's been doing most of the grocery shopping for me (I make the lists). We've also moved cleaning chores to every evening right after the kids I babysit leave for the day. We set aside 30 minutes to do some daily chores(sweeping/vacuuming, etc.) plus clean one room each day and then work together on it. With both of us working quickly--we set the timer to keep us on track--we're usually done in about 15 minutes.
  • Outside/extra activities. I hate saying 'no' to people. But even more than that, I hate saying 'yes' and immediately wishing I'd said 'no'. I've been saying 'no' more lately and so far it hasn't killed me. Instead, it's given me the license to spend time on what I truly believe is best. I'm not saying that I shouldn't ever do anything extra or do things that I don't want to do as there certainly is a time and place for that. But just because something is a good thing or a great cause, doesn't mean that I absolutely need to be involved. Asking God what He wants and listening to the Holy Spirit is key to balance in this area.
 I've found that these simple things are really helping me and hope it's helpful in some way to you as well!


    North of Wiarton & South of the Checkerboard said...

    Wow you sound like you have found what works for you, Mary Ann. Nice ! It is difficult to say "no" sometimes, but it is something I have had to learn to do myself, still not finding it easy at times. Not all the time, but there are times we need to do what is best for us. Good day to you, Mary Ann.

    Anonymous said...

    Room to breathe! Sounds so refreshing! You certainly are disciplined, Mary Ann, and I envy that. I sorely lack discipline and organizational skills. Once again wishing you were my real life neighbor....

    About taking a rest during the day, I am a big believer in that. Sometimes just lying still and closing my eyes for 20 minutes is like a power nap.

    I enjoyed reading everything you shared in today's post!

    Lyn said...

    I am of the same mindset this year too. Life is just more enjoyable when it's not so rushed, complicated, or cluttered. You have made some great strides to make your life easier and more enjoyable. Good for you!

    Eileen said...

    What a great post! Gives me some things to think about.