Friday, September 4, 2009

From Start to Finish

I woke up today, and before ever getting out of bed, realized that there were about a million things I could possibly do today. I also realized that I had absolutely no plan. I think because I have so many open items on my list of things to do, lately I've been getting to the end of the day feeling as though I've done nothing. I know I've been busy doing something for almost every waking minute, but if I were to try to articulate where my time had gone, my explanation is most unimpressive. And at the end of each day, there is still a list that feels like it's a mile long of things yet to be done.

This morning, I decided to try something. I thought, If I am going to get to the end of my day and wonder if I've even done anything, I should at least be able to give myself an answer. So, I grabbed a fresh, never-been-used spiral notebook and a pen, and began. I jotted down everything I did today, just to see what my day actually entails. I realized a few things very quickly... 1) I get interrupted a lot, which pulls me off task, or gets me distracted... this is part of being a mom I think, but it's also a weakness of mine; 2) I do a lot of things automatically without even giving them a second thought. In the end, this was a fun, eye-opening exercise. I think what I liked the most about it, though, was that it shifted my perspective to what I WAS doing rather than what was still left to be done. That little shift can make all the difference in a day!

So, if you're interested, here are the results:

  • I woke up, started my day off with a good-morning prayer, which quickly got interrupted by Isaac & Meagan, who were fighting about who-knows-what. I helped them regain peace & composure, then got out of bed.
  • Headed downstairs, quickly checked emails & CT forums. I did a quick post on Facebook, then, determined NOT to waste my day on the computer, I moved on.
  • Next was breakfast. The kids and I talked about the day while I made a general to-do list & picked a few things to try to focus on. After breakfast I took a few minutes to flip through a new magazine.
  • On to bath time. Ran bath water for Meg & plopped her in for a good long soak. While she was decontaminating, I sorted kids' clothes and started the 1st load of laundry for the day. At one point during laundry, I had to stop and smile, as Meagan was humming Zippity doo dah. Love that. After getting laundry rolling, I scrubbed Meg, got her out of the tub & dried off. Added some fresh water to the tub for Isaac's turn. Then, another switch, as Isaac got out & Sebastian got in (since I don't have to do much for them during bath time anymore, I took that time to comb & dry Meagan's hair...always an experience).
  • On to the kids' rooms. I sorted through Meagan's mess, putting it into piles for her to clean up. Then did the same for the boys.
  • Next, helped Meg vacuum her bedroom.
  • Switch laundry, start a new load (stopping mid-stream to get Sebastian a band-aid to cover a puncture wound on his palm from one of his toys).
  • After giving the boys some encouragement on finishing their room, I started my own shower water. While I waited for the water to get hot, I straightened up the bathroom. Hurried through the shower, and short-cut the hair & make-up... it was time for lunch by then.
  • Lucas was already home from work for lunch, so I threw some shoes on, loaded Meg in the van, and we headed to Taco Bell to get lunch. Lunch with the family - lots of laughing... our kids are funny stuff!
  • Quick clean-up of sorts in the kitchen...left most of the mess for later, whenever that might be. Quick check of email and a quick blog post, then off to switch laundry & start the last load of kids' clothes....note by now my pile of things to fold is growing!
  • Throw some socks & shoes on & head outside to start planting some mums we got the other day. First, transplant a few existing plants to make room. Pull weeds. Plant mums (Meagan helped for a while, but lost interest when I wouldn't let her dig wherever she wanted with the big shovel). Brief pause to answer the phone & get a drink, then back to planting (it's 2:00 by this time... and I had made the choice to ignore the laundry for the time being... it could wait, right?)
  • After the mums were in the ground, into the kitchen to do a better job of clean-up - wipe down the table & chairs, sweep, load the dishwasher, clear off recycling. By now, it was snack time - hate to mess up the kitchen I just cleaned, but this is life w/ 3 kids at home I guess.
  • Quick straightening of the downstairs bathroom. Then the living room - more piles of toys in the middle of the floor for the kids to put away.
  • Decided I better run errands before it was too late - back into the van. Then to the bank. Then to Wal-Mart for a few groceries for dinner.
  • Unloaded the groceries while the kids cleaned their things out of the van -- oops, got sidetracked by email & Facebook again (lost about 20 minutes there)
  • Back to unloading groceries, and getting a start on dinner - made homemade pizzas & fresh fruit & veggies.
  • Cleared off recycling (again)
  • Loaded dishwasher (again)
  • Changed laundry to dryer (again)
  • Made our bed while I was up there
  • Waiting for Lucas to get home from work, I took a minute to download some new scrapping supplies to be put to use this evening.
  • Dinner - more funny stuff from the kids.
  • Then clean up (again)

It was then 6:45. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel! Almost done with my stuff for the day. Just another quick shower (to wash off the dirt & grass from planting). Then we got to chill with the kids for a few before getting them ready for bed. They laid down to watch a movie around 8:00, and I officially went off-duty. Plopped my butt in the recliner with my laptop and played.

It was a good day. And even though my to-do list is still a mile long, I have come to the end of this day knowing that I used my time well. It was a good balance of working, playing & talking with the kids, and taking a few breaks here & there. Plus, now I have one very-specifically documented day that I can look back on years from now. It may seem very trivial today, but in 10 years, I know I will cherish being able to peek into this day, near the end of summer break, when my kids were 8, 6, and 4, and see what I did from start to finish.

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