Monday, September 12, 2016

Seasons of Busyness

Seasons of Busyness

This past year was the YEAR OF WAY TOO BUSY! I started this school year with three part time jobs and two extra children (not to mention Orchestra, Band & Choir, Speech Club, Co-op, Bible Study and AWANA).   I woke up tired and went to bed even more tired. We were getting hardly ANY school work done; and I knew I could not keep up this pace for too long, but wasn’t sure what would have to give. It is so easy to say yes to everything before we have counted the cost. If you find yourself on this same end of crazy, I hope you are looking for ways to get out of some of your commitments or to slow down, but here are some tips to get through it.
— Organization is KEY: Developing a plan is essential to keeping your head on your shoulders during a busy season.   This will look different for different families, but calendars, meal planning, budgets, cleaning schedules and lesson plans can be included in this category. The more time I spent in this category, the better things went for me. ESPECIALLY with meal planning. If dinner is taken care of, ALL IS WELL!   Have you heard about the Bullet Journal method? This is a system that I am just beginning to implement. I am a pen and paper girl trapped in a digital world. I LOVE this system. I’ll let you know how it goes.

–Focus is VITAL: Keeping the important things in their proper place is so very important. We get trapped in putting out the fires of the urgent while the important slips by. Why answer the phone in the middle of a conversation with your teenager? That phone ringing is grabbing our attention away from a conversation that could turn into something that could never be recreated. I have a precious friend who has created a beautiful little book to help us keep these first things FIRST…I will talk more about it next month, but it is a sweet little book that I highly recommend. You can find This Beautiful Life here. This wonderful tool helps me keep focused on those things I want to intentionally keep front and center.
–Simplifying Life is ESSENTIAL: This is not the time to make things more difficult than they are. When I was at the busiest in this season, I was making things as easy as possible. Easy meals, easy cleaning schedule, easy lesson plans (If you could really call them that…school consisted of all the extra things. Co-op, Band, Choir, Speech, Home Ec). This was not the time to introduce Latin, sew everyone’s clothing and cook gourmet, multi-course meals. The crock pot was my best friend, with freezer meals a close second.This was one of my favorite meals in this season.
–Teamwork is IMPERATIVE: I cannot stress enough what a blessing my family has been to me in this season of busyness. They have, of course, ALWAYS been a blessing, but when the pressure is applied, you find out the stuff you are all made of. My family really came together and were exceedingly helpful doing chores, meal prep, holding babies, and just really taking care of all the things that needed getting done. One of our favorite methods for getting things accomplished is the Job Jar. Many hands make light work!
–Clearing the Calendar is CRUCIAL: I know I cannot keep up this pace forever, and have already taken steps to slow things down a bit. I have quit one job, and the hours on another job have cut back significantly. We are evaluating our out-of-the-house activities to see if there are any that do not make the cut for next year. Some of these decisions may be very difficult to make, but insanity is ugly and I am closer to it than I want to admit. I see the light at the end of the tunnel though as some things are coming to an end. School books have been dusted off and are being cracked open and the lesson plans are singing with completed work being checked off. Now that we have a driver in the house, I am able to have that child run errands and be the taxi a little more, so that I can be home attending to things only I can do. I know that you cannot get rid of everything and you may need to continue in a season of busyness longer than I have done so far, this too, will look different for each family. Prayerfully consider the things that remain on the calendar and see if they align with the goals you have for your family. So many things look good, are beneficial, but do not accomplish what you desire.
–Taking Care of You is REQUIRED: Seasons of busyness are sometimes unavoidable. If you find yourself in one, try to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat as healthy as possible, try to exercise at least a little, do something to pour into yourself. Living off energy drinks and four hours of sleep a night will not be a sustainable lifestyle for very long. You need true energy and stamina to get through this season.
Hopefully, all these tips will help you get through your season of busyness too!

(*This was written ALMOST 2 years ago and it is not at all lost on me that I could say the very same thing past school year as this year that I was writing about!  I am planning on taking my own advice this year!  Keep me to it, OK?)

Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics