The Game Plan

Every year I tell myself the same thing: “this will be the year I get organized, get caught up, do things the right way.” And every year life catches up with me, and I put less of a priority on doing things the “right” way and settle for doing what has to get done to get by. This year, though, I’m determined to actually get on track.

So what’s different this year? Well, aside from the fact that I’m getting thoroughly frustrated and annoyed with myself for not being organized in the past, I really want to get myself in a position where it’s no longer an issue. I don’t want to stress and worry about being organized, about losing or forgetting important things, about scrambling to get things done before they’re due. I want to spend my time on those things that are important to me, not on annoying “catch up” tasks that have built up because I put things off. This year I really am going to get organized, get caught up.

I have a picture in my mind of how my house and life could look if I just got things organized. I know where and how I want things. I know how I want to live my daily life. Though getting there has continually posed a challenge, I’ve put a plan into place that should make it happen — as long as I can stay focused and motivated. I’ve touched on it a little bit so far, mentioning my cleaning and purging projects, but I’ve never gone into much detail. Here is the plan I made for myself at the beginning of the year:

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Step 1: Use up and purge. I have to get rid of the clutter, both physically and mentally. The plan is to go through my house room by room, cabinet by cabinet, drawer by drawer, box by box. I have to get rid of the things we’re not using, find a way to use the usable stuff, and clean and organize what’s left behind. Garbage will get thrown away, food will get eaten, miscellaneous items will get put aside for a tag sale. In the spring we’ll have a big tag sale and hopefully sell it all off. Whatever doesn’t sell will get donated or discarded.

Step 2: Organize. The items that are left will need to be set up in a way that encourages use. Project supplies will be put together so the projects can be tackled when time allows. Items that often end up all over the house will find new homes, stored in a way that makes clean-up easy. Supplies that are often forgotten will be made more visible, more accessible. Inventory will be taken to determine what we actually need.

Step 3: Clean. While organizing and after organizing is complete, a deep clean will be done to clear up dust, dander, and debris.

Step 4: Progress. Once a clean slate is achieved, it’s time to tackle projects and move forward in my many personal and professional goals. That’s when the real fun begins!

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I’ve been working on the using up and purging, with some of the organizing mixed in as I go. I’ve been somewhat successful, though I have a long way to go. Staying motivated has been a bit of a challenge, as I want to skip ahead to step 4 time and again. But I’m really trying to stay focused. I’m sneaking in a little “step 4” time here and there as I’m able to, to satisfy myself a bit and keep myself from going completely off the plan, but overall I’m trying to work on the clearing up. It hasn’t been easy.

Fortunately, sleep has been a bit easier lately, and I’ve had small pockets of time pop up on occasion that have allowed me to take care of little tasks. I feel like I’m actually making progress. If I can stick to the plan, I know I’ll feel better. Then perhaps I won’t live in a constant state of stress, pressure, and frustration. I’m hoping, anyway! As with everything, it’s a goal — and a work in progress.

To Stress or Not to Stress

Stress has become my ever-present companion lately. Finances have definitely played a part, but added to money woes are more behavioral issues from Avery (especially by way of talking back and arguing about everything), a continuing lack of sleep (made worse by both kids being sick at the same time), and an ongoing frustration that I’m falling behind.

I had hoped to have my business paperwork done by now, but once again I found my prime productivity time eaten up by required sleep. Both Avery and Emily were sick, and as such woke up multiple times a night. Once they started sleeping better, Oliver started up with his nighttime whining. Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a great night sleep in quite some time. That means I’ve needed to go to bed earlier, which means I haven’t made nearly as much headway on my tasks as I would like. I know sleep is more important, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.

I was able to sneak in a little (very little) research about blogging for others, but I didn’t get too far. And I’m concerned that if I can’t even find the time to research I won’t be able to actually do any work. That means I’m worrying again about paying bills, which is never fun. So far we’re squeaking by, but the next couple of months are going to be particularly tough. And I honestly don’t know what to do about it.

Avery’s attitude lately hasn’t helped matters. He seems fine at school and with Nana, but as soon as he’s home it’s back to arguing about everything (even things that really don’t matter for anything, even to him), talking back, a general bad attitude, and not listening when I tell him to do or not to do something. It’s been going on far too long, and nothing seems to be helping. I’m hoping it’s a phase, but even if it is, I’m getting tired of it. I know I need to work on my consistency of punishment and reactions, but it’s hard.

Despite all these stressors, I’m trying to stay positive. I’m taking a lot of deep breaths these days (and popping quite a few Tums), and I’m telling myself that it will get better. When I get stressed, I find the best solution for me is to formulate a game plan and put it into effect. If I can tweak the plans I had made, cut myself a little slack, and work on my time management, I can pull through. I know I’ll start sleeping better again soon; I’ve gone through rough patches before. And once I’m sleeping better the rest will start falling into place. I’ll have more patience to deal with Avery’s attitude (and a greater ability to be more consistent in my discipline). I won’t have to go to bed so early, which means more time to get my tasks done. And once I can get the tax paperwork settled, I’ll be able to move forward on my other projects and goals.

I need to stay positive. If I let the stress get to me, I’ll be in much worse shape. So, deep breaths. Lists up the wazoo to help clear my mind. A tweaked game plan. And a little patience, with myself most of all.