Pondering the Craziness

My crazy week has come to an end. I don’t have another event scheduled for a week and a half, so now I can play catch-up on all the housekeeping and other tasks that built up during the craziness (and before). And I have to take care of it now, because once December hits I know I’ll be busy with Christmas preparations, in addition to the 2 vendor events I have scheduled. It is, quite simply, a crazy time of year!

As the year starts winding down, I’m forced to admit that I simply haven’t been able to take care of everything I wanted to this year. Of course I still have a little time, but I know I won’t be able to do everything. Surprise, surprise! Especially since I added things on during the year, with seemingly little concern over if I would actually have time or not. Now I’m forced to decide what I want to take care of first, before the year is truly over. It’s not as if I won’t be able to take care of things next year, but what do I consider a priority?

It’s easy to fill my schedule with tasks in one category — only family stuff, or only business stuff, or only housekeeping stuff. But juggling it all is often a challenge. How can I prioritize tasks in different categories? How do I decide what’s more important? Obviously spending time with my family is top priority, but when do the tasks start becoming less important? For example, I can say that making Avery new story CDs is a low priority, but when he starts asking for them, what do I bump in a different category to find time to make them? I can say that cleaning my house is high priority (and it is, because my house is still a mess), but to find time I would have to push business tasks down the list. And business tasks could bring in money — isn’t that more important than cleaning, considering our tight budget?

While I may have more projects and tasks than a typical household, I know the challenge is a common one. Tasks compete for your attention, and time and energy just never seem to last long enough. What goes first? What goes last (and likely gets bumped completely)? We want to spend time with our kids, and make them feel loved, but how independent can they be sometimes so we can take care of the house? How early do I have to wake up, or how late do I have to stay up, to take care of the to do list — all while making sure I get enough sleep to survive and actually function the next day, when it starts all over again? How long can the craziness last before I become the craziness? And how can I get it all to work so everything gets done without my feeling like I’m on a hamster wheel, getting nowhere, barely surviving?

The questions aren’t easy, and some don’t have straightforward answers. The only way I’ve been able to tackle them is by thinking of everything I want to get done, and scheduling it out in my planner. Often the planner needs to be adjusted (that’s why I use pencil!), and sometimes I completely ignore it in lieu of something more pressing, but at least it helps keep me sane. Having my schedule shows me that in a perfect world, if nothing had to get adjusted, I could get it all done. It gives me hope, while also getting most of the chaos out of my head and onto paper, where I can see it more logically and rationally. It’s always a work in progress, but I’m trying. And in an imperfect world, I suppose that’s the best I can do.

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