Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Getting Things Done



Each day is so much work at staying afloat that I often feel very overwhelmed. So overwhelmed, in fact, that some days all I can do is sit there not doing anything. I often feel like Goldie Hawn's character in the movie Overboard, the part where she is sitting on the couch after her first day of being alone with the four boys, and she is staring off into space while they throw grapes at her, saying, "bah, bah, bah," over and over again.

The thing that leaves me feeling overwhelmed is usually just thinking of all the things I need to or want to do each day. When I sit down and make a list, sometimes I get so discouraged looking at the length of it that my body seems to shut down and I can't seem to do anything at all!

Now, I have a small defect in my personality, and that is being a perfectionist. More like an idealistic perfectionist, where I want things to meet up to my expectations of how I think things should be and if they fall short, I beat myself up about it.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about. I want to really get down and spend good quality time with my kids. I think my family spends way too much time in front of the television or computer and we should spend more quality time together. My sister-in-law gave me a book called The Preschooler's Busy Book. I've looked at it and some of the ideas are great! However, the majority of suggested activities require certain supplies, which I don't already have on hand and would need to collect. I compile a list of what I need, based on the suggestions in the book, and realize how much money I would need to spend to get these items together. Since I'm one who can't seem to start a project without having everything in order first, doing the activities that I have supplies for and gathering the rest of the supplies as I go is simply not an option for me. No matter how hard I try to break away from that tendency, I am never successful.

My list includes things like going through toys and "organizing" them (freecycling what I don't want and better organizing the rest into plastic bins), finding a better system for storing and cycling clothes that are off-season or too big/too small for the kids, cleaning out my dresser of clothes I will not likely wear again or clothes that are off-season, starting a filing system for the visual aids and activities we've made for our primary class that could be used for Family Home Evening, making behavior charts and chore charts for the kids, going through food storage and better planning each week's shopping list. The list goes on and on to include more worthwhile free time pursuits, like reading good books, exercising, and writing or scrapbooking, or doing a better job at keeping our side of the house clean.

Whenever my husband is home from work and doesn't have homework to do, he asks me if there's anything that can be done. Honey, there's always something that can be done! Always something more worthwhile to do than watch TV or frequent blogs and other websites (my weakness!). I think I need to come up with some sort of schedule to control how I spend my time. It's just very difficult for me to even be motivated to do it, even though I stress out about not doing it. Like I said, I have high expectations for myself and am constantly beating myself up for not meeting them.



5 comments:

Devin & Ruthann said...

I know exactly what you mean. I think especially since I have become a stay at home mom I have a hard time feeling like I accomplished all I think I should have at then end of the day. I have tried making schedules to manage how I use my time to make sure everything gets done, but when there are kids involved, I have learned that no schedule is ever permanent; they get changed and I feel it's almost no use trying to stick to it! I don't feel like I waste time, but I just don't know if I use it the best way I should...

royalbird said...

It's hard to feel a sense of accomplishment when the whole process of raising kids takes years. Add to my stress the fact that now there is a rice shortage, and I realize that we haven't been working on our food storage since moving to Mesa and now I'm stressing out about that too! There's always something...

Lindsey said...

I know how you feel. There's always more to be done than time allows in the day. Also, when I actually am getting something done, I'm being interrupted at least every five minutes by kid needs. And I wonder why I'm so scatterbrained!

TSS said...

Sounds like quite a to-do list. You can simplify your organizing pretty easily though. If you label or color-code those bins, it makes it a ton easier. Good luck!

Allison said...

Don't we all feel like this some times? There is always work to be done, mostly because as soon as you finish the job that you have been working on all afternoon, there is some other mess that was created during your mental absence. Or better yet, with things like laundry or dishes, once they are done, you are just about ready to start on the next round. And this kind of monotony can be extremely frustrating. Although making a list of all the things you would like to get done is helpful, as it helps map out the tasks at hand, I think that it can do more harm than good, like you mentioned, creating a situation so overwhelming that in the end nothing gets accomplished, and even fosters an attitude of "why even try?" Although I have been guilty of this trap in my life, I do find that I feel so much better when I get even one thing done during the day as opposed to the given up slump on the couch all day.

One thing that might be helpful in avoiding this pitfall is to consider that mega list more of a master list of things over all that could be done. And then when you get up in the morning, pick two or three at the most that you would like to get done in the day. Focus on getting those few things done, and when you do, let yourself appreciate the success of the moment! If by some miracle you are able to accomplish all three and you still have daylight and energy, you can go back to your master list and pick another. But on the other hand, if you are only able to accomplish one out of the two or three, don't beat yourself up, just put that missed one on the top of the list the next day.

As moms, we do not help ourselves at all by trying to do more than we are able, but I also think that we also don't help ourselves by just giving up because we can't do it all.

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