Saturday, 22 March 2014

Balanced Challenge: Day 11: A Few Important Thoughts that Will Transform Your Schedule

In today's challenge, Tricia talks about different issues you can consider and ponder that can alter your schedule, and hopefully make your life more enjoyable and your work more effective! I really liked the suggestions she gave. Here are where my thoughts took me:

1. Take time to ponder where you’re falling short.
At the moment, I'm not having any trouble tackling my housework. There might be a few on-going tasks that get left to the end of my to-do list, but these are usually "I'll do these when I get to them" tasks like cleaning the windowsills or washing our chair-covers, not essential tasks like laundry or cooking. I think I'm doing pretty well in this area of my life.
However, I do find myself getting too wrapped up in housework (even non-essential housework) and pushing my writing to the side. When I was battling morning sickness, I allowed myself to do this, as I just couldn't focus on anything non-essential, but now that my health is a lot better, I'd like to make more of an effort with my writing. I think I need to schedule time each day for writing, and I'm trying to set aside 3-4pm each day for this.
I also need to be more effective with my editing work for The Christian Manifesto. I used to schedule an hour for this as well (at different points in my life this has been at different times: when I was a student, I used to answer emails, etc, between 8-9am, and when we graduated I moved this to directly after lunch, 1-2pm). I need to pick an hour that suits me and stick to it, rather than getting distracted by emails later in the day when I should be writing.

2. Take time to build teamwork in your family.
I'm learning to accept that even if I am a housewife, that doesn't mean that I need to do all the housework. There are some things Simon has always done, like emptying bins, but I'm learning to ask for help in other areas on the occasions where I'm too tired or nauseas to do something. And also to delegate tasks that I just can't manage any more; bending over to sweep the kitchen floor is getting uncomfortable. I need to remember that asking for help doesn't mean that I'm failing in my role as a housewife.

3. Take time to prioritize.
This is definitely something I've been working on a lot lately. Yesterday I even highlighted several items on my to-do list that I know I really want to achieve this weekend, which means the rest can wait until Monday. Prioritising makes life so much more manageable and lists seem a lot less overwhelming. 

4. Take time to praise.
There's always something to praise God for and be thankful for, even if you're having a bad day. Even just starting your prayers by thanking God for one, small thing can make such a difference. 

Right now, I'm thankful that Tricia took the time out of her busy life to write Balanced. I've been really blessed by this book, and I think I read it at the perfect time in my life. I'm sure I'll gain even more wisdom if I come back to read it when I our little one arrives and I'm balancing even more. 

I truly appreciated the concluding chapter of Balanced. Tricia writes:

"Balance isn't the ultimate goal. A quest for balance leads to frustration and exhaustion. I never have a day when I achieve the perfect balance of work, family, God, and friends. It's impossible. There are always interruptions. If we are working with real-life people, we cannot schedule our time as if we were simply sitting at the computer all day."

Honestly, I think I need to write those words on a sheet of paper and stick it to my desk. Balance doesn't mean perfection, and I'd hate to ever view my husband or children as interrupting my life. If anything, they are welcome interruptions. I feel truly blessed that I can work from home, even if it means I don't have a traditional 9-5 schedule. In fact, on nice days like today, being able to leave my desk to hang up the washing outside is definitely a nice distraction, because I get to enjoy the wonderful weather ;) And I definitely don't feel left out because I don't have to put on a suit and sit on a crowded bus for half an hour every morning! 

If you're a work-at-home mum, or you're thinking about becoming one, I definitely recommend Balanced. As a writer, I particularly appreciated Tricia's advice on that topic, and reading this book has encouraged me to get stuck back into my writing after several months of pushing it to the side. I might not have the perfect, efficient schedule for approaching my writing, but I'm determined to try.

This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!

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