Disorganized

I am the least organized person I know.

I like things to be neat and organized and tidy and simple, but when I try to make them that way myself … chaos ensues.

(Curiously enough, when I was department manager at the hardware store, I did NOT have that problem. I ran one dept and assisted with two others, and kept all of them in STUNNINGLY organized condition, better than almost any of the others in the entire store. Which is odd. And the only time/place in my life where that has happened.)

Yesterday was my birthday, and my husband cleaned the kitchen for me after dinner. Except he didn’t just clean, he tidied and organized and threw things away and rearranged other things and picked up items that had been on the counters for so long I’d stopped even seeing them, and at the end of the night, I stood there thinking, “huh. I could have done any of this at any time, but it never even occurred to me. Why not?”

Part of my problem is that I’m scatter-brained. Just ask anyone who knows me. My parents used to joke that they always knew how I’d spent my day by following the trail of shoes, books, and teacups through the house. I just never even noticed I was leaving them behind! It’s even worse when I’m cleaning – I hop from one thing to another to another without ever finishing any task, ending the day by feeling exhausted and accomplishing nothing. I am really bad at time-management – I have a beautifully written schedule pinned on my fridge, and I never, ever manage to follow it. (In my defense, we haven’t had one week since October where all four of us have been healthy. It’s been a sick, sick winter, which makes it nearly impossible to stick to any kind of a schedule.) I always have marvelous, and even reasonable goals, and then I get derailed almost immediately.

Part of the problem is that there’s just SO MUCH that I want/need to be doing. Keep the house clean and running smoothly. Raise the kids. Teach the kids. Write. Self-publish. Sew. Cook all the meals (from scratch). Skate. Learn to draw so I can teach the kids. Study. Along with raising and teaching the kids, train them to become independent adults. LAUNDRY. And oh yeah, have a relationship with my husband and try to make time for friends as well. Not to mention make sure I get that bit of alone time each week so necessary for my introverted soul.

I know a lot of people manage to juggle all those things effortlessly. I’m still figuring it out, and dropping almost ALL the balls constantly in the process. I think I spend more time picking the balls off the ground than I do tossing them through the air!

Add to all that the very deep desire to NOT live a mundane life, to do more than just muddle along. One of my deepest fears is that when I die, what’s going on my tombstone is “Well, at least she tried.” This life is so short, so precious, I don’t want to spend it flustered and frustrated and frittering it away! I want to really live, to taste every moment. No, I’m not buying into the lie that says “you have to enjoy every minute of while your kids are small/while you are young/while whatever it is the speaker currently wants you to feel guilty about not savoring.” I’ve fallen down that pit before, and I won’t go back.

But neither do I want to, as I mentioned before, spend my life just muddling along, half-heartedly attempting many things without really enjoying or living anything.

So, any advice for this scatter-brained, introverted, disorganized, mummy-wife-and-mother-and-writer on how to stop wasting my time, and start making the most of my days?

Have at it in the comments!

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20 thoughts on “Disorganized

  1. My dear, a few questions about your bee-yew-tiful schedule on the fridge, first: how small/large are the time chunks divvied into, and what is the rough trajectory of your day? (e.g. do you teach in the morning, go outside in the afternoon, have particular times of day when the girls need you most or when you prefer to write? etc)Secondly, none of the things you describe are wastes of time, even if they feel that way. (Your lament also reminds me of my most goal-oriented mama friends, who definitely struggle more with mamahood since its goals are long-term and less concrete than, say, office work). Thirdly, I have seen the fruit of some of your commitment to projects and people (very special and personal gifts/ birthday parties, handmade quilts, 2 very loving and clever girls, a good marriage, and oh yes BOOKS BY YOU). Sometimes it's harder to see clearly our accomplishments. <3 I'd love to chat with you sometime next week about this and the rest of LIFE. :)

  2. It's hard to not just muddle through. I think it's harder when you're at home all the time staying with little. Wait, scratch that. I felt like I was muddling through all the days before I had a kid too. I guess the thing is to try and make the most of every day and make the most of where God has us in our lives, giving thanks in all circumstances but not necessarily for all circumstances.As to the paralysis that occurs when a household is plagued with sickness… I understand. The past six weeks have included more sickness than health in our household, and at times it's all I can do to just keep up with L and do the basic things around the house. Now that the weather is nice again, we're trying to get outside more, because it makes us feel better and motivates me more inside the house as well.I so wish we lived closer to commiserate together, although I would be drinking a Coke rather than tea! :)

  3. Thanks, Krista! I think my problem tends to lie in another direction than the ones mentioned there – I get bored with cleaning and organizing, my mind starts to drift, and then boom, I'm in the middle of something else.Which might explain why I was able to be more organized at work, actually. That was interesting, and unless one of my coworkers got ambitious and re-did my work, it STAYED organized. And I got paid for it. Not of which happens with an organized personal/home life!

  4. Ooh yes, it's been way too long since we've had a phone (or Skype) chat.As regards my schedule, the chunks of time vary depending on what we're doing. I allow a huge gap of time for breakfast, since the girls' getting-up time varies on the day, and only try to plan on having breakfast done by nine. Then an hour for getting dressed and morning chores, then we can either play or read or start school early, as long as we're doing school by 11. And yeah, afternoon is definitely our freer time. As for writing, I've finally had to accept that except for rare occasions, it's not going to happen until after the girls are in bed, or on weekends.And while all of my daily activities that I mentioned here are valid, the problem for me is that they get so overwhelming (and BORING, like I mentioned to Krista above), that, to be perfectly honest, I usually spend half of my day frittering away either on the internet or buried in a fluffy book, just to avoid thinking or acting. Shameful, but true.

  5. We just got hit with another cold streak ("HEY," Joy said indignantly yesterday, "Why is there snow in the air when it's supposed to be almost spring?"), so we are impatiently waiting for it to warm back up enough for us to spend more time outside. We used the tricycles once and then they promptly got snowed on and had to go back down in the basement.I wish scientists would stop bothering about mundane things like the God particle (pfff) and get on inventing a safe personal site-to-site transporter. Would make getting together with long-distance friends SO much easier!

  6. You ARE my most Kindred Spirit! I am the exact same way, even down to the Don't-Have-That-Problem-at-Work bit (yes, I'm a librarian! I like sorting things! But yes, the rest of my life is pure disorganization). And you even seem more on top of things than I am, to me! I am so, so behind on everything and I'm not even sure WHY.

  7. I think I must accidentally present myself on more on top of things than I really am – either that, or it's human nature to ALWAYS think everyone is more together than we are. Most of the time I'm just flailing about aimlessly, considering myself lucky if I manage to get ONE thing accomplished during the day. And then I chastise myself because, gosh, I'm at home all day, why can't I at least manage the basics?Sigh. With spring comes hope for improvement. Thus I tell myself every year. And, of course, we're moving this summer, which is a chance for a fresh start and establishing better habits. Right? RIGHT?

  8. I'm always agog by your homeschooling, AND actually managing to write things. I do work outside the home, even if it's just part-time, and I guess that does make a dent in my time, too. But anyway, it occurred to me that I actually just Like your PAGE on Facebook as opposed to us being "Friends," therefore you wouldn't have seen this extremely appropriate article I just shared from a friend there just yesterday: http://www.stevewiens.com/2013/03/12/to-parents-of-small-children-let-me-be-the-one-who-says-it-out-loud/

  9. Maybe just focus on one area at a time? Once you've conquered it and it's a habit, move to the next?Blogging alone has taught me to be more organized. No way I could keep up with everything online if I wasn't!

  10. I have no advice to offer as I'm just a male version of you, supposed to be a househusband but I'm terrible at it! I also lose things constantly, like driving licenses, then we need them and I have to spend hours/days looking. (That's today's dilemma.) You should try to savour great achievements, though, without thinking about everything else that still needs done. I'm working on that!

  11. I'm the same and find many techniques and tricks work, but only for a while, once my mind catches on it finds ways around them. I currently use a list method – but I'm only allowed to add three things each day. Just three (really hard to keep to!). I must finish the list and then I can do any tasks I want, so if I waste the rest of the day, I've at least accomplished three things.Good luck!

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