"By Failing to Prepare You Are Preparing to Fail" <br> (That Ben Franklin, he knew what he was talking about) | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Thursday, October 01, 2009

"By Failing to Prepare You Are Preparing to Fail"
(That Ben Franklin, he knew what he was talking about)

I tend to live my life on a wing and a prayer. While it's pretty conducive to creativity and all of that, it isn't the greatest way to live. I am a self-proclaimed schedule hater, and prefer to just do everything I need to do on a whim. This includes things like grocery shopping (I never really know what we need and tend to overspend), packing for vacation (I always wait till the very last minute and inevitably forget something), housework (some things are always done, but some things are horribly neglected--out of sight, out of mind), practicing (it usually takes a maestro-staged coup for me to practice in any sort of an organized manner), and lesson-planning (my YW lessons are almost always "prepared" late Saturday night, and sometimes even during Sacrament meeting).

I've been thinking an awful lot about preparation this morning, mostly since I've only been awake for 2 hours and my lack of it is already painfully obvious. Sophia came down to our bedroom this morning at 8:11 wanting breakfast. Four minutes before the girls' school started. Joel and I had both forgotten to set our alarms the night before. Not so surprising for me, but Joel has never once failed to make sure his alarm is set in our entire marriage.

Bria was angry with us and demanded that I buy her her own alarm so she could get up even when we forget. (And I will buy her one.) She despises being late, so her first reaction when Joel got the girls up was to sit on the floor and cry that she would miss art. And be angry at her parents.

After I checked the girls into school 15 minutes late, I came back home and finished getting Sophie ready for preschool. I spent an extra 10 minutes or so trying to find a warm coat for her, as the weather has taken a turn for the very, very cold. And then another several minutes looking for a hat and some mittens. Needless to say, we were late to preschool, too, even though we could have avoided that had I thought about the weather last night.

On a whim, I grabbed my camera on the way out of the door so I could stop and take some autumn pictures after I dropped her off. Well, I parked the car near some particularly beautiful trees, got out and turned on my camera. Instead of taking some beautiful pictures, I sighed because the screen was blinking at me to change the battery pack. Even had I thought to bring my entire camera bag with me, it wouldn't have made a difference because I happened to know for a fact that my other battery was also dead. Because I only ever charge them when my camera tells me to.

So, here I am back at home, waiting for my battery to charge and blogging away about my lack of preparation this morning, and in life in general. To my credit, I have actually been much better about housekeeping and even grocery shopping this last couple months. Like, so much better, that I do laundry, dishes and general tidying every morning before I sit down to blog, and the house is usually clean when we go to bed at night. And Joel and I have been menu-planning. Which is one of the things that has always made shopping difficult for me, since he cooks and I shop. We just have to get together and plan. Works like a charm, and saves a ton of money even without coupons, since I haven't got it together enough quite yet to start with that. Our afternoons, as you saw yesterday, have been crazy but I am prepared for them and everything gets done.

All of these thoughts, though, in the end have led me to consider my spiritual preparation. And I must admit that my lack of focus in general does leak over to this side of my life more than I care to admit. I don't have a set time to study my scriptures, and so I often just plain forget to do it. Getting up late, or not having a real schedule for the morning means that sometimes I forget to pray. And the real kicker is that it all makes me a little less patient and a little more liable to react in ways that aren't exactly Christlike.

General Conference is in two days, and I'm not really as prepared as I ought to be. I am resolved to spend the next couple days thinking of the questions I'd personally like to have answered, and just readying my spirit for the edification. I hope to come up with ways to prepare my children for this important time, and for their own spirituality for life in general.

While I don't know that I am ready to stick to a rigid schedule, I do know that I can simply do more to prepare so that I can be successful in more areas of my life.

I'm tired of failing.


I mentioned that the cold weather has come, and I am (not surprisingly) unprepared in this area, too! I have coats and gloves and hats and scarves for myself, but I do not have a good pair of boots. The only boots I own are black Italian leather with a 4 inch heel. Somehow I do not think these are going to help me at all in 250 inches of snow.

Yesterday I was contacted by a company asking for advertising on my blog. While I usually say no to these people, or ignore them altogether, I decided to do this because if enough people click through my blog and sign up to win a pair of Ugg boots, then I will also get a free pair. And goodness knows I need them.

If you'd like to help me be more prepared, click on this link and follow directions. Or you can click on the picture in my sidebar. You will have to post a picture of the contest on your own blog, but you will be entered into the monthly drawing, and all future monthly drawings for as long as you leave the picture on your site.


  1. It's getting cold here too! I had to pull out a wool coat today!

  2. Me too....to everything :) Thanks for the reminder about prepping for General Conference. I love conference and even thought I should start that prep this whole week. Totally forgot about it until you mentioned it just now. Thanks for the inspiration. I needed some this AM. Back to work!

  3. Oh man -- you need those boots! I am so sorry it's so cold and you had a lousy day. I loved your parallel though!

  4. I totally get the schedule hating, creativity conducive, struggle to be prepared state of mind. I'm also lds, majored in vocal performance & Ped, love opera,art, photography, etc. You and I have lots in common, I think. But I'm a mom of 3 boys.
    I stumbled across your blog via "mormon moms who blog". Very enjoyable.

  5. You must have been describing me, Lara!

  6. I think I will start thinking about questions I would like to have answered too.

    And I'll click over right now!

  7. i find that if i am disorganized/unplanned in one aspect of my life, it easily falls into other aspects of my life.

    i need to get some questions prepared for conference. i don't know why i've never thought of INTENTIONALLY doing that before.

  8. I'm sorry your day didn't start out the greatest. But I thank you for your reminder to me about being prepared. Most will agree that if we are unprepared in one are of our lives we are unprepared in others. And unpreparedness does catch up to you, as you have experienced today. Your day can only get better right? :) Try to make it a good one! I want those boots too!

  9. I can totally relate to your entire post on all counts! Thanks for letting me know I wasn't alone! Hugs for you sistah!

  10. I loved this post! YOu can see some of the comments even have done it too! No one knows you better than your ole' ma. The lesson I learned early was, if I don't take care of things now,they will come back and bigger than ever! I think it is sooo good you have had this self evaluation, many don't do that, they just keep giving in to excuses. Now practice makes perfect!! Love you dear!

  11. I hate schedules as well. But I do love menu planning because that means less time and money in the grocery store. Good luck on getting the boots!

  12. I am not good with schedules either. Matter of fact I really suck at them.

    I love the idea of thinking of questions that I want answered during Conference. I really want to try that. Thanks for the great idea!!

  13. Boy, you're on my wavelength lately. I feel totally unprepared for this weekend. I really could have used the time to ready my mind for some much needed answers.

    I hope yours come smoothly and that your camera batteries have a nice long charge. ;)

  14. Wow, a bit down on ourselves are we? Bummer of a day, but it's good for the girls to realize that life goes on and you sometimes have to rush.
    And tomorrow's a new day.
    It really is.

  15. On behalf of super-anal, think-ahead, always-prepared ladies everywhere, I have to say that the grass is always greener on the other side. I am scheduled and "on top of things" to a fault. And it causes just as much stress as the other end of the spectrum. If you and I could just learn from each other, maybe we could find that middle ground and things would be great!

    Still, I'm sorry you had a rotten day. I hope things are better tomorrow.

  16. I wish I went to bed & got up at the same time every day. I don't. I think there are just so many things in general to balance as a Mom, so we just have to do our best.

    I agree that I need to spiritually prepare for conference too.

  17. Don't beat yourself up. It is a constant struggle. I am up on Google at 12:48 pm and I have to go teach kindergarten tomorrow. Night time is my weakness. Ugh.

  18. I totally rebel against rigid schedules. In fact, if I try to create a rigid schedule, I don't do anything on that list. At all.

    I've found that a basic list of 3-5 things that MUST get done (on top of dinner, laundry, general housework, etc.) is my go to kind of list. Then I actually do the stuff.

    Hang in there. Being in a brand new place with brand new routines is never easy. You'll get there.

    Love, love, love your idea of preparing for conference. I think I need to spend some time today doing just that!

  19. After reading your post and many of the comments I am so happy to find so many sisters ... I still am trying each day to improve, but it's good to know that there's a bunch of us working through this!

  20. Anyone who can do a interesting, thoughful, funny, and inspiring 13 paragraph post to convince someone to enter a giveaway will NEVER be a failure, in my book. (OH, and there are about A MILLION other reasons you are not a failure!)

  21. I am so feeling your pain here... you are so a kindred spirit! I struggle with organization/planning/procrastination a lot. We are also having a difficult time with a new morning routine, as our school times changed to earlier, too. Piano practice is suffering :( - the only difference is that we don't have sleeping in problems here. Sarah solves all that, since she wakes up at 6 am, and it's really hard to ignore her screaming "Mama" until someone gets her up. You are not a failure - you are marvelously gifted and creative. We'll both figure out this organizational thing someday (probably when our youngest children leave home).

  22. We have so much in common. However, I am a lot older than you and have had one too many days like that. Now I get up a little earlier than I think I need to and what a difference it makes! It's like they say, one penny extra, you're rich, one penny shy and you are miserable. It doesn't take a lot to put you behind but it doesn't take a lot to put you ahead, either, and it is so worth it! Conference was wonderful--I hope it was all you wanted it to be for you, too!

  23. Sounds like I have the same problem as you. I tend to also get overwhelmed. With all of the house, shopping, girls, and then to teach my girls to come closer to god; it can be overwhelming. Good luck on your quest.

  24. This is going to sound awful, but I am so glad to hear that you have many of the same struggles that I do--preparation and sometimes time-management. I guess we'll both be working on that! :)