Last week I finally found a bit of downtime and snuggled up in my comforter to read after the kids were safely in their own beds. As I was flipping along, trying to digest all of the information (Diet No More! Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Feel Great!; Get Organized, Stay Organized; Simple Paint Tricks to Perk Up Any Room; The Singer's Purse; Beautiful Wrapping Ideas; Spend Less This Season) I came across a quote that hit me hard enough to make me stop and really think.
"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity." ~La Bruyere, Characters
I am forever wishing that each day held double its allotment of hours, because I can never manage to finish all that is on my daily list. Often I am frustrated because, yet again, I just plain forgot to do the laundry while I was busy doing some other project that struck my fancy. Like painting the bathroom in the middle of a crazy week, for instance. I really honestly think that I could complete all of the tasks on my daily lists, but by the end of the day, I realize it is a hopeless quest. I have simply run out of time.
I have generally chalked it up to having expectations that are way too high for myself. I am not Martha Stewart, after all. What I am is a mother of young children. That makes for some interesting side trips on my daily to-do list. I don't wake up each morning and plan to clean up an entire box of Cheerios from the kitchen floor. I don't foresee having to change and wash the sheets on two beds because Sophia managed to wet both hers and mine during the night. I definitely never thought that cleaning toothpaste out of my own hair would ever take top priority in a day. Broken wrists, fevers and coughs, runny noses--these can grind vacuuming to a halt, leave dirty dishes in the sink for hours and sometimes days, and easily push practicing right out the window.
You will all be quick to reassure me that yes, this is most certainly the case. I simply try to do too much, and of course, there are the children. I'm normal. I shouldn't worry. I accomplish enough. And yet, that quote I read struck something deep within me. Something about it rang a little bit too true. I don't make the best use of the time I am given. Far too much of it is wasted doing things that matter little in the grand scheme of things. Or even in the littlest scheme of things, really.
Let's just be honest here. I waste time.
I have always freely admitted my distaste in being beholden to schedules and to the clock. I completely resent being immersed in a project (however unimportant) and having to watch the time because I have some annoying commitment. I also completely resent having to stick to just one thing. I like to flit between projects. This happens on both a macro scale, evidenced in my frequent "kicks" which are dropped with not a thought when I tire of them, and a micro scale, evidenced in my inability to finish making my bed when I think of something I need to do upstairs.
If only I didn't waste so many minutes during my day. I could be truly great.
So, the other day, I stayed focused and on task. I really thought about what I wanted to accomplish, vs. what needed to be accomplished. I thought about my kids and their needs. I scheduled it out and I executed.
I conquered the list that day.
Can I do this every day? No. In fact, the very next day I was back to my old ways: wasting time on the computer, flitting from job to job and never completing any task, putting in a load of laundry and totally forgetting about it, being annoyed at commitments I had made to others because it left me less time to do the nothing I was already in the middle of doing.
I have learned a little about myself. There's nothing wrong with thinking big and trying to do everything, but a schedule and a plan is paramount. And I may be just humbled enough to submit to a teensy bit more order in my life.
We'll see how it goes.