I am not Superwoman. Just in case I had you fooled. I think I've always known that nobody can do it all, but for a long time I failed to realize that there's NO WAY I'll be able to do everything I want to do at any given time. I've been considering my personality type over the summer (thanks to Meyers-Briggs) and how it affects the way I work and how I interact with others. As and ISTJ, I am a perfectionist. Even when I try not to be, I'm still mentally a perfectionist. I'm definitely recovering in this area, but I have to keep a firm grasp on what's really important if I don't want to get too stressed out.
This is where considering my priorities for my daily life and setting clear goals that line up with those become very important. If I can remember that a sticky floor isn't of eternal importance, then I'm less likely to have a meltdown when I'm peeling my sock off the floor just one more time in the middle of trying to cook dinner.
I feel the pressure of holding all the "to dos" in my brain all of the time, so I've been working with lots of lists lately. I hope to open up my master "list book" with you all some time, but today I'm settling for sharing a weekly task list that I made. The "list book" is loosely based on the Getting Things Done system. Basically, I took what worked from that for me and made it into a giant book of lists that keep me from forgetting things that need to happen but aren't the most pressing. I am not a great multi-tasker, so the book helps me to overcome my tunnel vision.
In the last year I've found this post written by Tim Challies to be especially helpful in keeping my perspective and examining what may need to be added or subtracted from my life in this season. He writes about defining our areas of responsibility. It's especially helpful to me because it doesn't look just at what I have to do or what I hope to do. It helps me to look at my responsibilities from the perspective of the roles I've been given by God and how they matter for eternity. I have my list of roles and responsibilities in the front of my List Book, and I re-evaluate it periodically. Crystal Paine also writes about goal on her Money Saving Mom site, and she has great tips for setting and tracking your progress.
I also bought the Kindle version of Hands Free Life by Rachel Macy Stafford on impulse when it came out, and it's been a great read in the midst of examining priorities. This book steps on my perfectionist toes over and over, and it's been super-convicting. Teaching From Rest by Sarah MacKenzie is up next as I think about priorities for our homeschool. It's been quite a transition this year with Benjamin now reading solidly and Jonathan diving into Challenge A.
In the midst of all the craziness, my biggest help is to keep a master list of MUST DO tasks for each week in all of my areas of responsibility. I find it helpful to mentally dump this onto paper, so I made this grid to help me out. I can name the categories and jot down the most important tasks in each one. Then I can keep it on hand when I'm planning my schedule for the week and refer back to it when I feel like I may be veering off track or need to know what can be tossed from my longer lists.
If you'd like to try out the "Must-Do Task List" you can click on the picture above to download the PDF. I hope it will help someone else out there keep some sanity in the day-to-day craziness!