Scope creep - one of those scary things I always had to watch out for during my project management era. It seemed good - accommodating all the additional needs that popped up during the project - but it wrecked havoc on schedules and delayed the output of anything productive.
Blog creep - something I deal with constantly. I start out with specific blogging goals and timelines. I have a little extra time on my hand so I visit a few more blogs and write a few more posts. Before I know it, I'm getting upset with everyone who interrupts my precious blogging time. I'm constantly feeling overwhelmed by self-driven pressure to get out a few more posts, keep up with a few more blogs, follow up on a few more comments.
So then I cut back. Things look rather bare for a while. Then they fill out nicely. Soon things are overgrown again, and I've gotta get out the pruning shears once more.
I'm creepy in other areas, too...
- Coupon clipping.
- Clothes shopping.
- Some of these areas are more fun than others.
So, yeah. Moving on. Confession time.
- I LOVE lists.
- I LOVE bullet points.
- I LOVE schedules.
- It is so freeing to write these down - to see them in front of me - to feel so organized.
I've had a couple of comments lately about my organization skills, so I just thought I should get that out there in the open. I feel so much better now. Truth is freeing.
Moving on again. I wrote up a schedule last week. I already have an old detailed schedule sitting in my drawer, but it's been ages since I got through the first half of it. I don't think I've ever gotten all the way through it.
So I've learned (again) from that old schedule: Keep it simple. Here's the new schedule for your benefit:
- 7 a.m.: Mommy wakeup/personal time
- 8 a.m.: Esmé wakeup/breakfast prep, eat, cleanup
- 9 a.m.: clean house, start laundry, etc.
- 10 a.m.: morning "school"
- 11:30 a.m.: lunch prep, eat, cleanup
- 1 p.m.: outside time
- 2 p.m.: nap time/Mommy's computer time
- 4 p.m.: afternoon "school"
- 6 p.m.: supper prep, eat, cleanup
- 7 p.m.: free playtime
- 8 p.m.: Esmé bedtime routine
- 9 p.m.: Mommy/Pappa personal time
- 11 p.m.: Mommy bedtime
There are a dozen things wrong with this picture. Can you find them?
- This assumes Esmé will sleep 13 hours. Her sleeping needs are about 10 hours. Trust me on this. I have tried. If I put her to bed an hour earlier, she wakes up on her own an hour earlier. If she naps an extra hour, she takes an extra hour to fall asleep. I FEEL CHEATED! (Though I just calculated that three extra hours per day equals 10 extra years of awake time over an 80 year period. Think of ALL she can DO with her life in that 10 years of extra time!) All you folks who religiously put your babies to bed at 7 p.m., how do you deal with it when they are wide awake at 4 a.m.???
- Two hours of computer time? Oh, I had this nicely compartmentalized. 1/2 hour for blog posts, 1/2 hour to read other blogs, 1/2 hour for emails, and 1/2 hour for "school" research. Hah! I can't even get through my photos in a 1/2 hour, let alone blog about them. And one of those alphabet posts? Minimum 4 hours to get it up. You're welcome. (I didn't even mention that Esmé skipped her nap completely a couple times last week. I tried. I kept her in her room for an hour. I FEEL CHEATED!)
- Errands? Grocery shopping? Tumbling and swimming classes? Music at the park? Not on the schedule. Oops!
- One hour of house cleaning might be sufficient. If you don't have a 2-year-old tornado.
- Bedtime routine? If you count the time it takes to get her to fall asleep (and don't even think of leaving the room until she's in a DEEP coma), it's considerably longer than 1 hour.
Let's stop there. So you can blame my schedule for why we skipped blogging last week. Time to abandon schedule. Until things are so hectic I have to write up another one for sanity's sake.
Seeing as I am so unorganized, how do we manage to do alphabet "school" each week?
- (Let's turn that numbering thing on again. I love lists. Bullet points. Schedules.)
- It's a matter of survival. If I don't have a plan of attack, I spend my day following the fudgsicle drop trail with a damp cloth and windex while Miss Esmé paints herself with watercolors and spatters toilet water around the bathroom with a duster, and then proceeds to cook herself an egg while feeding the cat and wiping her hands on fudgsicle-stained pants, which she then takes off and runs around naked with her step ladder, positioning it in front of the kitchen sink and proceeding to dump all the water collected in the dishes collected in the sink onto the floor, which mixes nicely with her watercolored feet to create footprints throughout the house where the fudgsicle drop trail has just been wiped up.
- Actual "school" is nowhere near as organized as my plan and the blog post. I don't necessarily do everything for a specific theme on one day - I may mix and match things. I use the themes and categories (kitchen, science, physical activity, etc) as a prompt to give me ideas of things to do, rather than a strict pattern to follow.
- And my "planning" is often on the fly. For instance, during "cat" theme day, I was having trouble thinking of anything to do for "science." As we were feeding the cat in the evening, I had a profound lightbulb moment - let's taste test the cat! So
we fried up three types of catsEsmé dished in three types of cat food on a plate and lay down next to him to observe as he ate. That was one of our biggest successes of the day - no planning or prep time required.
- The activity trays come in real handy. By setting out a bunch of activity trays at the beginning of the 2-week period, I've always got something onhand to grab when I can't think of anything specific to do, or when what I've planned isn't working out so well or keeping Esmé's attention.
- I don't stress (not much anyway) when things don't go according to plan. You may have noticed there was no alphabet post last week. We're a week behind! So how on earth are we going to get through the alphabet in 52 weeks? Bummer...
- I make lists. I've got lists of recommended books for each letter of the alphabet. I've got lists of ideas and websites. I've got shopping lists for each letter of the alphabet. I've got a list of all the types of activities I still need to come up with for each theme. When I feel overwhelmed by my lists, I just start a new list, which always makes me feel organized instead of overwhelmed.
It's all about staying sane and having fun.
(And if you
- have more than one kid, and
- you manage to get them all in bed by 7 p.m., and
- your daily schedule is on the wall instead of in a drawer, and
- your calendar is color-coded by kid, and
- you've written a blog post that includes photos of your neatly organized craft and school supplies, and
- you have a date night each week, and
- you shop with coupons, and
- you have a budget, and
- you update your budget with expenses on a weekly basis, and
- you have a weekly menu plan that you actually use, and
- you never feed your kids junk food, because
- your kids never help themselves to the cupboards or refrigerator, or even better,
- you don't have junk food in your kitchen
by all means, leave a comment with your organizational tips. And I'll post a LIST of all those organizational tips for ya'll. I can do lists.)