Mapping my life

This weekend we went to our local library and I bought the book “Organizing From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern. Most of it was pretty much what I do, but she suggests that you actually sit down and fit your schedule into the compartments (time slots) of your life, similarly to how you fit your stuff into Rubbermaid containers.
That made a lot of sense to me, since with summer coming I want to be able to spend time with the kids, work on my genealogy and cemetery pages, and keep my house reasonably clean. Okay, I want to do most of that.

I use Microsoft Outlook for my calendar, and since 2007 allows you to overlay two calendars to see at a glance how they fit together, I decided to have one calendar for appointments I have to be at, and another for household chores, genealogy and fun time with the kids. Each type of activity is color coded so I can see how I am spending my time.

Since I have three kids, a part time job, a hobby that’s a real obsession, and only 24 hours, I had my work cut out for me. I started by putting in the kids school schedules. Since school is winding down this year, I went ahead and added next year’s school schedule in and also put in my work schedule (assuming it stays the same as this year).

Then I started on the housework schedule. I am off on Mondays, so I clean house on Mondays, so I blocked out enough time to give each room the attention it needed plus an hour for my lunch each day. So far so good. Then I blocked off two hours each week for building cemetery pages all summer. And two more for concentrated genealogy work. Schedule is looking okay, so I add in swimming time each day before and after lunch. Then I added in LAUNDRY! I use all caps because with five people, it’s my main chore.

The summer was fairly easy. The laundry can run while I sit by the pool and multi task.

But then it came time to schedule the new school year. Suddenly when I had to map out when I was going to do laundry around my otherwise busy life, since I have to be home to do it. I quickly began to realize why I am often tired and overwhelmed. To get it all done, I have to really stay on top of it. Just mapping out my day took thought and preparation. No wonder I get behind when I don’t plan out my week.

I wonder if my ancestors planned out their days so closely. Did they have to work in carpooling, and band practice around plowing and and getting in crops?

I am sure if I had to clean clothes on a rock, we’d own fewer clothes. If I had to work in slaughtering hogs around my work schedule, I would stay at home. If I had to pick cotton, corn or pole beans, I probably wouldn’t be concerned with carpooling, meetings, or the other things that keep moms busy these days. If it took me all day to get to town, I probably wouldn’t go once a week, but rather once a month.

Once I mapped out the things that had to be done, I went in and planned some things that didn’t have to be done. Okay, so I deleted a few hads to put in a few didn’t haves, but isn’t that what makes life fun? What would be the fun of scheduling work in every single minute of every single day and missing out on the thrill of finding a new ancestor, or watching my kids play?

It was a fun exercise that will hopefully help me find what is important to me. Then I can schedule myself so that the things that are most important get done, and the things that aren’t get moved off the schedule. At the very least at the end of a long tiring week, I can look back and see why I am so tired.


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