When I started thinking about my New Year's Intentions last week, I stumbled upon the idea of needing to make a big clearing to accommodate all the work that is coming up in my life. I've been friends with lots of folks who have started schools (and worked part-time to help open a school in 2012-13), and the consensus is that it's overwhelmingly crazy.
The problem is that I don't want the craziness to box out the other parts of my life that need attention, such as my family and my health/wellness. For me, it's all a connected system and all the parts have to be functioning well (even if the different parts don't necessarily get equal attention all the time).
So what are my strategies for mitigating the craziness?
- Get my organization system into a rock solid place. In order to maximize my time, I'm going to have to always focus on the most important priority. I need to have a clear sense of what needs to get done between now and the start of school, and I need to generate a timeline for getting it done.
- Plan ahead as much as possible. Working in schools is largely a game of execution; you're always responding to situations that pop up. But the more time you have for planning upfront (and the more time you allocate for planning while executing), the more you can anticipate and prevent certain things. This means I can't get into the habit of going to bed early or watching TV on weekdays. I know it sounds draconian to say, but it's true. There is so much work to get done between now and the start of school in August. If I choose to relax now, then I will pay the price later. It's a delicate balance for sure. I recently had a baby and I deserve rest. And without adequate rest, I won't be able to work effectively. But if I don't get my work done now, then it will pile up and have to get done later (while I'm also trying to respond to things that are happening in the moment).
- Make exercise more efficient. Right now, we're heading to the lake so I can run on Saturday and Sunday. I love being outside in nature (which is why I'm trying to exercise outside), but I think there are more efficient ways to meet all my needs. If I run on the treadmill at the local YMCA, then I'll have more time for other things. When we have lots of free time as a family, that's when we can head into nature.
- Get a robot vacuum. With a bloodhound and two children, our house needs constant vacuuming. I actually hardly ever vacuum, but asking for one of those robot things for Christmas would free up some of Matt's time.
- Hire a cleaning person. This is the hardest one for me. I've always had a problem with outsourcing basic human things. I think it's incredibly important for me to slow down and take care of my physical environment. I also think it's incredibly important to model for my children (and invite them to join in). Matt and I intentionally choose to live in a smaller house so that there is less to clean. But we're getting to a place where we feel stretched thin all the time. If we hired a cleaning person every other week (and paid him/her a good wage to honor their time/energy), I think we would still have plenty to clean on a weekly basis, but we wouldn't have to worry about bigger things: bathrooms, dusting, windows, baseboards.
- Give myself permission to drop down to two blog posts a week. I try to be pretty consistent with three postings a week, and I'm hesitant to reduce that number because I enjoy writing in this space so much. But it might take some pressure off to aim for 2-3 times a week versus a solid three.
I know how this sounds! Some of you might be wondering, "Why would you want to live like that?" It's a question I asked myself many times before choosing to go down this path. I believe in giving more children access to free, public Montessori, and now is my time to pursue this passion.