Living in Chaos

Chaos.

One look at my bio is enough to convince anyone that this is an appropriate description of my life, at the moment.  The things that get my attention are the things that need to be taken care of right now. I try not to let things creep up on me, but it happens more often than I’d like.

This fall/winter I’m struggling to stick to a compressed writing schedule, in hopes of releasing several books early next year. This only adds to the pressure I put on myself. Why? Not because I enjoy it. I’m trying to get my family to a place where I don’t have to work full-time. This issue is getting there.

balance, family, writing, romance author, choices

So I’m forever on the search to make things work. My personality works best with some kind of schedule, but its really hard to schedule chaos. I recently tried getting up earlier, thinking more time was the key, but it was no go. I don’t cope well with the rest of the day as well with less sleep. So what’s a crazy woman with a crazy life to do?

I’m trying to do this:

1. Acceptance

This is just the way life is for now. I don’t like it. In fact, it makes me very unhappy at times, but changes aren’t coming anytime soon. I need to deal with my attitude and move on. I have a quote posted on my bathroom mirror that says, “I discovered I always have choices, and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude.” (Judith M Knowlton) So very, very true.

2. Just Keep Swimming

I have this as my screen saver at my day job. Everything I plan may not get done, but as long as I keep moving forward, progress will be made. Sometimes the snail’s pace is very frustrating, but I keep trying. That’s important.

3. Touchstones

This is my newest form of “schedule,” still in the testing stages.  🙂  My life and activities change daily. I rely heavily on my To Do List and a day planner, but a true, rigid schedule will only get disrupted by last minute homework, illness, or an unexpected errand that puts me behind.

Since I can’t find a way to create more time, I have to use what I have more effectively. When I get to work, one of the first things I do is get out my Day Planner. I glance over it for important events and the list of what needs doing today. I prioritize and mentally map out a plan. I’m now calling this my “Touchstone”, because I’m touching base with myself and what’s going on in my life.

I’ve started doing the same when I first get home in the afternoon. I greet everyone, put my stuff away, then sit down and see what’s left on the agenda for that evening. This way I’m hopefully approaching tasks in a logical manner instead of plunging into them haphazardly.

4. Clock Out

I’ve had a goal for years to take one day off a week–it simply never happens. I find it disconcerting to think of myself as a workaholic, because I don’t want to be one. I want to be able to write during the day and relax with my family at night, but there’s too much that needs doing with a full-time day job, part-time writing career, kids, pets, house, etc (even with my hubby pitching in very heavily). So this goal needed to adapt.

Now I aim for one day off per month, but as a compromise I have to quit working period at 9:30 each night. This has been really hard and I’ve only been at it for a few weeks. I’m to have nothing but fun after 9:30pm: no writing websites, Facebook, Twitter, etc. No “relaxing” with a craft book. Just TV, cuddling with the kids (or hubby!), reading, etc. It shouldn’t be too hard, but it really is. My brain is always saying, “But shouldn’t you be…”

Nope. I shouldn’t be…

 

So there’s my Not So Perfect Plan to tame the chaos. Having a plan doesn’t mean I always succeed, but if I don’t try, I’ll never find what works, right? Do you have any tips or tricks that I can add to the pile?

Dani

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One thought on “Living in Chaos

  1. So true! I’ve tried all of these, off and on. I think the key is being fluid, as you’ve said. Something is always going to interrupt a rigid schedule (i.e. my hubby staying home from work this morning right when I needed to be working), and you have to work around that. I do use Sticky Notes on my desktop to keep a short list of major things that need to happen that week. I have the dates at the top (Oct. 28-Nov. 3), a list of places I have to go/appointments, and then a list of things to accomplish. This helps me both relax because I know I’m not forgetting something, and see progress as I cross off things I’ve done.

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