It's a curious process, this organising/decluttering/developing routines thing. I've been there, done that before - 10 years ago I discovered Flylady and thought everything was going to be so much easier! *Pffft*, being older and somewhat wiser now I know that anytime we want to change, it's not just a matter of finding the program/tools/step-by-steps that tell you what to do, it's finding what works for you, and then actually *doing* it.
Funny, that. To get things done, you actually need to get things done. I think the biggest thing I've noticed this week since I've been paying attention to what 'works' for me is that to some degree....... I actually really like routine. I say that in a small voice because I've always 'gone with the flow', and eschewed conforming to a 'strict' routine, but the reality is that I like the rhythm of what is becoming routine for me, finding the flexibility within the structure. Of course I've always had routines in my life - get up, get organised, go to school/work/etc, come home, get tea, go to bed, etc etc. But I've always felt it's scatty, and rushed, and mildly chaotic (ok often stupidly chaotic!!) - lunches being packed when it's time to go to school, birthday presents being bought on the way to the party, notes going back to school after they're due, I think you get the idea. And I've always known it can be different, not scatty, it can be rhythmic and organised, without a whole lot of undue effort. I'm starting to find that now, starting to find my rhythm. Part of that is coming with finding a routine that works for me, for us, and feeling my way through the nuances of my strengths and weaknesses that are becoming apparent through this process.
I'm discovering that the more I do, the less I have to do. The more I practise being intentional throughout the day, the less 'stuff' there is that has to be done. If I do something straight away, rather than putting it off (putting things away/doing a load of washing/pulling those few weeds), it's done and dusted, and I'm somehow finding more time in the day, to the point I've actually been able to go outside with a book and not feel guilty about the housework that's not being done!! Yes, I am on holidays, but I've always been good at wasting the time of my holidays away on mindless acitivties (i.e. too much time on the computer or in front of the tv!), but I'm finding now that I'm getting most tasks done by lunch-time, leaving the rest of the day free to do the things I really want to do and enjoy, guilt free. Quite a novel place for me to be in!!
I'm under no illusion that this is another 'quick fix', and that maintaining what I'm developing won't take effort and focus, of course it will. I'm only a week in to this new way of thinking, and I'm encouraged by the positive changes I can see already. Like most things that involve significant change, it's a matter of babysteps, kaizen thinking, being intentional. I've been encouraged by a few things in particular, little things that are 'big' things for me:
- writing my first menu plan, and shopping from the plan
- following my morning routine
- less 'screen' time for all of us
- eating together at the table every meal time
- crossing off things on my daily 'to do' list
- taking time to stop and pay attention to all the 'small things' that bring joy
- finding a whomemeal bread recipe that all the kids love
impossibly blue skies
Just as I've been writing this, I checked the page I had loaded for Down to Earth, one of my favourite blogs to read, and the post I saw was 'Routines and how to build them' :-) God never fails to make me smile with the ways He provides exactly what we need - when I read the post, the 'bingo!' that I wrote about in my previous post became 'eureka!!' when I read Rhonda's post. She absolutely hit the nail on the head in regard to routines, and I only wish I could have articulated it as well as she did. Effectively, how I feel about daily routines is 'ditto' what Rhonda wrote, lol!! This is what I'm working on, being flexible within a 'loose' structure, and tailoring each day as it comes (and not beating myself up if I don't get everything on my to-do list done!).
Some link love to leave you with (note to self: schedule 'write blog post' on to-do list before 1am!!!).
My dear friend Sue, also in pursuit of the simple life :-)
What Are You Waiting For?
Rhonda @ Down to Earth on taking one step at a time (and doing things with purpose!)
Establishing routines at Unclutterer