When I began writing this post, many weeks ago, it was a bit difficult--simply because, at that time, my life was not busy. Not really. Not in the way most women's lives are. I do not work 60 hours at a demanding full time job, bring home work with me every night and cook and clean and look after my loved ones. Many women are so maxed out, they don't even have time to read books for pleasure, let alone navel-gazing blogs like this one.
When I wrote the first draft of this post, I didn't know if I had anything to offer truly busy people. But then, the demands on my time increased exponentially. So busy I didn't even have time to think. So busy, I'd forget the grocery list at home, the house keys locked up in the house and leave the headlights on in the car all day and have to call for a boost. But, on the homefront, I hung on to the things I had worked out--the things I talk about here--and it was OK. The key thing? Take some time to figure out what's most important for you. And keep breathing.
I looked at my schedule and immediately stopped breathing.
Just for a minute. Just for the briefest of minutes while I panicked: how was I going to cope?
There was an increase of work hours--and my house--just on the edge of falling apart--was going to be plunged so far into chaos, I was afraid, I'd never emerge again. And I'd worked so hard in January! There's just no getting around it: when the house is a mess--I am a mess. I could not allow the chaos creep.
So, I thought. And thought. And it came down to an attitude adjustment, a perspective shift, an iron clad rule and a reallocation of my time.
I thought lot about how I wouldn't have any time for the projects I was working on since I was going to be too busy working. I had been completely redesigning my dining room/study when the schedule stopped me--and it occurred to me that a busy period was an awful lot like going on vacation.
The stopping part.
When you are on vacation (or, at least when we go on vacation) I don't have the same opportunity to investigate how to make light fixtures out of plumbing parts and I certainly don't have the time to look up patterns to make a floor rug. Our vacations interrupt my "normal" life. Utterly. (That's sort of the point.) I do different things when I am on vacation.
Second, I prepare to go on vacation. I plan our menus and pack all the dry goods we need before-hand. (We camp.) I do all the laundry. I clean the house.
So, I decided to approach the busy time coming up just like that. I also figured I could cook two meals at once a few times the first week so that during the second week, while I'd be tired, I wouldn't have to cook.
I don't do windows on my days off. In fact, I don't do any house cleaning on my day off. It's my day off, dammit, and I shouldn't have to work. Of course, I don't do housework on the days I work, either. I'm too tired for that.
Obviously, that was a formula for success!
(Oh and in case you are wondering what all that stuff I did was in January with the Cure? That was not housework, folks. No, that was a world wide internet based project that happened to involve cleaning and decluttering my house. That was most emphatically not housework. That was fun.)
So, the first thing I had to do was get my head set on straight. I committed to cleaning the house on my days off. But not a big, deep, epic clean. Just enough to keep things presentable. (Flylady calls them House Blessings.) And I roped in anyone who was home to help.
The Iron-Clad Rule.
Do the dishes. Every. single. night. If I didn't, I promised myself I would get up a half hour earlier the next morning just to get them done.
Re-allocation of Time.
What's important, today? Do that.
Of course, life spun completely out of control just as that expected busy week ended. I was, actually, right in the middle of writing this post and feeling pretty smug when my Mom fell and went into the hospital. That whole week, my husband cooked supper, I worked and went back and forth from the hospital every day and to her house every day the week after, once she was released. I did my best to follow these new rules--and I am still trying.
And, although the house is not spotless, it has not completely fallen apart, either.