New Year’s Non-Resolution

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.  I don’t make them.  Not just because they are doomed to fail, but it’s the sort of have-to pressure that I don’t want during the most stressful time of the year.  But here we are two weeks into 2011, so I guess it’s safe to set some goals, somthing I do periodically anyway, whenever I find that the status quo is no longer working.

Here is my goal for the next few months:  BALANCE.

Parents wear a lot of hats during their days.  Moms especially — yes, I know this is a generalization, that there are exceptions, but no matter who is at home or the primary caregiver, most kids instinctively turn to Mom for what they need.  My own, for instance, will seek me out in my home office to ask for some juice, even though their very involved, hands-on dad is in the kitchen with them.  Go figure.

Back to parents and their hats.  Every day we assume any number of responsibilities — wage earner, chef, chauffer, tutor, playmate, negotiator, mediator, friend, spouse, etc.  You know.  The trick is to do them at once, and well.  This sort of thing has always been called “multitasking.”  A often-used metaphor is juggling. 

I prefer the metaphor of crossing a high-wire between two skyscrapers — while carrying cups and saucers carefully stacked on one another.  Balance is crucial.  One misstep and everything, including you, tumbles.

So my non-resolution is to be better with balancing.  My old strategy of trying to do everything every day has failed.  Even when I tried doing just a little of everything, because by the end of the day I’d be left with tasks partially completed, worries that not enough time was spent with the kids, and resentment because I never did get back to my writing (which is almost always the first thing to get sidelined.)

Balance  — my new strategy.  How about this?  Schedule my days to focus on one thing (I should clarify that I’m really only talking about when the kids are not home, because once they are….well, you know the chaos).  Monday, volunteer in kindergarten classroom.  Tuesday, picture book writing.  Wednesday, essays.  Thursday, house cleaning.  Friday, long fiction.  (All this is taking into consideration that there are just some things that have to get done every day, like 2 loads of laundry, dishes, errands, kid stuff, etc.).  Maybe if I can walk that tightrope with fewer cups, I’ll be less likely to fall.

How do you balance?  I could use some advice!


4 thoughts on “New Year’s Non-Resolution

  1. I heard someone say one time that instead of thinking about everything you needed to do just do the next thing. Take the next step. Go one step at a time. Look at things in individual little chunks to be worked on. But then again I am the last person to give advice in this area as I am the biggest procrastinator ever. I let things pile up too much. But not procrastinating and becoming organized are my goals for this year. Along with serious de-cluttering.

  2. Jenna, I really like your idea of focusing on one task per day. I typically teach Thu/Fri and save Mon/Tue for my own writing and volunteering. Of course, if lessons pop up via email, I try to get them done by Wed. I say you’re doing pretty good with your balance/juggling.

    I make lists because I enjoy crossing out stuff later … it also helps me to see what absolutely has to get done that day and what can be pushed the next day, next week or even to next year. For example, website revamp is really not a high priority. But finishing my revisions is (of course, I’ve not yet gotten started, but that’s a long story).

    But, I am a lot like Martha in the Bible, and I’m trying not to be … I should instead remeber the one thing necessary and rely on HIM.

  3. I try to balance my life by being aware of my feelings. Being awake to those feelings allows me to adjust. I find a few minutes and ask myself if I’m spending too much time in 1 area of my life and neglecting other areas.

    Most of all I try to start my day on a positive thought. I try to spend a few minutes by myself in the quite of my office .I think about the day ahead and the things that need to be done.Are they all that important. What can be done tomorrow. Then I get started. I use a “to do” list and follow it the best I can. I try not to start and stop until the item is finished.

    Most important of all the things I do is to be grateful for what I have and all those wonderful people in my life who love me for being me.

    Balance is like riding a bike. Hands on the handel bars, steering the way; feet peddelling, moving forward, not coasting, not stopping and falling; riding with the sun on my face and the wind at my back. Just like when I was 10.

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