Monday, August 20, 2012

Finding Freedom in Simple Routines


My hall closet has a life of its own.  Every August I de-clutter and organize it, but over the course of the school year, from September to May, it slowly deteriorates into a chaos.  Extra items I can’t find a place for get shoved in there, papers and supplies get shuffled, and entropy seems to reign. One of the realities of life in Turkey is little storage space, so my house has one small closet to store empty suitcases, school books and supplies, craft materials, shopping bags, a Christmas tree, ladder, and a broom! 

Just like my closet, my life as a cross-cultural worker also tends towards entropy. 
Between family life, home school, ministry, and a multitude of relationships and social activities that come with living in a relational culture, it’s hard to keep myself organized so that there’s enough of me to go around!  I’m the kind of person who makes a grocery list and forgets to take it to the store.  I try to keep a calendar, but never look at it.

Every August, as I organize my hall closet, I also think about how to organize and balance my life. When I take simple steps to take care of myself and my home, I’m freer to focus on my family and be available for outside ministry.

For me organization is about routines and to-do lists.

Routines are great because they free you from having to think too much in order to get things done. A routine should be simple, something that becomes a habit so that you can do it on auto-pilot.

Morning Routines

These are routines that help me care for myself and prepare for the day. I am encouraged to see the things I want to do every morning listed in a 1, 2, 3 format by the “Hello Mornings” challenge:
  1. Spend Time with God
  2. Intentionally Plan Your Day
  3. Exercise

Household Routines

These are a few simple things I do quickly most mornings that help me tame the house work monster. Once these are taken care of, I'm free to move on to other things.
  1. Mop the kitchen and hall floor. (I do this in ten minutes while the coffee brews and I’m still too groggy for anything else.)
  2. Throw on a load of laundry. (Before breakfast.)
  3. Spend 15 minutes on whatever household task seems most urgent. (After breakfast.)

My To-Do List: 
After years of making long detailed lists that I never completed, I keep it simple:

3 Priorities for the Day:
1.
2.
3.

3 Household Tasks:
1.
2.
3.

Phone calls:
E-mail.

These are the routines I want to continue working on this fall.  What about you? Do you find routines stifling or life giving?

What is your favorite tip or routine for staying organized?

2 comments:

Alida said...

What great ideas...I have a galaxy tablet and I use the calendar task function to keep me on target.

Missional Mama said...

I am doing the Hello Morning Challenge this fall as well. I think you hit it on the head concerning living in a relational culture. It can feel a bit overwhelming to get everything in! I wouldn't have it any other way though! :)

Amy @ Missional Mama