If you didn't read part one, you can read it here.
Before I go any further, I want to make sure a few things are clear:
1. I am not in any way saying that sewing or doing crafts is a wrong use of your time. They're a natural part of being a homemaker.
2. I am not indicating that you haven't used your time wisely if your house isn't immaculate 100% of the time. A stay-at-home wife or mom knows that you can clean and clean and clean, but because you live there, there are always new messes being made!
3. My husband is not a domineering ogre whom I tremble before if the house is messed up or he doesn't have a hot dinner on the table when he gets home. In fact, he normally doesn't say a word even when the house looks its worst, and most of the time he simply pitches in to help without being asked. The reason I'm embarrassed when he sees the house dirty is because it's evidence of my lack of discipline. I'm ashamed of my sin, not of the dirty house. If I've been using my time wisely all day, it doesn't bother me for him to walk in to a mess. He understands that there are three little people who require a lot of attention (and who make a lot of messes behind my back!)
So, how do I determine when my house is “clean enough” to start on some other project with a good conscience?
I'm not saying this is what all women need to do in their home, but I know this is what I need to keep my own home a scene of inviting serenity.
I've narrowed it down to two simple things:
First, nothing needs to be done if there are dirty dishes undone. There's just nothing that screams filth to me so much as dirty dishes on the counter. The rest of the house can be entirely clean, but if there are dishes out, the whole place looks like a dump. When you walk in our back door, you're looking straight across the kitchen at the sink. What you see there makes or breaks your mood as soon as you walk into the house. So my first strategy is, no other projects until the dishes are done. That's all I ask of myself.
Second, extra things need to have a time limit. I will determine how long is a reasonable amount of time to work on a project before I need to turn my focus back over to my kids and other housework. I will set a timer, and when it goes off, it's time to put away the project until later. I am a very determined person, which most of the time is a good thing. However, there are times when I get so focused on conquering something, that I lose all track of time and lots of things go undone and little people get ignored. My sewing machine was being rebellious the other day, and I was not giving in until I broke its will. That's fine and dandy, except for the fact that I almost made us late for church, left the kitchen an ugly mess, the kids were left to themselves for too long, and nobody got to eat dinner.
As a homemaker, my basic priorities are, in this order – my Lord, my husband, and my children. If something, even a domestic project, is robbing my time from those three groups, it is wrong for me to spend time doing it. Was it wrong for me to sew the other day? No. Was it wrong for me spend hours doing it when other, more important things were being neglected? Yes. Having a timer set would have brought me back to the reality of how much time I was spending.
So those, my friends, are my two very easy ways to make sure I'm doing the things I'm supposed to be doing while making sure I can find time to get to the extra projects too.
I hope these ideas are helpful to you in finding that balance between doing the extras while making sure to keep your priorities in order!
It wasn't been too terribly long ago that I posted the Anti-Procrastination Challenge to declutter your inbox. In spite of doing a lot of cleaning out and unsubscribing, I've still felt very overwhelmed with the massive amounts of email I receive. Many times things go unanswered just because I have too many emails to deal with. I came across this post yesterday at Simple Organized Living about organizing email using Gmail filters. Wow! I attacked my inbox and started organizing it, and I feel about 10 pounds lighter!
|Photo from Simple Organized Living|
I can choose specific emails to not even come into my inbox, but to automatically go to a specific folder. I have already seen increased productivity in checking my email. When I open my inbox, I don't have 300 emails staring me in the face, making me feel behind before I've even started. Instead, I can open up the folder with the most important things and deal with those first. No more wasted time sifting through and sorting emails every day! The sorting is done for me already!
I will warn you, though, that if you start setting up your filters, make sure you stay focused. There are lots of shiny gadgets on Gmail that I was tempted to explore once I started looking around at the settings. Just follow the directions Andrea's post to help you stay on track.
If you don't use Gmail, your job today is to do some research on how you can keep your own email inbox more organized. You'll save time in the long run!
This post may be linked to one of these parties.
If you missed it yesterday, I told you that I'm going to start posting an Anti-Procrastination Challenge for you each day. If you need a little inspiration or motivation to start working on those annoying things around the house, this is it! Be sure to subscribe to email updates so you'll receive each day's new challenge in your inbox!
(By the way, I will not be asking you to complete any task that I have not first completed myself.)
Today's Challenge: Clean out your coupons and receipts.
Depending on the type of person you are, this could be a small task or a very large one. If you don't use coupons, you may only have a few random receipts lying around. Round them up and file them if need be or throw them away. If you are a big-time coupon user, you may have a big job ahead of you. Don't just say “I ought to…” or “I really should…”; just get up and do it! Toss the expired ones, file the current ones where they need to go, and get them all cleaned up. Maybe you're somewhere in the middle. You clip a few coupons for things you usually buy and you have a few restaurant flyers lying around that have come in the mail. Throw out anything expired and put the rest away.
I got mine all taken care of today. I know everyone has a little different system for how they organize their coupons. I call my system the “messily neat system”…or should it be the “neatly messy system”? Either way, it works for me. Basically, I came up with a way to keep everything corralled into one place and fairly easy to find without spending forever filing it just so. Maybe I'll show you how I do it one day.
For now, you've got a job to do!
And when you come back, I'd love for you to tell me how you keep your coupons organized!
This post may be linked to one of these parties.