For me, relief is spelled P.E.A.C.E. I don’t mean the kind with no noise. I don’t even mean having no responsibilities. I just need mental peace. Life has a tendency to rob me of this peace that I so desperately need. Without peace, I feel suffocated. I start shutting down and shutting people out. I don’t function well without it at all. So, I took some time to determine what peace looks like in my life. This is a huge subject and I’ll be talking about different aspects of it in blogs to come. But for now, I want to give you some tips that really help me keep my peace.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have a terrible memory. For this reason, I get anxious when I don’t have things written down. Anxiety is the opposite of peace. So, to avoid this, I created some tools and rules that I find very useful for “remembering” my responsibilities. I need to add a disclaimer here. The things you are about to read are my goals. I don’t measure up every single day.
I Budget My Time
The first thing I did was acknowledge to myself that there are only 24 hours in a day, only 7 days in a week, and only 52 weeks in a year. That is true for everyone. So, what if I tried to budget my time the way I budget my money?
I started by brainstorming my recurring responsibilities. I found that some things need to be on a daily list, some on a weekly list, etc. From there, I began to create my lists. I keep them in a location that is easy to find and access because I refer to them often. Here are a few examples of what my lists look like.
My daily lists are broken into two categories, things I do in the mornings and things I do in the evenings. My morning routine isn’t easy. But, it sets my day up for success. Breakfast, coffee, exercise, time with God, get dressed, get the kids out the door, clean breakfast dishes, make my bed, make sure I have a plan for dinner, and prioritize my day and to-do list. If I can check all of these things off, I’m feeling pretty excited about my day. I actually have a timed schedule to help move me from one area to the next. I try to get up as early as I need to make this a reality. Although, I must admit that I’m not much of a morning person. So, I’m not always successful.
My evening routine usually starts when my kids come home from school. I want to hear about their days (that is always on my list). I know what time I need to start dinner based on whatever the evening holds because I planned this out beforehand. And before I go to bed, I pick up the house and do the dishes (or assign them to a child who lives here rent free). 🙂
So, for me to have peace on a weekly basis, I need my house to stay clean, (or at the very least, picked up). I need to have groceries and a weekly menu plan. I need my bills to be paid on time and my checkbook register to be balanced. And I need my laundry to be done and put away. I need to feel like I spent quality time with my family, even if it was only a little bit. This sounds like a simple list. But, because of the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and only 7 days in a week, it is sometimes a challenge. I make each of these areas priorities in my daily life by adding them to my to-do list. I’m generally looking for small pockets of time to do a little here or there. If I can check one thing off the list, I’m closer to completing the list for the week. I like that feeling!
I know it sounds funny, but I actually do have monthly, quarterly and annual lists too. At the beginning of each month, I look at these lists and add them to my weekly lists. Many of these things get done on the weekends with the hubby. Most of these things include things like auto, yard and household maintenance.
My annual lists help me to remember to plan. For example, my annual list reminds me to think about holidays, family birthdays, school clothes and supplies, vacation planning, annual doctor appointments, etc. I don’t list Christmas in December, I list it a few months earlier, same with birthdays, etc. Remember, this list is to help you plan for the events before they occur. So, get your pencil and paper out and go make some lists!! Come back next week to hear more ideas I use to keep peace in my life.