To see the first part of this series, click here.
For the last couple of New Years, I’ve foregone a list of resolutions. Instead, I’ve picked a single word to focus on for an entire year. Two years ago, after feeling for too long as if my life was running me, I chose the word “intentional”.
The decision to make 2014 a Year of Intention kicked off a lot of conversations with my husband John about re-prioritizing our commitments. We felt like slaves to a calendar full of obligations that were wearing us down and no longer fulfilling their original purpose. I don’t mind working hard or being busy. But I was tired of doing things simply because I had committed ages ago to doing them. On the flip side, although we were busy, John and I weren’t making time for certain things that were important to us. I agreed in theory with the saying: “No one is too busy for their priorities” and yet… I was!!
As we wrestled through our weekly and monthly commitments, I also knew I needed to tackle that day-to-day feeling of failure. I was wasting too many small chunks of time. I never looked back on a day and said, “Well, that was a good day. I did what I set out to do.”
A huge part of the problem was that I was treating my two jobs – the “stay at home mom” job and the “growing a photography business” job as two totally separate entities. Every day I would tend to whatever projects were most on my mind – whatever I was worried about, or excited about – and it always left my balance for the day lopsided. It made me skip things like basic self-care – eating breakfast or exercising – or basic family care, like switching laundry!! Jumping feet first into whatever is at the front of my mind each day is the exact OPPOSITE of intentionality!
Also, I needed to stop looking at my ENTIRE to-do list for the business every day and just focus on the things that I could reasonably do. It was time to accept that a very full personal day was going to impact photography and that a very full photography day was going to impact my home/kid goals – and that was ok!!!
Because I’m very, very visual, I needed to see even the basic, ordinary, routine stuff laid out in front of me every single day. So I created this daily planner for myself (see the link below). This is probably the 4th or 5th iteration of this planner. I sit down and rethink the order of things with each new season, as napping schedules, school schedules, and volunteer commitments change. The nice thing about having it all here in ONE place is that as I fill it out each night, I can really see how all of the parts of my day are going to interact together. One day, when the kids were home from school for a snow day, I LITERALLY wrote “Be flexible!!!” in the boxes! That’s what was most important to me for the day, so that’s what I wrote down!!
This has been a great tool for me!!! However, if it wasn’t underpinned with some lessons and philosophies that I hold dear, it could be a tyrant. It would definitely hurt me far more than it would help me. With that said, I have 9 more posts coming that truly expose my heart on this issue of balance for work-at-home-stay-at-home moms. These are what’s coming. I really hope that you stick with me and we can all achieve closer relationships with our family, more contentment, and business success together!!
No Goal Is Too Small
You Can Do a Lot in 10 Minutes
How Many Hours Do You Really Need to Be Profitable?
Something’s Gonna Give: Don’t Let it Be Relationships
Identify “Sure to Fail” Behaviors
Admit It: You Do Need Help
Spouse as an Ally
Balance is a Macro Concept: Seasonal Work
Don’t Lose Sight of the Reason You Chose This Lifestyle
Here’s a link to an editable version of my personal planner. Each night, I just fill in the blanks for the next day.