By Kyndra Steinmann
I was talking with someone the other day and mentioned how I needed to work on menus for our main meals over the next several months.
“Oh!,” she said, “ You are so organized! I couldn’t possibly do what you do.”
Those kinds of comments always take me by surprise. If you saw the state of my bedroom, organized is not the first word that would pop into your mind! “Slob” or at least “extremely likely to drop stuff wherever” would be much more like it.
Thinking about it later and talking it over with my sister and I realize that actually I’m not organized at all.
Laziness is usually thought of as a vice, or at least the absence of virtue, so what on earth do I mean?
If you have read Cheaper By the Dozen, that entertaining book about one of the world’s first efficiency experts, you may recall that when Frank Gilbreth took on the task of increasing the efficiency of a factory he always asked the foreman to introduce him to his laziest worker. He could learn by watching the laziest worker what steps in a process wasted the most time or motion and often which steps were unnecessary as the laziest worker would have naturally eliminated those steps. In this case laziness was a distinct asset as it pointed to the way to increased efficiency.
As a homeschooling mom, I find that my mind is constantly running. Even when I lie down in the afternoons, for my twenty minute “nap” my brain sifts through my to do list, or the starts compiling lists of curriculum to check out! In any particular day, I need to make decisions about: whether assignments are completed properly, what the toddler should do during school, what appropriate consequences are for children’s unwise choices, what to have for lunch, whether we should go down or get up from “quiet time” earlier or later, what to have for dinner, whether to give children extra play time, and on and on and on. Many of these things require a good bit of thought and I can quickly be overwhelmed by all of the demands on my attention.
If I can delegate some of the decision making to my planner or a set schedule, I don’t have to work as hard. Making fewer on the spot decisions means I have time to think through the things I really need to think about (like consequences for spectacular failures of judgement) and leave the “what’s for dinner question” to a set time of planning every couple of months.
Here are the things I delegate most frequently:
Consequences for choices that occur again and again
Clothing (we wear uniforms for school and use a capsule wardrobe for the rest)
Toddler activities (I have a list and keep the supplies for those activities on hand)
Basic schedule (Getting up, School and Work hours, Quiet Time, and Bedtime all stay within the same basic outline)
Groceries (I go to one store weekly, and one or two other stores every other month (this also helps with budgeting)).
Certain Special Activities (for example my husband has three late evenings a month, and those are the evenings that the children and I watch a movie together. I know when those evenings are and try to keep a list of movies that we are planning to watch.)
Delegating those things to a pre-planned list that I revise or update several times a year, means that my mind is freer to make the decisions that have to be made on the spur of the moment or to do something quite spontaneous, since spontaneity requires a good bit of logistical work with five children ages ten to two!
Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones about living in a houseful of young children, special needs, discipling hearts, and abundant grace! As a homeschool graduate, she has an especial burden to encourage mothers to know and enjoy their children. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
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