30 October 2012

Cleaning Off My Proverbial Plate

Have you ever felt like your life's plate was so full that you needed a to-go box to actually hold everything that was supposed to be on it?  I sure have--more than once!  Apparently that's a lesson that I have to repeat.  I admit it: I'm a chronic over-committer.

Lately I have felt the rising panic as I realize to what all I have committed and what it being expected of me--not just by my family, but many others.  It's an overwhelming feeling, especially when it appears that you have bitten off more than you can actually chew.

I am one who loves to be involved and active in things.  I've always been that way, cramming my calendar full and squeezing in as many things as possible.  I am by nature a very social person (and somewhat of a control freak, let's face it), but it's just not possible to do it all.  Even when you really want to.  It seems like I have to come to this realization about once every year or so.  Slow learner, I am.

A couple of weeks ago when our 2nd quarter of homeschool co-op was starting, I nearly had a total meltdown.  Now, I had been stressed about it coming up, wishing I had not agreed to teach or even attend that quarter feeling that I should take a quarter off and do the 3rd quarter instead.  But my crisis moment didn't come until the day before the 2nd quarter started and I realized that I had truly made a mistake by signing up.  However, that wasn't something I could just quit on.  I had made the commitment to help co-teach a class, a commitment to the co-op director to have my kids in the classes (supplies had already been purchased), and a commitment to my children that they could attend (they love co-op!).  So while I so badly wanted to just not show up, I couldn't.  There were consequences for my bad judgement.  Now God is giving me the grace to make it through these 6 weeks and it is going better than I thought it would (because HE is so good like that!), but I have certainly learned a personal lesson.

I sat down and made a list recently of all of my major commitments.  I knew it was time to prioritize things again.  We have to do that every so often, you know, because we're human and we get out of balance.

My number one priority is taking care of my family and my home.  I know this--and yet sometimes I let other things get in the way of that.  Church responsibilities, homeschool group commitments ....the list can go on and on.  So how do you get back on track?

First of all, prioritize your list and start from there.  Obviously you can't eliminate all of your duties, but you can free yourself up to take care of the most important ones.

The top of my list is: family, homeschool, and home-keeping.  Next comes responsibilities at our church, although I have to prioritize those as well, making sure that I am not trying to do too much and neglecting to bring along others to help with tasks.  After that comes our homeschool group, of which I am currently serving on our steering committee as the head of the field trips and fellowships planning team.  It has been a BIG bite to chew.  I had originally thought there were be more people working on that, but life happens and I have taken on more than I probably should have.  That's when I have to be real with myself and ask for help.

I don't know about you, but it's often hard for me to ask for help.  Not because I don't want it, but because I know that other people are also busy and probably don't want to be bothered.  But you never know unless you actually ask, right?  People often surprise you with their willingness to pitch in!

After you have prioritized your list of commitments, you probably still have a few things on there that you just don't know what to do about.  Maybe it's time to let those things go--and cross them off the list.

One thing that I am letting go during this season of life is my place on the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  While I have absolutely loved receiving and reviewing so many wonderful products, it has become more of a burden right now than a blessing.  Rather than spending time writing reviews and making deadlines, I need to focus time on our family and home.  That's not to say that in a year or two I might be able to put that back on my plate, but for this time it's something I have to say "no" to.  So November will be my last month on the Crew for the foreseeable future.

After this quarter of co-op is over I don't plan to sign up for classes again for at least another quarter or two.  We need to spend more time as a family, focusing on our homeschooling and having a better routine.  That's not to criticize our co-op in any way--it's been a huge blessing to our family and we do enjoy it a lot.  But it is a commitment that we need to say "no" to for the time being.

My children thrive on regular schedules and routine and those have been somewhat lacking lately in our home.  Most days I am so tired that I barely drag out of bed and then drag everyone else to the learning room to begin school.  I need to rejuvenate my body and spirit.  I can't do that if I'm constantly frazzled and running in a million directions.

So, I feel good about cleaning off my proverbial plate to a more reasonable amount.  I am excited about the steps I am taking to re-focus and be more of a blessing to my family.  I'm thankful to have the support of my husband, who reminds me that even Superwoman has her weaknesses:)  And I'm thankful for the grace God gives me when I've overdone it yet again.

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Fresh Start Academy said...

Wow! Yet another post that has hit so close to home for me today, I feel as if many bloggers are writing my thoughts today... You will be truly missed on the crew, hope to have you back when your plate will allow it. Take care and God Bless

Lora @ my blessed life said...

Thank you, Jenn! I will definitely miss being on the Crew! I'll try to keep up with you all through your blogs though :)

Nancy Carter said...

So much wisdom in cleaning off your plate. It's SO easy to get lost amidst all of the good opportunities available. I know that it will take some time to get used to having less on your plate, but I hope you'll discover that you can enjoy the remaining things even MORE.


Lora @ my blessed life said...

Thank you for those words of wisdom, Nancy! Sometimes we have to say "no" to the good in order to say "yes" to the best for our lives, don't we?

Stefanie said...

We'll sure miss you on the Crew but I totally get it.

Erika said...

We'll miss you! I understand though. I wrote a similar post myself last week. I've decided to cut back my blogging for a while until I feel like I can catch up on some things. Good luck to you. :)

Karyn Tripp said...

Nice post- it is a good reminder to focus on the important things in life. I think I need to do that...