One of the essential ingredients to a successful day is a good plan. While a plan cannot foresee, nor prevent, interruptions or the actions and attitudes of others, it can keep us on track when we would otherwise succumb to temporary disarray. Staring wide-eyed in wonder is a good thing when we are beholding God’s creation, but it’s not so pleasant when we are looking around at our house in chaos, wondering what to do next. A plan keeps us trekking.
“It is most important to set goals and write your list for the day,” writes Nancy Campbell in her devotional book for mothers. “Some mothers like to write their list the night before, others like to do it in the early morning quiet before the start of the day. You will accomplish a lot more with a list. But remember, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t cross off everything on your list!...Even if you cross off one or two things, you are accomplishing something. When my children were little, sometimes I would only complete one extra task! At least it was better than nothing at all!”
Because every personality is different, there is no one right way to plan. Some prefer the by-the-clock method of planning, where every project or chore is assigned a set time; others like to list things to do before noon and things to do after noon; and others prefer a more relaxed approach of jotting down some general goals for the day, accomplishing them as they move through the day and the list. I think I fall in the latter category, although I have tried having a time for everything. Personally, while wonderful in theory, I found that approach a little too time consuming to create and stressful to manage.
“It is more important to set the right tone in your home and create an atmosphere of rest, peace, and harmony, than to make everyone tense by getting through something just for the sake of getting through it.” ---Nancy Campbell
Somewhere, I once came across a planning sheet that you could use with each of your children each day. You would write down goals in different areas, such as motor skills (a few hands-on projects to do) and cognitive skills (work-sheet pages, reading, math, etc.). I thought this was a great idea.
Lately, I’ve been jotting down daily to-do goals in these areas: spiritual, marriage, parenting, fitness (ideally!). I write down what books I plan to read out loud to the kids (right now it’s Family-Time Bible in Pictures,The House at Pooh Corner,and A Child's History of the World,in addition to any others they select through the day) and what learning activities we’ll do (math projects, handwriting, phonics/reading).
I’m also listing my homemaking and organizational goals each day. I’m starting to focus on the old-fashioned but highly effective system of devoting a day each the week to a specific task, such as laundry day, kitchen day, and cleaning day. I will write more about this in one of my next posts.
At the end of a long day, creating a plan for the next day is a step that’s easy to skip. I feel like I can save time and just wing it. Yet, saving a few minutes then costs me later. So yes, I could wing it. But it feels better (and goes better) when I plan it.
Part 1: I Didin't Plan for Chaos!
(Linked to Raising Homemakers and Works for Me Wednesday)