Saturday, August 28, 2010

day 222: organization—personal organizational strategies: prioritize your work day iv of iv

Today is the last day of “dailies and weeklies.” Tomorrow we will move on to more organizing strategies.

For now—a look at a daily and weekly list for a different season! I again want to emphasize how different people’s dailies and weeklies will look different from each other—and how one person’s will look different from year to year and in various seasons of life.

When I had seven kids fourteen and under, my “daily” list (for weekdays) consisted of the following “categories” (too much to list each task here!). Under each item there were usually sub steps or multiple items (i.e. Meet with Kayla for writing; Meet with Kara for reading; etc.).


-Check on high schooler’s checklist/school chart

-“Tutoring sessions” with each child in various areas (i.e. language arts; math; etc.; lengthy list)

-Overseeing all kids’ school charts

-Two reading sessions per day with new reader

-History read aloud

Kids General---

-Morning Bible/character training

-Story time

-One on one time with one child

-Littles’ one on one time

-Feed baby many times!


-Chore chart check ups

-Maintain daily schedule with kids (i.e. keep kids on task with our daily schedule)

-Work with one child on evening meal preps

-Oversee Chore I

-Oversee Chore II

-Oversee Chore III

-Work with kids on chores/train/etc.

(By this time, we had adopted the practice of giving children daily jobs, such as dishes, laundry, trash, etc.; we had (and still do) most of the daily work divided among the kids during their chore sessions, and Ray and I do few “daily” household tasks but many more weekly, etc.; overseeing the children’s daily chores is a chore in itself!)




-Correspondence (email, etc.)

-Grooming/hair, etc.

-My lunch break (very important to me—thirty to sixty mins when I ate and read homeschooling/parenting books with nobody needing anything!!!)


-Family dinner

-Family dinner clean up

-Family devotions

-Husband-wife meeting

-Time alone with one or more kids

-Time with teens

-Reading with Ray

-Reading alone

At this time, my weekly list still looked very similar to several years before, though the kids and I did the weekly cleaning together now (instead of my doing most of it).

I’m telling you—I did the same things over and over and over every day for many, many, many years. But it was worth it! Sure, I sometimes felt that I was getting nowhere. I often felt discouraged. However, I tried to remind myself of my priorities, of the eternal value of what I was doing, of the long-term rewards of all the time I spent on my children and home.

Fast forward many years later, and my daily and weekly lists look much different. We only have three children at home—and they are teens and young adults. I seldom (if ever) do daily household jobs as the kids have those rotated through their chore lists each day. We work together on the weekly cleaning. And we each take turns cooking dinner or use freezer meals that we have prepared during big cooking times.

Today the majority of my “dailies” involve organizing school, school meetings with the boys, read aloud (always!), writing some; editing some; correspondence and other ministry tasks; spending time with our teens; talking to our young adults (on the phone and in person); and overseeing the boys’ daily jobs. It is a drastic change from twenty years ago when there was so much household work—and so few helpers to do it.

Now I get to do projects! And I am good at projects now—efficient, diligent, resourceful, organized, and speedy. Guess how I got that way? You guessed it—through years and years of faithfulness in my “dailies” and then my “weeklies.” Smile…

Tomorrow: the abc’s of organizing tasks. Don’t’ miss it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

day 221: organization—personal organizational strategies: prioritize your work day iii of iv

Yesterday I described my “daily” and “weekly” lists that I have utilized to get things done throughout my parenting years. Today I want to give some examples of these lists, for those asking exactly what a daily or weekly list looks like.

Remember, your “dailies” and “weeklies” will not be the same as anybody else’s! My lists of what I do each day, each week, and even each month are based on my priorities—the things that I have predetermined are those activities that I want to spend my life on. They are not made haphazardly based on the “tyranny of the urgent” (usually not—we all sink into that, of course). They are based on what I know I should be about each day.

For example, when I had a few small children, without a lot of daily help (since the kids were too young to do many chores, my “daily” list (for weekdays) consisted of the following “categories” (too much to list each task here!). Under each item there were usually sub steps or multiple items (i.e. Meet with Kayla for writing; Meet with Kara for reading; etc.).


-Check on each child’s school checklist

-Fill in lesson plan book

-“Tutoring sessions” with each child in various areas (i.e. language arts; math; etc.)

-Two reading sessions per day with new reader

-History read aloud

-Activities with preschoolers

Kids General---

-Morning Bible/character training

-Story time

-One on one time with one child

-Littles’ one on one time

-Feed baby many times!

-Myriad of activities/needs of little kids! (not on the list, but time consuming nonetheless!)


-Chore chart check ups

-Maintain daily schedule with kids (i.e. keep kids on task with our daily schedule)

-Fix breakfast

-Clean breakfast with kids


-Oversee Joshua and/or Kayla’s lunch preparations

-Oversee lunch clean up

-Two loads dishes

-Two loads laundry

-Two loads trash

-Morning chore session with kids

-Lunch chore session with kids

-Evening chore session with kids

-Too much pick up/mess cleaning to write on a list!

-Seasonal—things changed with each physical season as we always had a lot of acreage to mow and tend to, and I took care of the outside since Ray worked so many hours at the plant)




-Grooming/hair, etc.


-My lunch break (very important to me—thirty to sixty mins when I ate and read homeschooling/parenting books with nobody needing anything!!!)


-Family dinner

-Family dinner clean up

-Family devotions

-Husband-wife meeting

-Time alone with one or more kids

-Reading with Ray

-Reading alone

-Time with Ray!

Weekly List

-Library trip

-Grocery shopping


-Call parents

-Lesson plans for next week

-Add to/change/print/copy kids’ chore lists

-Add to/change/print/copy kids’ daily school lists

-Organize school room

-Weekly cleaning (lengthy list)

-Find/organize/return library materials

-Organize toy room with kids

-Tutoring lessons ready (lengthy)

-Prepare for company (lengthy)

-Seasonal weekly jobs, such as mowing, trimming, gardening, etc.

Tomorrow—final day of “dailies and weeklies” and then on to more organizing strategies for busy parents. Thanks for joining us!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

day 220: organization—personal organizational strategies: prioritize your work day ii of iv

Yesterday I described how I came to the realization that I needed to do my daily work each day before I added “projects.” I truly credit this understanding (and application of it) to helping me become the “beastly work machine” (my daughter’s term…LOL!) that I am! Seriously, this practice of doing “dailies” before anything else has helped me in my housework; cooking; writing; ministry; parenting; homeschooling; and even hobbies, such as ballroom dancing and scrapbooking.

One way that I carried out this “dailies before others” lifestyle was in my list of “constances” that I try to complete each day and week. I developed a daily and weekly list that has changed and grown with the seasons of life (see prioritizing posts) and the size/needs/ages of my family. Whether it is written in the margin of my calendar, typed on the computer and printed on parchment that matches my planner binder (!), or tucked away in the corners of my mind, it is such a part of my life—and our home—that we seldom have difficulty getting daily work done. (And, because I have developed this in my life, I have been able to teach this to my children who all practice this same approach to their days.)

My “daily and weekly list” is one in which I listed all of the tasks that I needed to do each weekday—housework, personal, devotional, school, kids, etc. Then I had a “constant” (as in constances that repeat themselves over and over) weekly list, things that I would move over to one of the weekdays when I finished that day’s daily list.

For many years, I toiled away at my daily list, adding weekly things as I could—and adding anything that absolutely had to be done that wasn’t on my “constant” list. I learned time management, prioritizing, diligence, efficiency, and more through this method of working. I was able to give my children a daily routine in which they could count on certain things taking place; and I have been able to provide them with quality education as I prioritized their schooling above other things that I wanted (but could not do simply because I never got around to them)—the dailies and weeklies took plenty of time each week for many, many years.

And here I am, some twenty-five years after I learned these lessons. Now I get to do more projects than I ever dreamed of doing through our publishing company and Training for Triumph Family Ministries; through raising teens and young adults and all the busy-ness that goes with those stages of life; writing curriculum and materials for parents; and homeschooling.

Join us tomorrow to see what one of these “dailies” and “weeklies” might look like for a young mom (back when I was one!).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

day 219: organization—personal organizational strategies: prioritize your work day i of iv

When I was a young mother, I had a lot of trouble getting things done each day. I wasn’t lazy. I didn’t have more work than I had time to finish (at least not until the third or fourth child came along!). I simply had trouble prioritizing my work.

Every day I would get up with big plans for the day. What could I organize today? What project could I complete? What new endeavor could I embark on? I would work hard all day long, making the toy shelves look like a day care center’s dream—picture AND word labels (to aid in reading AND organization!). I would create organizational systems in my closets and file cabinets, often color-coding and typing up labels in my favorite font.

When Ray got home from work, I would take him by the hand and wind our way through the stacks of laundry, undone dishes, and scattered toys (and often piles of things that I was sorting for my latest project) and show him how industrious I had been that day. He was never quite as impressed with my organizing as I was, and, now I know, with good reason. He never understood why I would color code the linen closet but not fold and put away the towels that day. He never quite got why I would create systems in the kitchen to minimize steps in cooking but not wash the dishes that afternoon. And, to tell you the truth, neither did I.

Ray called me the “closet lady,” citing that I organized closets all the time (rather than doing what I needed to do). However, through Ray’s encouragement and advice from organizational experts (loved those Sidetracked Home Executives!), I learned how to prioritize my day just like we had learned to prioritize our life. (See posts for the two weeks prior to this one for more on prioritizing life choices.)

(I probably would have learned a lot sooner had Ray not come home from work and bailed me out every day. He made it too easy to continue my organizational madness when he came home and helped me catch up on my daily work every evening! He was enabling my craziness! LOL!)

Thus, the first piece of organizing advice for parents (especially moms who are home with little kids and have trouble organizing their work): do the most important things each day.

Sounds so simple! Of course, we should do the most important things first each day! Yet, how many of us have trouble with this concept.

For me, this meant that I would not do any weekly, monthly, seasonal, or project-type of things before my daily work was done each day. And believe me, that was a lot harder than it sounds!

I, even as a young mom, like most PP 365 readers, was a busy girl! I only had one child at the time, but I had a small tutoring practice, did literacy teaching for adults one evening each week, worked on my graduate degree one or two evenings, led the entire children’s programming at church, actively offered hospitality in our home a few times a week (including cooking from scratch, house preparation, and oftentimes, lesson preparation for small group studies, etc.), spent time with extended family, etc. There were always projects screaming out to me!

But over time, I learned to get up each day and do the most important (daily!) things first: reading to Joshua and teaching him Bible, character, preschool, etc; dishes, shopping, and food preparation for that day; laundry and other daily chores; etc.

Then, and only then, was I ready to add to add other work to my day. Stay with us while we learn more about organizing your life and home—and doing “first things first.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

day 218: organization—personal organizational strategies: introduction to “discipline yourself first”

Once our priorities are well established—we have a genuine list of priorities that God has led us to and we have the means (the objective steps to carry out these priorities)—we need all the help we can get to fulfill what God has led us to. This is where daily organization comes into play.

Like everything else in our lives, we can only implement things in our homes and families to the extent that we have implemented them in our own lives first. That is what makes parenting so challenging before we ever even start “parenting.” Our children have never, and will never, follow the adage: “Do what I say, not what I do.”

As parents, we must have personal disciplines in place before we can help our children develop disciplines. We cannot expect our children to prioritize their schoolwork and get it done each day before play if we ourselves shirk our labors for fun before our jobs are completed. We cannot expect our children to keep their rooms picked up when we leave clothes and paperwork lying about. And on and on. Wowsie, being a parent is tough!

For several days, I will spend some time and space discussing how we can organize and discipline ourselves—in order that we can organize and discipline our children and homes. (And hopefully, we will teach our children the character qualities of diligence, responsibility, “stick-tu-a-tive-ness,” resourcefulness, reliability, neatness, order, and more in the process.)

I have learned so many life lessons in my parenting adventure! I will share many of those pertaining to getting things done and organizing over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I leave you with something to ponder: What expectations have you had of your children in the areas of organization, diligence, responsibility, etc. that you have trouble with yourself? Brainstorm or journal ideas about how you can “fix” yourself before you try to fix your kids. I have always been amazed at how much easier it is to help my children in an area of my strength (or at least an area in which I am working on improving). I think you will find the same.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

day 217: giving up the quiet stream for god's raging sea of love

While all of my children enjoy writing in various capacities, our missionary daughter and I are the family poets. Kayla’s poetry is so poignant, so moving. I love to soak it in.

Today we left Kayla in Springfield, Missouri to begin her missionary appointment with the Assemblies of God Health Missions as a health educator. She will literally be all over the world during the next two years helping existing missions, churches, and clinics reach those with HIV and AIDS with the good news of Jesus Christ.

Today I would like to share a poem that she recently included in her missionary newsletter. She wrote it when she was a young teen—but it speaks her life’s heart so well, even after nearly ten years. She still, and has always, desired to be found in the raging sea of love rather than the quiet, easy stream of the world. May we all be found in God’s Raging Sea of Love as we seek not the easy way of parenting, not the paths that are simple, but the ones that take us and our children exactly where God wants us to go.

                                                       "Raging Sea of Love"

                                                                          by Kayla m. Reish

We asked for your love to come in like a raging sea,

But what we wanted was a quiet mountain stream.

One that we could build our sandcastles beside,

With all the world’s decorations, pillars and beams,

With the water flowing gently--- not too deep or wide,

Just close enough to hear the water trickling down,

And far enough from the coast high up on mountain ground,

To fool ourselves into thinking it’s the ocean’s roar.

We listen with rapt attention to the seamen’s lore,

Thinking we know what the great captains know of.

What they mean when they talk about the waves they felt,

As their eyes looked at the endless water of God’s love,

Which caused their flesh to die and their hearts to melt.

We congratulate each other; stepping in the stream,

Never daring to go too far from the shore to dream,

And play the great sea travelers’ adventures.

In the small puddles we call huge tide pools,

And through the tiny ripples we call great billows,

We carefully form our paper boats and call them ships.

Like the scars of the ocean travelers we know,

Great wounds are earned when into the water we slip.

Quickly we dry the water of love off our arms,

Before it hits our flesh and can cause it any harm,

What brave seamen we are in our little waveless creek.

At the games we play in our quiet mountain stream,

The great sea captains can only shake their heads and mourn.

Because they have seen the raging sea of love,

And to spend their lives traveling it they have sworn.

No games, no ease, no earthly rest to speak of.

Just them and the water for miles and miles.

The surf of surrender forming watery piles,

And crushing down on them time and time again.

Out in the limitless depths of the raging sea,

They’ve heard the sounds that love alone knows how to make,

When its flood comes on them leaving no where to hide.

Every inch of them it crushes onto it breaks,

And cuts deep wounds into their flesh and bruises their pride.

No rescue from the fury of love’s embrace.

Then they struggle to their knees and look into love’s face,

Knowing they will never go back to the quiet mountain stream.

We cannot imagine the force of such a love,

Yet they dare to tell the stories of all they have seen,

Of a force that left them with nothing but brokenness,

Like we will never know by our quiet mountain stream,

And left them ruined for a life of worldliness,

Totally empty yet now completely full,

Addicted forever to the unstoppable pull,

Of passionate healing in God’s raging sea of love.