Thursday, March 17, 2011

To Routine or Not to Routine

The other day I started a post detailing the process I use for my Quiet Time with the Lord every morning.  As I was typing away, I realized that it could potentially be the single most boring post on the interwebz.  I am confident that you don't want to hear every single step I take each morning before the sun comes up.  So I nixed that (you're welcome), but it did lead me to some thoughts on routines.

How important are routines to you?  I am a huge fan of the Flylady and she advocates set times and days for accomplishing certain tasks.  I see the importance of it.  I am very routined with certain things.  I empty the dishwasher every morning, I make my bed, I shower, I do laundry.  Most of the tasks I do around the house I do in a very specific order.  For example, I only make the bed after I shower.  I only take my water glass from the night stand to the kitchen after I make the bed.  So, if by chance I don't take a shower until 10:00 PM, the bed doesn't get made and the water glass from the night before is still there.  Silly, right?

My husband is a surgeon and he does most things by routine, such as giving phone orders.  He does it that way so he won't forget anything important.   I have heard him get short with many a nurse when they are asking about lab work and he is still at activity level.  He's mentally going through a checklist so everything is covered.  If he is ever questioned about what he does, he can say, "I know I did that, because it is what I always do."  Routine is definitely needed there.

Here's where I get into trouble:  Free time.  Time with the kids. Play time. Reading.  My daughter asked me the other day if I would play a game with her.  I looked at my sofa full of laundry, the kitchen sink full of dishes and panicked!  No!  I can't play a game!  Can't you see the mess I have to clean up???  It's like I can't move on until everything as done.  And, let's face it, most days it doesn't all get done.  I go to bed with laundry waiting to be folded, toys needing to be picked up and dishes in the sink.  Yet I don't feel that I can relax until it is all done.

Which leads me to this thought:  Is it possible to schedule the life out of my life?  Am I really living if I am focusing completely on checking off my tasks?  How am I building relationships with my friends and family if my day is so tightly packed that I can't be flexible?  Even tonight, hubby and I went for a lovely trip to the grocery store and a drive around town.  I glanced at the clock and realized that it was 9:00 PM and got anxious.  The kids weren't in their jammies.  Bedtime devotion hasn't been done.  They won't be in bed on time.  They'll be cranky tomorrow.  Yet another way I have failed as their mother......

I am searching for the balance between the necessity of a to-do list (and I do believe it is necessary if I want to accomplish my goals for myself and my family) and the flexibility that is required of me to enjoy my life and those I love.  I feel like God has been speaking to me about this a lot lately.  I feel that I need to be more focused in the mornings and accomplish what I can before the family gets out of bed.  For me, that includes quiet time, workout and day planning.  I found this lovely group of ladies on Twitter (#hellomornings) that are all working towards this some goal.  I love having the accountability that this group provides.

I still don't have it all figured out, but through prayer and planning, I am working on it!

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