Fall Back into Chaos
“Summer is no excuse for chaos, Julie.” At least that’s what my friend told me recently. You know what, my friend is right. Because just like Fall, Winter and Spring, Summer IS chaos. (It’s just a di...
“Summer is no excuse for chaos, Julie.” At least that’s what my friend told me recently.
You know what, my friend is right. Because just like Fall, Winter and Spring, Summer IS chaos. (It’s just a different type of chaos that involves swimsuits, popsicles and watermelon.) That summer chaos is just about as the kids have all trekked back to school. In fact, as I sit in my office, I notice that some leaves have already started changing colors. A few leaves have already fallen to the ground! I realize I need to do the same thing...I need to "fall" back into my non-summer chaos! Here are a few tried and true tips for a soft landing as you fall back into your chaos.
1. Embrace Your Chaos. Think of chaos as an integral piece of your family's identity. It is a necessary element of life and leadership. Chaos is the ebb and flow of life experiences that touch your family. When you fight chaos, your start to lose the variety of encounters (good, bad and even mundane) that life has to offer. Embracing chaos provides you the freedom to create a life you love – an “imperfectly inspired” life that celebrates your authenticity and creativity.
2. Redefine Organization. What do you think of when you hear the word “organization?” Cleanliness and orderliness, right? That can be part of it, but organization is actually covers much more. Organization is time management (scheduling), space management (order), and energy management (prioritization). Organization is very personalized; it is most effective when you tweak it to work for you. What works for me may not work for you. Really, there is no right or wrong way to organize your life; the important aspect is to apply some sort of organization – time, space and energy management – so you can find your comfort in the chaos.
3. Clear the Clutter. Clearing out the clutter is the launch pad to organization. As you start to address time, space and energy management, take the time to clear the clutter from those areas. If your schedule is busting at the seams, stop saying yes to new tasks and start eliminating other commitments. When clearing the clutter in your space, pretend it is moving day. What do you really need to keep? A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used something in six months, sell, donate or toss it. Finally, clear the clutter from your energy. What do I mean? There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective ways is to start removing people, places, thoughts and things – that continually deplete your energy without giving you anything in return. Remember, that the more you clear out, the more you’ll clear the way for new opportunities.
4. Mealtime Predictability. Dinnertime always sneaks up on me (it really is my most chaotic time of the day). Before I know it, it’s 5:30 and everyone is asking “What’s for dinner?” Knowing that stale tortilla chips, mushy grapes and soy milk aren’t the most appetizing meal, I created my mealtime predictability plan. Exciting it isn’t, but effective it is. Here’s a peek at our menu: Macaroni Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Waffle Wednesdays, Topsy-Turvy Thursdays Finger Fun-Food Fridays, Simple Saturdays, and Surprise Sundays. Like I said, it isn’t exciting, but it saves time and it’s edible.
5. Practice the Rule of 80/20. Did you know that 80% of your work can be done in just 20% of your time? It’s true. I call this 80% of tasks the quick-hitters. These are items that can be quickly completed but are often procrastinated. Start employing the rule of 80/20 by finishing these quick-hitters in just 20% of your time. This frees up 80% of your day to spend on activities that require more detail and attention – activities that usually bring you more enjoyment.
6. Slow Down. Your desire to move through your mile long to-do list in just one afternoon is admirable - unrealistic - but admirable. Set a timer for a short period to work on just one or two small, dauntless projects. Once the timer rings, stop and spend some quality time with yourself and/or your family. Remember, the more you embrace your chaos, the more you can inspire your imagination!
7. Be a Character. Start the new season by being your favorite character. No, not a character like Mickey Mouse, Princess Ariel or Superman. Be a CHARACTER – be the essence of gratitude, responsibility, integrity, teamwork and service. Mastering each character habit will offer you opportunities to build a stronger community that truly helps young people develop confidence, connection, and, yes, character.
© 2009 Julie Watson Smith
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julie Watson Smith is a Leadership Mentor and Family Coach dedicated to creating strong communities of character that empower children to become tomorrow’s leaders today. She is a speaker, author, and columnist as well as a recognized expert in the field of character education and leadership. Knowing the impact mompreneurs can have, Julie has created an amazing turnkey business opportunity for moms who are ready to lead the change with family, business and life. For more information, visit www.CharacterCoach.com