I’m a naturally organized person. Which is helpful, because the more complex my life becomes, the more important it is to stay organized if I want to be efficient, get all my work done, and stay sane and happy.
But you don’t have to be a naturally organized person to successfully manage a busy household. As I’ve mentioned many times, you simply need to spend some time creating systems and maintaining those systems once they’re in place.
But I do want to be clear that even for a naturally organized person, it takes hard work to keep a busy household organized. The simple truth is that a busy life challenges organization.
The more moving parts you have in a system, the greater the potential for points of disruption. For me – my husband, children, employees, customers, goats, chickens, rabbits, dogs, and cats are all living creatures that are bound to throw disruptions at me non-stop. And that’s ok, because I want all of them in my life. A life without them would be more simple, but it would be very barren.
So while it is important that I have an organized framework within which to operate, I need to be flexible for the many times that framework is interrupted. And so should you. Because the more complex your life becomes, the more your systems will be challenged.
For example, after church on Sunday I had lots of plans. I had a customer stopping by, I had somebody picking up a goat they purchased, and I had to do payroll for the business (since my plan to do it on Saturday didn’t come to fruition). I also had a lot of wants – I wanted to clean out the laundry room, I wanted to process the remaining tomatoes, I wanted to make homemade chicken soup, and I wanted to take a walk with Jim.
So I sat down with the family and made a list of what I wanted and needed each child to do before they had the remainder of the day free to themselves.
Do you know what happened about five minutes after we all dispersed to get our chores done?
Crescendo decided to go into labor and have triplets! (The sac was really thick so the boys had to help break it open so the baby wouldn’t suffocate.) You can watch the birth on Facebook Live.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all upset that Crescendo chose a nice, sunny day to deliver her healthy triplets. I always enjoy it when new life comes into this world – especially if it is an easy birth and everybody does well.
But it certainly messed with my organization and my plans.
All of a sudden, everything that everyone had planned for the day had to be stopped. Did we all need to be at the birth? No. Did we all want to be at the birth? Yep!
So, it wasn’t just my plans that got disrupted, but everyone’s plans were disrupted.
I have learned that when my plans go awry, I have a choice to make. I can choose to freak out, wonder how I’m going to get it all done, and take the stress out on my family.
I can embrace the interruption, be flexible, and adjust my plans.
Obviously, the latter is the preferred choice. But the trick is learning how to react with the latter emotions instead of the former. Here are some ways I’ve been able to implement this in my life.
Trust that the interruptions are from God. I’ve learned (and fully believe), that those interruptions are chosen by God for my life. They are opportunities for me to give up my (perceived) control of my life and accept what God has for me.
Recognize that often the interruptions are for someone else’s benefit. Normally the interruptions provide a way for me to minister to somebody else. I’ll be honest, I don’t always WANT to minister to somebody else. There are lots of times I’d rather just get done what I feel I need to get done so I can sit and do nothing for a little while before bed. But God’s plans are always better. By interrupting my day and “forcing” me to focus on the needs of somebody else (whether it is one of my children, a customer, or a goat), I spend time on what is truly valuable and not what I perceive as more important.
Remember there is always tomorrow. Does it really matter that my laundry room still has clutter in it? Yes, actually, it does. (Decluttering is very important to me to keep my life simple and functioning well.) But it doesn’t matter that I didn’t get to it today. There is always tomorrow or the next day or the next. Because while it needs to be done, sometimes my attention needs to focus elsewhere first.
Know that your children are watching. The frustrations and interruptions that we encounter can be the best way to teach our children how to handle the frustrations in their lives. We need to model flexibility and a proper response to a change in our plans.
Understand that importance is relative. What you perceive as important is not necessarily what others in your life perceive as important. I would rather build the relationships in my life with the people I love than accomplish everything on my to-do list.
Recognize that interruptions will happen. If we are too rigid in our organization, our systems, or our expectations, we can react poorly when disruption occurs. But if you recognize that in a busy life, interruptions will routinely and regularly happen, it becomes easier to adjust. It’s not that we will always manage to embrace interruptions (except perhaps for the really good ones), but we can learn to anticipate interruptions and build in room for them to occur.
Put it in perspective. It’s really important to recognize that usually the interruption you are dealing with is a minor inconvenience in life. I’m always thankful to God that if something doesn’t go according to plan, it wasn’t anything more devastating. I was very thankful that my disruption yesterday was three new healthy baby goats, and not an emergency trip to the hospital with my child. I’m always thankful when I’m stuck in construction traffic that I wasn’t in a car accident or had my vehicle break down on the highway. I’m always thankful when I have a mean customer that I even have a customer service business that supports my family. If you can train yourself to the attitude of – “If that’s the problem I have to deal with today, I’ll take it!” – then those interruptions become less frustrating.
Those are a few of the ways that I’ve learned to deal with the disruptions that come with a busy life. What about you? How do you handle your plans being interrupted?