Houston, I have a Problem

So there I was, a week before the new year rolled in, sitting on my couch drowning in webpages, highlighters, file folders, labeling tape, page protectors, and the entire capitol alphabet in both fill-in-the dot form and traceables…

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Have you seen this photo on the Internet lately;blog-2-2

I’m pretty sure that’s my brain on a regular basis… But, since I know this about myself I can sorta prepare for myself… Let me see if I can explain this hehe.
I know that if I can get a habit started I will carry it out (I think science has proven this, but that’s besides the point) – so I strive to set myself up for success. I will spend 1 week labeling folders and printing off the entire alphabet and inserting those pages in page protectors and dividing them up into their corresponding folders BECAUSE I know that if I have the ENTIRE year already planned/mapped I will have no excuse for not carrying it out! I know that no matter what crazy stuff happens during my day I can find 5 seconds to draw our letters in the air or 5 minutes right before bedtime to pull out a page of pre-preschool for Zoee to work on because IT IS READY. Next week I’ll talk with you more about “pre-preschool” – today I want to touch on a broader topic – what I did to set myself up for a successful year, by breaking the year into months and those months into weeks and the weeks into days. Because – that’s how I work =D

I feel like I function better in organization than in clutter/chaos. But I will admit to a few moments of brilliance that stemmed from organized-chaos. I did in fact happen to be a “traditional” teacher in a past life (I am excited to be stepping back into this role in different settings than I formerly envisioned – but that’s another topic for another day as well) – I taught 5 different science classes, a sewing class, a history class, was a student council advisor and a varsity volleyball coach all at the same time – I even got engaged and started planning a wedding in the midst of that. Although most of the details from that amazing year are a little muddled (as in, I’m not entirely sure how I survived but I remember loving 99% of every minute) I know that despite my best efforts to be very organized (I’m surprised my extra hours to make things perfectly color-coded and cross-checked didn’t give me an ulcer) many of my best moments came from the chaos. Since I am borderline organizationally-obsessive… you’ll know that organization can be a very fine line to walk… Here are a couple quotes I love on this topic…

The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they’re organized for.  -Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings… As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects. -Anais Nin

I feel like in preparation for this year I wanted my time to be more focused. I didn’t want another week to slip by where I questioned what I had accomplished or what impact I had made on those around me.blog-2-3The truth that our time here on earth is limited, made me want to capture and give every moment value. And in order for me to do that, I needed a plan. Not a rigid plan, but one that contained enough structure AND flexibility to work in our ever changing environment.

Now. Upon self-reflection I realized that it’s very easy for me to fall into a certain traps… blog-2-4That look familiar to anyone?! So I decided that for this first phase of the project I needed to use what I already had AND JUST GET STARTED instead of going out and spending a bunch of money to make my stuff “look good.” (There are a few more projects/phases that I want to add in the future that I know I will need to go out a purchase supplies for -but first I’m going to see how creative I can get with what I have!) I did run out of a few things so there was a small initial expense but it ended up being for a new ream of paper, more page protectors (I’d already gone back and put two pages in each!), and hanging folders because we had already used all ours.

In yet another past life, I was a junior high youth group leader and for a short period we did monthly calendars for our students, I got to be in charge of that. One of the programs we used designed the calendars for us but it came with a disk that had gobs and gobs of clipart. I discovered that I still had those files on one of my older laptops, and that is where I got my calendars from. The downside of these ones is that they don’t have anything filled in on them – but you can google calendars and download PDF’s for specific years and it has holidays and dates already inserted. I have PDF’s of all 12 months of the calendars with clip art in both black/white or color – if you’re interested if a copy I’d be happy to share the files with you! (I have all the calendars printed out – but only 1 filled in. As I learned with lesson planning it can create extra work to plan too far in advance. I have an end goal but I’m mapping it out 1 month at a time – the hardest part to this is making sure that I SIT MYSELF DOWN at the end of January to fill out February… I do good with rewards… I’m thinking something related to my upcoming Stitch Fix order – like, I have to plan February before I get to open my box…)blog-2-5For this calendar I wanted a broad idea of what the month would hold – more like “a month at a glance” than anything specific- that would come in my weekly calendar that had specific tasks for each day. I thought about using a day by day calendar – those ones where you have the whole day divided up by hours and you mark the hours you have commitments – I LOVED those in college, but I’m not really interested in trying to get life with a 2.75 year old to fit into that much structure… Instead I found something from the Internet that had a week at a time with enough space devoted to each day that I could jot down my Facebook/Pinterest topic, chore of the day, the pre-preschool daily assignment, and the one personal development item I wanted to accomplish for that day.

DISCLAIMER – personal development is a really exotic way of saying “project” or “homework” haha. I have a REALLY bad habit of starting projects and never finishing them… So I have a running list of things that I want to get done (mind you, this section has to get done during nap time) this year but I can only work on 1, maybe 2 at a time. For example. I started reading a book called Trim Healthy Mama. If I had my way I would read all day long and get nothing else done… Instead, this month I’m alternating between reading that book and finishing up my doTERRA ProBinder. These two “projects” are actually developing me as a person but they are also two things that I really have wanted to finish and haven’t gotten around to it!
blog-2-5So – there you go! That’s how I’ve set myself up for success this year. Thanks for stopping by! I really look forward to sharing about pre-preschool next week AND our incentives for keeping up the good work =D
blog-2-6From my office to yours,Amanda

P.S. Am I the only one who can waste HOURS and HOURS with this type of stuff?! http://bit.ly/organizingissues