Sunday, January 9, 2011

Balance Baby Steps

This looks like Micah, doesn't it?
In reality, this has been me for about the last year.
Buried up to my neck, praying no one throws another shovel full of something on top of me.

My search for balance is beginning.  My goal is to post my progress on Monday--what I'm doing, how I'm changing and if it's making any difference.

And my second goal is to keep it to Monday.  There are so many more interesting things that go on around here--way more interesting than my inner angst and trauma.

Brad and I had a business meeting over ribs and fries Friday night--a family/couple business meeting.  Actually, he was more "of counsel," as he usually is in his lawyer life, since this was all a talk about my life and how I can manage it better.  As always, he listened and gave great advice.

First, however, I had to be really honest with him.  I'm genius at deceiving myself about where my time goes.  Things always are easier or less time consuming than I'll admit.  He was shocked how much time I spend every week preparing for my class--and a touch surprised how much time I spend blogging.  And, quite frankly, so was I when I really thought about it.

Once I was honest with myself about where I spend so much of my time, I could begin to see a new approach to life:

I thought that all I cared about was being skinny, not being fit.  When I dropped exercise completely from my life, I cared.

I thought that I was only spending as much time studying and preparing as I absolutely had to.  I may be investing too much time.

I thought blogging was just a fun pastime, just a few minutes here and there.  I need to cut back here.

I thought I should be able to remember and do everything I need to do every week, just by the strength of my willpower.  Everyone, especially CEOs and business managers, take time every week to plan, prioritize, and schedule.

I love the quote I added above (just below my blog header) from Steven R. Covey.  I'm always busy, I'm usually efficient, but my goal is to be effective--in my life and in others' lives, as well.  This is going to be my mantra for the next week.  In order to bridge the distance between efficient and effective, I decided I first needed to focus on me--

This week I'm making a few course corrections and taking one giant, scary leap.

My weekday bedtime is set in stone--sleep at 9 pm.  If there is an emergency, it can be flexible up to 9:30.  That's it.  And I'm always up at 5--only exception would be all-nighters pulled cradling sick kiddos.

Exercise every day.  It matters.  This change is sad to me, since I've been super fit a few times in my life--I mean, I've run two marathons, for heaven's sake!  When did this priority disappear?

Sunday evening at 8:15 is weekly scheduling time.  Priorities become priorities when we make them priorities.  I don't want to spend my time flitting from fire to fire, extinguishing whatever catches my attention first.  I want to mother and live purposely.

The second part of this goal is to keep a chart of how I really lived out my day.  What didn't get done?  What took longer than I thought?

Blogging (sigh) will only take up one hour of my day.  If I'm not there commenting and laughing with you as much as I was before, remember me and smile and think, "She's balancing!"

And the giant, scary leap:

I am going to limit the time I spend on my Institute lessons.  Gulp.  The idea alone brings a panic to my chest and a lump to my throat.  This week will mostly be an experiment on what I can eliminate and what I can't.  This could be disastrous.  But I'm going to try.

Part of me is fighting how much time it will take to schedule everything and live by a list on a sheet of paper.  But what I'm hoping to accomplish is a realistic expectation of what I can do every day.

Wish me luck! 

 And you deserve a reward if you noticed the half-eaten Hershey bar behind Micah's head.  Even when you're buried up to your ears, there's always need for a treat!


  1. it is so hard to balance!! we are with you on this journey. i think you do a fantastic job balancing everything on your plate! look forward to getting an update! let me know how you figure out to exercise daily!!

  2. woo hoo, mama! i LOVE your game plan here. is it okay if i print it out and tape it to my wall so i can try some of those changes too (minus the seminary class of course, lol).

    i like the bedtime and the wake-up call time. those are big trouble areas for me as well.

    and scheduled in scheduling time?! novel! who'da thought it?

    k, i'm cheering you on. go jen go!

  3. p.s.
    not sure if i can cut back my blog to mondays only, but i TOTALLY get why that's in the game plan. i may just cut back to 3 posts a week. i know i gotta pull back on the blogging for sure. we'll see if i start going through blogger withdrawls at only 3x's/week, lol!

  4. Good luck and good for you! I too am feeling like I need to have a meeting like this. I just need to get my priorities straight and figure out what really matters to me

  5. Good for you, Jen. Very proud of you and really cheering for your success! I'm sure you'll make great changes.

  6. You always seem so organized to me! And, I love the new picture!

  7. Sounds like your life is full to the brim.
    I agree. Health has to be higher on my priority list.

  8. As you teach the HG will fill in and it will all be right. I know as I was raising my 8, I wouldn't have had time for blogging! God bless you, you are putting first things first! :D

  9. You can do it - you're part way there just by admitting, planning, sharing.

  10. Good luck getting balanced. You are inspiring!

  11. Having things written down, scheduled and prioritized sounds like a great plan to me Jen! I'm anxious to hear how you fit exercise in too! If you can do it...I will surely have NO excuse not to! :)

  12. Good luck! You can do it! Love the picture of Micah..and love the Steven Covey quote at the top..he's a favorite of mine

  13. I think making the actual goals and analyzing it all is the hard part. Once you know where to will go much better! I'm horrible about sleep...that's the first to go if something needs to give.
    ~and Yes, as with the others above...good luck!!

  14. wow, do I ever admire how proactive you're being - I can't wait to hear how it goes, esp the exercise part ;-) I could certainly use some of your energy, it's amazing (and hopefully it's contagious too!) - you go girl!!

  15. there aren't enough hours huh? i too need to take a look at my life and balance...then i remember a new babe is on the way and he will knock everything that is taking up my time for a few that will take care of it...

    (ps did i way i'm envious of ur bedtime?) lily is a night owl and doesn't pass out until 10 at times! she wears me out!

  16. It's such a balancing act isn't it? Blogging does take time...and I go in such spurts with it. Here I am again...and should be tidying up the house, and doing a few loads of laundry. Keep us posted on your progress!!

  17. I am impressed. I wonder, though, how to find realistic "ends". I feel like my life doesn't have ends, just constant "to be continued(s)". I think I know what Covey was suggesting, but practical application seems problematic.

  18. Amen to all of it. I agree.
    Love the Hershey bar behind your little fella there. How's he going to eat it buried under all that?

  19. Sounds like you're on the right track! And I'll bet you will be surprised how much time you can save on your institute lessons. I used to spend most of a week getting ready for my Relief Society lessons, and my husband suggested I cut back.

    Guess what? The lessons were better because I didn't start out with too much material and end up having to scale back. Instead, I had a good basis, with room left for inspiration.

    Good luck!


  20. Jen. I am so with you. That is why I have been absent in my comments around blogland lately too.
    Just trying to figure out still how to work it in because I do love reading blogs and sharing comments.
    I love "live effectively".
    And the quote...great too.
    I am happy for you and what these changes will bring!
    And I love that you had a business meeting over ribs!!!!!

  21. Cutting back can be hard. I am usually an all or nothing gal. Your reality checks on time spent hit home with me. Balance is a worthy and elusive goal/opponent! You can totally do it!

  22. Trusting in the spirit's ability to enhance your lesson (which I'm sure you already do) always makes my lessons so much better. Makes me not feel so silly about how I plan my meals and shopping lists every Sunday night! My cousin told me I only do it bc I don't have very many kids yet and won't have time for it when I do. I told her I hope not!!! That's when I'll need it the most. Keep up the great balance!!!

  23. Best of luck, and I'll be watching to see how you do. I'm trying to be more efficient myself. Trying this and that to see if it helps me work smarter and leave me more time to feel more balanced - like I'm not squeezing this in at the expense of that. I'll look forward to reading your updates!

  24. Jen, I totally get this! Exercise is soooo important, and i too have let it slip in my life a little too much lately. And blogging is so much fun, but if I don't watch the clock I'll get sucked into blog land for hours! You'll find your balance. Keep us all posted :)

  25. Way to go on the balance thing - time can go by so quickly sometimes and if you don't budget it (like money) you are wondering where it all went!

    Good luck - I'm right there with you!

  26. Jen, could you please move to down the street. Some days I feel like you've jumped into my head and written my words. My intention is consistency this year. I like the idea of keeping a journal of what was accomplish and what wasn't. You've given me some ideas.

  27. Hooray for you. I'm not the most organized, nor do I have the best time management skills, either. Go, Jenny!

  28. I cut my blogging back to whenever I don't feel apathy. That's put a lot more hours into my week. Good luck in balancing it all I'm cheering in your corner.

  29. Wow, you're off to quite a start there! I just love how you have Brad as your consult :) I do that with Jason too. I agree with you on the blogging thing, which is why I'm cutting back too. I'll be cheering for you from this side of the world so good luck with the balancing. You're already off on the right foot!

  30. Thank you for posting this. And on that note, I'm getting off this computer and going to bed! I need a MUCH earlier bedtime and a MUCH earlier wake up time. I swear my brain is still on vacation...and my daughter has been sleeping late so I think that means I can, too! Nope, thanks for giving me the kick in the rear I needed by posting this. :)