Scattered

 

I used to be really good at jacks, that kids’ game where you scatter the little metal asterisks around, then toss the ball in the air and gather up the scattered pieces.

If only I had that skill when it comes to my routine. One thing out of place, and everything falls apart.

In other words, my life is a game of Jenga right now. And I’m not winning that game. I’m great at building the tower, but let just one piece get pushed out of place and it all comes crashing loudly down.

"Scattered" by Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS (FranciscanMom.com)
Via Flickr (2007). All rights reserved.

Does that mean my priorities are not in the right order? Or that I can’t focus unless they are?

I fought against lack of focus all day yesterday. My routine was off. Things I usually do in the morning weren’t going to get done until the afternoon, which is not my best time of day to concentrate. I had time in the afternoon, and I spent a good chunk of it trying to pay attention to what I was doing instead of peeking at my email inbox every two minutes.

Finally I turned on some music. I don’t normally listen to music when I work, but then again, I don’t normally try to work at 3 PM. So I went for the counterintuitive and cued up a playlist with not-too-loud, not-too-fast music. And I got some things done. Not as many things as I’d have liked to get done, but enough. The rest can wait until today.

And today, I hope to be playing jacks instead of Jenga.

"Scattered" by Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS (FranciscanMom.com)
By The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21064230

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This month I’m joining all the cool kids in the #Write31Days adventure! I didn’t pick a keyword or a theme, because just getting something written for all 31 days is challenge enough for me right now.

Heads Up: Printable Catholic Planner Sale

The Catholic Through The Year Planner by Martina Kreitzer of Catholic Sistas is on sale today for 50% off the usual price!

I’ve reviewed this planner before, and all the things I find super useful are still in it. There are four sections, and you can choose some or all of them: Calendar, Homeschool, Blogger and Household Management. To get the full package, choose the Whole Enchilada.

Being a Hybrid Girl when it comes to planning systems, I need to write things down–and rewrite them–and rearrange them–and I like things to look nice. So the ability to reprint a page after I’ve drawn circles and arrows and crossed things out is definitely a bonus.

This planner is made to be printed out and kept in a binder (or you could take it to an office-supply store and have it spiral bound). I don’t do that. I keep mine on my clipboards–one for family-related items and one for work stuff. I also have the two-page monthly spread printed smaller, on a single page (after I figured out how to do that) and I tacked the current month and the following month onto my office bulletin board.

A previous year's meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!
A previous year’s meal plan calendar on my trusty clipboard. Make this planner work for you!

But that’s the cool thing about this planner. You can use it any way you like–whatever works for you. The 2-page weekly spread, for example, has 3 boxes per date, and a space for you to write in your own label. It can be “Home/Family/Work” or whatever you want it to be–and it can change from week to week. For example, I don’t homeschool, but the Lesson Plan pages from that bundle can be used in a ton of other ways. Be creative!

Even at the regular price, this downloadable planner is a steal at $18 for the Whole Enchilada ($7.50 for just the calendar and $5 per bundle) but today’s 50% off price can’t be beat! To get the discount, use the coupon code for each individual product – CALENDAR, HOUSEHOLD, HOMESCHOOL, BLOGGER, or ENCHILADA for all the files to get 50% off at the Catholic Sistas store.

I love the colorful touches on the planner this year–the page borders on some sections like the monthly menu planner look like they were done in watercolor. So pretty! (That reminds me, I need to make a planner note to purchase some color ink cartridges for my printer so I can have these pages in color. I had to use black and white for them right now, which is why I’m not showing you this year’s page in the photo above.)

Go ahead over to Catholic Sistas to see lots of photos of the planner pages and purchase your copy.

The cover, though–it’s a coloring page! How cool is that? Get out your markers or colored pencils and make your planner even prettier.

Want a sample? Download some free weekly pages here. Try it out! All you need to do in return is share information about the planner with a friend or via social media. Super easy!

Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of CatholicSistas.com. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

The Fine Print I received a review copy of the “Whole Enchilada” version of the CTTY planner and no other compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.

Back to It

Christmas Vacation is over, and I never even got to watch Christmas Vacation.5e717-christmas-vacation

I also never got to Inbox Zero (or even close). Not for work email, and not for my personal email either.

I didn’t make the meal plan for the month, or the week, or even for tonight.

My desk is clean, though. It started out looking like this:

IMG_0528

Yes, that’s my Corner Office right there. The Christmas tree is right behind me. There’s nowhere to go but up. Yesterday I took every single piece of paper off that desk–the clipboard, the notebook, the planner, and that entire organizing thingamabob, and decided whether that paper deserved desk space.

3 baskets of papers went out to the recycling bin. About 2 hours into the project, I was down to the last few items. There’s the basket I was using for recycling, on the right.

IMG_0530

Cleaning my desk turned out to be a great way to brainstorm; I’d stop and write down some ideas for things I want to do/write/set up/organize. I set a few goals for my recipe blog.

And tomorrow is back to routine. Back to school for TheKid, though he has an endocrinology appointment in the afternoon, so he’ll only be there for half the day. Back to work for Hubs and me (for the morning).

I’m rested (mostly). My desk is clean, even if my inbox isn’t. I’m ready.

Productivity On the Go

…because when you’re a Soccer Mom and a Stage Mom, sometimes you just have no choice.

After-dinner hours around here used to include washing dishes, hanging around, reading a book and having ice cream before presiding over showers, tooth-brushing and other going-to-sleep rituals. Now the kids are older and busier. And while Middle Sister, as a high-school sophomore, can be dropped off at sports practices and play rehearsals, the same is not true for nine-year-old Little Brother. Someone’s got to stay with him. More often than not, that someone is Mom.

7 PM is my slow time of day, when I’m just concentrating on staying awake long enough to make sure that Little Brother brushes ALL his teeth. Not anymore. Now I’m headed for rehearsals that last until 10 or later! The director had dangled the carrot of “sensitivity to his bedtime when school starts” but what neither she (nor I) realized when she asked him to audition was that this was affecting my bedtime too.

I’m trying to get some stuff done when I’m sitting in a straight chair in a small rehearsal space for 3 hours on end. The other day I had a stack of the “Personal Journal” sections from The Wall Street Journal. I love to read those but don’t always get the chance, and they pile up in a corner. It’s not like most of them have time-sensitive articles. I got through a whole month’s worth on Tuesday night.

Tonight I’m bringing my copy of Apocalypse Chow and my shopping list; a hurricane is on the way here and I want to have some ideas of how to cook and otherwise prepare in case we lose power. If I finish that, I’ve got Michele Buckman’s Death Panels with me too–although that book is downright terrifying.

It’s pretty impressive what I can get done, even without Wi-Fi.

But no matter how productive I manage to be at rehearsal, I’m still going to walk out of there with “Mame” stuck in my head.