Merciful Mornings
August 3, 2015

Post-it time!

Every day of this week has a purpose. After a summer of chaos, it feels a little weird to be making this transition. While I love the freedom of waking up with the “what will we do today?” mindset, I have also discovered that I thrive on a busy schedule and regular routine. I haven’t quite determined which lifestyle I prefer yet. I love the spontaneity that can accompany an open schedule–the world is my playground! Want to stay home in pjs all day? DO IT. Drive 2 hours to visit family and go to the zoo for the day? YOU BETCHA. Things are fun when life is footloose and fancy free!

But now there are things to be done, people to see, and places to go. My natural reaction to this would normally be to stress and freak out, but I’m discovering a peace within the busy schedule. If I just sit and stare at the craziness of it all, it becomes overwhelming. How will I get it all done?! I’m only one person! So without further delay, here are my tips and tools for making the summer break to school year transition:

1. Prioritize. I cannot emphasize this one enough. There are a million things to get done right now, but you cannot possibly do them all at once. Which items absolutely, positively must get done before your head hits the pillow tonight? Focus on that first. If you get those done, move on to the next item that needs to be completed. I know some of you are multi-taskers, but even the most talented workers have limitations.

2. Get a system. I wanted to just tell you to get a planner and some post-it notes, but not everyone functions that way. I actually have several different methods of getting my mess together, and each day looks a little different. I have the printable pages for the Passion Planner, and it has been perfect for me! (You can also get their pre-made planners if that floats your boat.) Post-it notes are a daily must-have for me, and I would recommend them to anyone. I am notorious for making to-do lists before going to bed and then attaching that post-it to my steering wheel as I run errands the next day. My lists tend to become long, so I love these lined post-its. I also occasionally use a dry erase board that hangs in my living room so the list is always in sight. Pick a method that works for you!

3. Treat yourself! Did you check something off your list? Congratulations!! Take a 5 minute break. Finish the whole list before bedtime? You’re a rock star!!! Go grab yourself a Sonic drink or some Starbucks. Read a chapter of a book you’ve been dying to pick up. Watch a quick show you’ve been missing because of your crazy schedule. Get the idea? Whatever your reward system is, allow yourself a moment to be proud of your accomplishments that day.

4. Make room for grace. There is a chance you won’t get it all done today – and THAT’S OK. This is an important concept that many people don’t quite have down, so I want to be sure we’re clear on this. No one is expected to do all the things all the time. We allow grace for others, and we know that Christ gives us grace when we mess up… so why is it that we can’t give ourselves a little grace when we disappoint… ourselves?? Do what you can. Work hard. Give it your best each day. And then take a moment to allow for some wiggle room if it doesn’t all happen the way you planned it. Is there still one more item left on that blasted post-it note? Move it to tomorrow’s post-it. Not a big deal.

I would love to know how others manage this transition and keep the to-do lists from taking over! If you could leave a comment here to share your methods and ideas, I would be ever so grateful. Blessings, friends.

Photo: Post-it time! by Ignacio Palomo Duarte (CC BY 2.0)