I am generally bad at keeping New Year’s resolutions. But, here I am. I’m making several.
I’m also generally bad at using checklists, but I just finished creating a checklist to help guide the year. Here it is in two-sided glory. See what I did? The monthly list folds over to the back side. Nifty, huh?
I decided to make the checklist track most of my resolutions, and I decided to make one piece of paper cover a whole month since, heaven knows, I don’t need more scraps of paper around this house. (But, I don’t want to know about your fancy checklist apps.) Plus, if I only need one checklist per month, then I only have to maintain the willpower to print this document 13 times (one extra to cover weekly lists for those weird weeks that don’t cleanly fit in a single month). I’m hoping that having the checklist visible somewhere will help me communicate expectations better. I’m not going to go into my whole struggle with expectations right now, but if my checklist is visible to Mark, it will help him know loving ways that he can help me and also help him know what I’m trying to accomplish in any given week since sometimes I forget to use my words and instead look like a chicken with her head cut off.
Here’s a brief whirlwind tour of what’s on the checklist and why. Five quiet times a week. I need more Jesus in my life. I’m making a true confession when I say that setting the bar at 5 times a week felt aggressive. I’ve not been that consistent in my quiet time, but I think that to build a habit, I’ve got to set it at 5 times. But, 5 minutes of any spiritual development counts. Obviously, I hope to get in more than 5 minutes most days, but 5 times-5 minutes. That’s the balance I came to as I tried to make the goal achievable.
Clutter on the kitchen counter is where I start to lose the battle of the whole house. Plus, a cluttered counter is something my sweet husband does not often complain about, but I know it makes him crazy. Mopping our first floor is going to be necessary since soon Ezra will be set loose to walk around in that space. Between his high chair overflow and dog hair… ugh. The floor should be mopped every day, but time is finite.
The project space will be filled out weekly using one of 3 philosophies – one big project that I want to carve out two hours to work on, 2 smaller 30 minute projects, or 4 quick projects. I hope that by doing this, I can keep annoying things from hanging over my head for too long and keep big projects on the radar. For example, I just brought home a video monitor for Ezra’s room. I keep telling myself I need to get it hooked up, and I could conceivably continue to tell myself that until he’s 18. But, if I put that project with 3 other brief ones on the list, then either Mark or I can take a look at the list, knock out the project, and keep the house humming along a little more smoothly. And, yes, I plan to have another longer list somewhere that projects will be pulled from, and no, the projects on that list will never be exhausted. But, weekly goals will help prioritize what I want to do.
Then, I have a monthly checklist. I’ve set goals to blog at least twice a month. One of the regrets of my first year of motherhood is that I’ve blogged so little about the experience; I also want to revive my quilt blog. And, I want to sew at least three times a month. Now that Ezra is getting to the point of being able to play independently, I think I can set up a spot in the basement just out of his reach and sew while I keep an eye on him. Blogging and sewing are huge for my sanity. In the same vein of self-care, Mark and I discussed what we could do. At the beginning of each month, we plan to carve out on the calendar one evening each month where one or the other of us is completely responsibility free. Normally he gets home and plays with Ezra and then cooks dinner, but on his responsibility-free night, he can opt for a break if he wants to just veg out. On my nights, I get to hand Ezra off to Mark when he gets home, and I’m not doing the bedtime routine. Oh, hallelujah, I’m not doing bedtime. Then, we’ll mark one day each month that one or the other of us gets to sleep in as long as we want. Sometimes that will be the same day since my mom takes Ezra occasionally overnight, and sometimes, we’ll just take turns getting up on Saturday and whisking the noisy baby to the basement play area and putting the dog out so the other person can sleep.
And, yes, I’m embarrassed to admit it but cleaning the bathrooms and vacuuming the whole house are on there as monthly chores. In an ideal world, they’d get done more often then that — by someone else. But, we don’t live in the rich people neighborhood and aren’t planning on hiring help, so… on the monthly list those chores go.
And, the stack of books above represents my reading list for the year (except on closer investigation, I’m going to swap out Doing a Literature Review for something more beneficial to my editing work). I chose 12 books last year. I gave up on God Meets You Where You Are because I ran out of time. And, I have 3 partially completed books from 2018 to finish before I get to my 2019 reading list. To be clear, I read more than 11 books last year; it’s just that Agatha Christie had a way of sneaking in sometimes. This year, I’ll need to be more mindful of my pacing of the chosen 12. The whole point of this stack is to force me to read books on my shelves that I ultimately want to read but won’t reach for first. I pick a marriage and parenting book each year, snag a few non-fiction, and choose a biography and a classical work. Novels work their way into my reading on their own, so other than a classic, I don’t put them in this pile.
So, how about any of you? What resolutions did you make? Any tips for keeping up with a checklist?